Pete Dye, one of the greatest golf-course architects of any generation, is battling Alzheimer's.
There's no easy way to say that, though Golf Digest's Dave Shedloski handles the subject deftly in revealing the diagnosis many in Dye's life have known quietly for years. Shedloski learned of the 92-year-old Dye's condition from his wife and design partner, Alice, in a February phone call the journalist typically makes to the architect to catch up on his work.
Alice told Shedloski her husband of 68 years isn't able to use the phone much anymore.
Shedloski approached other golf course architects, many who were aware of what had beset Dye in recent years. The feeling of loss, of robbery, of Dye's ideas and revolutionary approach to design came through in the words of Bill Coore and Dr. Michael Hurdzan. Dye's youngest of two sons and fellow architect, P.B., noticed the onset of Alzheimer's in 2015, working at The Golf Club in New Albany, Ohio, on a greens renovation project.
Dye's other son said his father is at his most cogent on the golf course, where he still plays and occasionally sketches out architecture ideas. Once Mr. Dye leaves the golf course, however, something is lost.
Unfortunately, the disease means Dye will not be creating new golf courses. One of his final projects yet to open is The Links at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Md., which is a renovation of the erstwhile Harboutowne Golf Links, done by his brother Andy. Pete, Alice and P.B. worked together to come up with a new design which will debut in 2018.
Dye also created Shepherd's Rock at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania, one of his final solo projects.
The Dye legacy is incredible, ranging from TPC Sawgrass (where Dye's Valley is arguably better than The Players Stadium Course), Kiawah Island's Ocean Course, Whistling Straits, Harbour Town Golf Links and so many more in a portfolio of some 200 golf courses.