TPC 12th Golf Hole Remodel

Alice Dye rips TPC Sawgrass' new drivable par 4, says "it's not a Pete Dye design"


Alex Myers

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Stan Badz

The new drivable par-4 12th hole at TPC Sawgrass' Stadium Course was supposed to add excitement down the stretch at this year's Players Championship. Instead, for the most part, it was a parade of layups off the tee. And now the most drama surrounding the hole has come after the tournament.

Alice Dye, Pete Dye's wife and frequent collaborator, recently weighed in on the big change to arguably her husband's most famous golf course.

"It’s an awkward hole," Alice Dye told Matt Ginella for a article. "It doesn’t fit the course. He OK’d it, but it’s not a Pete Dye design."

OK then. It's not an "Alice Dye design," either. And we say that because it was Alice who is actually credited with coming up with the concept of the famed island-green 17th.

But while the legendary architect was swayed by that suggestion, it sounds like he wasn't a fan of reachable par 4s. No matter how they were built.

"Pete has never believed in drivable par 4s," Alice added. "If a player is supposed to reach the green from the tee and you’re always allowed two putts, well, that’s a par 3."

December 2016 - Year in Review

2016 was a busy year for my small firm. As it comes to a close I thought I would share a few examples of my work completed this year. My thanks go out to the great contractors I worked with: MacCurrach Golf, LaBar Golf Renovations, Glase Golf, Frontier Golf and Landscapes Unlimited. 

I also cannot say enough about the hard-working superintendents who nurtured my designs to fruition:

Alan Fike and Greg Iverson at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania 

David Hardesty at Chatham Hills in Westfield, Indiana

Bill Hirchert and Jake Williams at Colleton River Plantation

Rick Tegtmeier at Des Moines Golf and Country Club


(last but not least) David Pagel at Grey Oaks in Naples, Florida.

Thanks to all, and Happy Holidays.

Here is a small photo essay of 2016:

It was a pleasure completing the last phase of a four year improvement plan for Des Moines Golf and County Club as they prepare for next year’s Solheim Cup. Here is the 15th hole.

The par 4, fifteenth hole at Des Moines Golf and County Club

The par 4, fifteenth hole at Des Moines Golf and County Club

I was the project architect for Pete Dye, living on-site for 3 months, on the new 18 hole golf course at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania. Here is the par-4 second hole at Shepherd’s Rock which will open next July.

The par 4 second golf hole of Shepard's Rock at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

The par 4 second golf hole of Shepard's Rock at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

The work at the Dye Course at Colleton River in Bluffton, South Carolina was interesting as I was updating a project I originally worked on 18 years ago. Much of the work was of an archeological nature as we restored many of the bunkers back to their original state. The photo below illustrates the fairway bunkers on hole number two before and after the restoration.

Before (top) and After (bottom) restoration of the bunkers at the Dye Course, Colleton River Plantation

Before (top) and After (bottom) restoration of the bunkers at the Dye Course, Colleton River Plantation

I had the pleasure of completing a new 18 hole golf course in Westfield, Indiana with Mr. Dye. Chatham Hills is the centerpiece of a new housing development. I liked it so much I purchased a lot! 

Sunrise on the par 5 seventeenth golf hole at Chatham Hills

Sunrise on the par 5 seventeenth golf hole at Chatham Hills

And finally The Palm Course at Grey Oaks in Naples, Florida opens this week after my summer remodel. 

Remodeled #14 green and and new bunker at The Palm Course at Grey Oaks

Remodeled #14 green and and new bunker at The Palm Course at Grey Oaks

Every course should copy these awesome features

David Owen wrote a nice article about Wintonbury Hills, a golf course I designed with Pete Dye.

Every course should copy these awesome features

By David Owen

On Saturday, Addison, Todd, Hacker (real name), and I took a field trip to Wintonbury Hills, a muny that's roughly an hour and fifteen minutes from where we live. The course, which opened in 2005, was designed by Pete Dye and Tim Liddy.

There are four sets of tees, at 6,700, 6,300, 5,700, and 5,000 yards. As is seldom the case at golf courses of any kind, though, the scorecard at Wintonbury lists ratings and slopes for both men and women from all four sets:

Furthermore, neither the scorecard nor any of the course signage mentions "women's tees," or "senior tees," or "regular men's tees," or "championship tees," or anything else. There are just four different sets, at four different yardages, and the scorecard contains enough information to enable players of both sexes, at all levels, to calculate handicaps for matches of all kinds, in all conceivable combinations.

Every course should do this.

