LEGENDARY GOLF COURSE ARCHITECT RETURNED TO THE ISLAND FOR A SPECIAL DEDICATION CEREMONY
Traditional bagpipes rang out as members of Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island gathered near the 18th green of the private championship course last month for a dedication ceremony honoring worldrenown golf course architects Pete and Alice Dye. The Dyes were honored for the impact they have had on golf and golf course architecture and were recognized for their creation of Long Cove Club’s nationally acclaimed golf course. The dedication ceremony included remarks by Bobby Weed, golf course architect and former construction crew chief for the Long Cove Club course project in 1980, and David Ames, one of the founders of Long Cove Club. They spoke of the Dyes’ comprehensive work in golf course design and, in particular, complimented them on their “spectacular design” of the Long Cove Club golf course.
Each used the term “genius” to describe Pete Dye on his golf design accomplishments, particularly at Long Cove, which is more than 30 years old.
The ceremony highlight was the unveiling of the Dyes’ plaque and the dedication of the “Pete Dye Clock,” a newly installed signature tower clock. The Dyes’ plaque is a sculpture relief bronze plaque commissioned in the Dyes’ likeness. It is positioned at the base of the clock, which is surrounded by several other bronze plaques with quotes by noted golf writers, course architects and top players on the excellence of the Dyes’ design of the Long Cove Golf Course.
Pete and Alice Dye, both of whom are in their 80s, are considered to be among the most influential golf course architects in the world. Among the many outstanding golf courses they have designed are the championship courses at Whistling Straits, Crooked Stick, TPC Sawgrass, The
Golf Club, Harbour Town Golf Links and the Ocean Course at Kiawah. On Oct. 9, more than 150 members of Long Cove Club paid tribute to Pete and Alice Dye for their creation of the nationally acclaimed golf course, and also their tireless love and dedication to the game itself.
The golf course at Long Cove Club received national recognition almost from its inception. It has collected its share of accolades, hosted numerous highly regarded amateur tournaments, and been universally viewed as one of Pete Dye’s best designs (notably, with significant input from Alice).
Pete Dye , months from his 90th birthday, set out to tour the course one more time with Long Cove head professional Bob Patton, with an eye on what the club might do to make it just a little better.
“So the process continues,” Patton said at the event.
Three years after the course opened, Golf Digest already had Long Cove ranked among the nation’s 20 best. More than three decades later, it’s still 139th on the magazine’s latest ranking.
“Everybody talks about Pete Dye’s genius. I say Pete Dye is a genius even for non-golfers like me,” said David Ames, one of Long Cove’s founding partners.
Long Cove’s original layout had already been largely carved out by Arnold Palmer’s design team for a project that stymied during the late 1970s economic troubled times.
The project sat for a halfdozen years before Ames, Joe Webster and Wes Wilhelm acquired the land. They brought in Pete Dye, who said the landscape was perfect for a golf course.
At the time, Dye was putting finishing touches on TPC Sawgrass, where he developed a unique layout full of railroad ties and an island green.
Long Cove also was blessed by a young construction crew featuring several who went on to become today’s top architectural names. Bobby Weed was project manager and stayed on to become Long Cove’s firs superintendent until the PGA Tour hired him away to design TPC courses.
“We were all very passionate about the game,” Weed recalled. “We probably had the most low-handicappers of all time on any crew, building this golf course.”
Their skills with construction equipment were debatable.
“Everybody talks about what great fairways are here, what great shaping,” Weed said. “It wasn’t great shaping. It was because nobody could run a bulldozer in a straight line.”
Alice Dye’s fingerprints are ingrained on Long Cove. A member of the 1970 Curtis Cup team and twice a U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion, she was a strong advocate for making sure everyday players could run the ball onto the greens.
“It’s a great event and nice to be honored,” Pete Dye said after the ceremony. “The course looks to be in great shape. I’m glad to be here.”
Dye’s handiwork can be found all over Hilton Head these days. The iconic Harbour Town preceded Long Cove; and Colleton River Plantation, Heron Point and Hampton Hall are more recent additions. Colleton River just hosted the U.S. Junior Amateur and Heron Point was recently named South Carolina’s Golf Course of the Year.