OBITUARIES
USGA Champion, Golf Course Architect Alice Dye; 91 February 1, 2019 | Liberty Corner, N.J. By David Shefter, USGA

Alice Dye was a 2-time USGA champion as well as a collaborator with her husband, Pete, in the design of many iconic courses. (USGA/John Mummert)

 

Alice Dye, the wife and golf-course design partner of World Golf Hall of Fame architect Pete Dye and an accomplished player who won two U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur titles, died on Feb. 1 at the age of 91 at her home in Gulf Stream, Fla.

Known by many as the “First Lady” of golf course architecture in the United States, Dye won some 50 amateur tournaments and worked with her husband of nearly 69 years to create of the game’s finest modern venues.

Born on June 17, 1927, in Indianapolis, Alice Holliday O’Neal was given a set of wooden-shafted clubs at an early age by her mother, Lucy. Under the tutelage of PGA professional Wally Nelson, Alice went on to capture 11 Indianapolis Women’s City titles and in 1946, the first of nine Indiana Women’s Golf Association Amateur titles.

While attending Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., Alice met Paul “Pete” Dye Jr., following his discharge from the military in World War II. A pre-med major, she graduated in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in zoology and the two married in 1950. A few years later, Pete suggested they become golf course designers.

Throughout their partnership, Pete produced the initial designs, paying close attention to agronomy and layout, while Alice edited and amended Pete’s ideas, while also producing course drawings and plans. Alice is also credited with suggesting some of the most challenging and creative aspects of Dye-designed courses, such as the island-green 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., site of the annual Players Championship.

Dye courses have hosted numerous USGA championships, including the U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur. In all, the family, which includes sons Perry and P.B., has produced more than 170 courses in the U.S. and an additional 70 in 24 countries worldwide. The Dyes’ niece, Cynthia Dye McGarey, the daughter of Pete’s late brother, Roy, is also an accomplished course designer.   

Some of the Dyes’ other acclaimed designs include Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind.; Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C.; the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island (S.C.); the Straits Course at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis.; and the Teeth of the Dog Course at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic.

Alice won the prestigious North and South Women’s Amateur at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in 1968 and represented the winning USA side in the 1970 Curtis Cup Match at Brae Burn Country Club in West Newton, Mass. In 1992, she captained the USA Women’s World Amateur Team to a tie for fifth in Canada. Besides her two U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur titles in 1978 and 1979, she was a two-time runner-up in the championship, and she also won a pair of Canadian Senior Women’s Amateurs.

In the 1980s, Dye presented her “Two-Tee System” as a solution for female golfers of varying skill levels who had only one teeing ground option. She compared the situation to “asking them to all wear the same dress size.” Dye was voted president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects in 1997. As the first female to serve in the role, Dye strongly advocated for more women to be accepted as ASGCA members.

Dye served on the USGA Women’s Committee, the LPGA Advisory Council and was a member of the board of directors for the Women’s Western Amateur. She was inducted into the Indiana Golf Hall of Fame in 1976 and received the PGA’s First Lady of Golf Award in 2004. She also collaborated on a book with Mark Shaw entitled “From Birdies to Bunkers: Discover How Golf Can Bring Love, Humor and Success into Your Life.” The 2004 book included a foreword by Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez.

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.