Design on a Dye

As the “First Lady” of golf architecture in the U.S., Alice Dye has made her mark on some of the nation’s top courses—including Harbour Town Golf Links at South Carolina’s Sea Pines Resort.


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Dubbed the “First Lady” of golf architecture in the United States, Alice Dye started her golf career by designing the 13th hole at The Sea Pines Resort in South Carolina (pictured above).

Sometimes things that turn out great have humble origins. in this case, it was a simple drawing on a cocktail napkin.

In the late 1960s, celebrated course architect pete dye and his construction team were racing against the clock to compete work on harbour Town golf links at The sea pines resort on South Carolina’s hilton head island in time for a nascent pga tour tournament coming up quickly— the heritage classic.

Dye and golfing great Jack Nicklaus had co-designed the general routing for the new revolutionary course, which would become a seminal part of their respective architectural resumes. However, the final vision for par-4 13th hole hadn’t been fully realized and the clock was ticking. Dye asked his wife alice— an accomplished amateur golfer—to offer input on what she thought they should do.

Alice sketched a slight dogleg left onto a napkin with a huge ball-gobbling greenside bunker and a raised tabletop putting surface shaped like mickey mouse ears. dye liked it so much that he put her in charge of the crew assigned to build the hole, which she did with the help of just one bulldozer.

The result was one of the great par-4 holes in the game and an integral part of one the world’s most beloved places to play the ancient game. for decades, the highest of praise for the course has been the norm. world golf hall of fame writer dan Jenkins calls Harbour Town “nothing short of a work of art.”

With its iconic red and white-striped lighthouse standing sentinel behind the 18th green, Harbour Town is known as the epitome of “strategic golf.” Golfweek’s Brad Klein says, “it’s one of the most innovative and revolutionary designs in the history of golf architecture.” perhaps golfing great ernie els says it best, “Harbour Town is incredible.”

The vast success of pete, Jack and alice’s layout was the springboard for The sea pines resort to evolve into highest echelon of premier golf destinations. The resort has been bestowed with “platinum” status in GOLF Magazine’s biennial premier resorts joining renowned properties including pebble beach resorts, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Kiawah Island Golf Resort, The American Club and Pinehurst Resort in this “best of the best” list.

Complementing Harbour Town perfectly is the resort’s heron point by pete dye course. Heron Point is a real looker as it’s resplendent with knotted hardwoods, lagoons and salt marshes teeming with wildlife. like Harbour Town, mother nature provided an ideal palette for dye’s legendary design prowess and unlimited imagination.

Now joining Harbour Town and heron point to give the resort 54 holes of world-class golf is the new atlantic dunes by Davis love iii layout that opened last October to rave reviews. The work of love golf design, atlantic dunes is a complete reconstruction and recreation of the resort’s historic ocean course, the first on hilton head. love, the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, lead architect Scot Sherman and mark love have fashioned entirely rebuilt holes to accommodate modern shot values and frame scenic corridors.

Atlantic Dunes now features a pronounced seaside ambience and Lowcountry feel accented by coquina shells and seaside grasses. The project’s goal to incorporate elements of the surrounding beachfront along with native pines and oaks lining the fairways has been fully realized with stunning results. The course benefits both visually and strategically from restoration of natural sand dunes as well as the creation of new dunes blending seam-lessly into the design. tens of thousands of indigenous plants have been installed in these areas to complete the seaside feel.

Not to be missed while at sea pines are visits to the spectacular new 44,000-square-foot Harbour Town clubhouse, named the 2016 “best new public clubhouse” by Golf Inc. Magazine. The resort’s 23,000-square-foot plantation golf club was awarded the 2015 “new clubhouse of the Year” by the same publication.

Guests may choose from an array of accommodations, including 300 villas, 100 rental homes and the luxurious 60-room inn & club at Harbour Town. The resort is offering its exceptional villa golf package combining championship golf with a stay in a deluxe two-bedroom villa.

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