Addison and Todd played from the black tees, I played from the greens, and Hacker played from the whites, and we were able to adjust our handicaps accordingly. (The USGA actually makes doing this much, much harder than it needs to be -- but that's a semi-complicated issue, which I'll explore in a couple of future posts.) We played threematches, switching partners every six holes, and everything came out virtually even. (Todd and I each lost a dollar.) And if Michelle Wie and my mother had joined us we would have been able to work them into the game, too.

Another awesome Wintonbury feature -- and one that should be copied by public courses everywhere -- is generous fairways accompanied by challenging green complexes. This is a feature that Wintonbury shares with Muirfield Village and Augusta National, to name two member-friendly golf courses that great players don't dismiss as too easy. Wide fairways keep play moving. None of the four of us lost a ball.

Another awesome thing about Wintonbury: the Bag of Beer, available in the grillroom (which is called the Tap Inn):

That's what the guy in the photo below was picking up. Weirdly, though, he had ordered just two beers -- both Budweisers. What was he planning to drink when he got to the third hole?

The only thing I didn't like about Wintonbury: they charge you extra if you walk. (They don't think of it as a walking penalty -- in their view, they give away carts, since carts are included in the greens fees -- but a walking penalty is what it is, since you don't pay less if you don't take a cart.) As far as I could see, though, we were the only walkers, so they probably don't get a lot of complaints.

Still, it's a terrific course. We're definitely going back.

15 Great Golf Course Architects You've Never Heard Of

It is nice to be mentioned about with this group of great golf course architects.

15 Great Golf Course Architects You’ve Never Heard Of

By Tim Gavrich

March 8, 2016

Donald Ross. A.W. Tillinghast. C.B. Macdonald. Seth Raynor.

Robert Trent Jones. Pete Dye. Tom Fazio. Arnold Palmer. Jack Nicklaus. Tom Doak. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Gil Hanse.

These are the luminaries of golf course architecture. If you keep a list of your favorite golf courses, chances are most of them will have been designed by one of the names above.

But if you truly care about getting an education in golf course architecture, these are far from the only names you need to be aware of.

Given the cachet associated with the biggest names, it can be easy to overlook certain courses by architects whom you’ve never heard of, but in many cases, this would be a mistake.

Those name-brand architects are often active across the country, while the work of the ones you may not have heard of tends to stay mostly in one region. This is not universally the case, as you’ll see with our list, but if you are planning a trip to a new-to-you destination and balk at certain course designer names, you may end up missing out on some great courses.

So, here are some names whose work you should seek out in addition to the “big boys.”

Mike Strantz

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club is the jewel of the portfolio of the late Mike Strantz. (Brian Oar – Fairways Photography)

Sadly, Strantz only enjoyed about a decade-long career, from his first solo design, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Pawleys Island, S.C., in 1994, to his death in 2005. But his output was of amazing quality, and every single one of his courses is memorable. His Tobacco Road Golf Club, near Pinehurst, truly must be seen to be believed.

Other notable work: Tot Hill Farm – Asheboro, N.C.; True Blue Golf Club – Pawleys Island, S.C.; Royal New Kent Golf Club – Providence Forge (near Williamsburg), Va.; Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club (private; renovation) – Pebble Beach, Calif.

Todd Eckenrode

Eckenrode’s Country Club of the Golden Nugget has an odd name, but an engaging, fun design. (Origins Golf Design)

With Tom Doak, Coore and Crenshaw and Gil Hanse earning recent acclaim for their minimalistic and rustic aesthetics, Eckenrode and his Origins Golf Design firm may be the next to join that pantheon. His highest-ranked course to date is the terrific Barona Creek Golf Club east of San Diego, and his Country Club of the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which opened last year, has received rave reviews as well.

Other notable work: Links at Terranea (9-hole par-3 course) – Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.; Quail Lodge Golf Club (renovation) – Carmel, Calif.

Paul Albanese & Chris Lutzke

Tatanka is the latest effort by Albanese & Lutzke. (Tatanka Golf Club)

Albanese & Lutzke have been most active in the Midwest, gaining recent notoriety for their designs at a couple of that region’s casino resorts: Sweetgrass Golf Club in Harris, Michigan; and Tatanka Golf Club in Niobrara, Nebraska.

Other notable work: Mill Creek Golf Club – Rochester, N.Y.; Eagle Eye Golf Club – Lansing, Mich.; Timberstone Golf Course – Iron Mountain, Mich.

Lee Schmidt & Brian Curley

Stoneforest International has one of the world’s unique settings for golf, and Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley to thank for its design. (Ryan Farrow)

Schmidt and Curley might be the most prolific golf course architects you’ve never heard of, as they have built dozens of golf courses around the world. In fact, the greatest concentration of their work can be found in China – at its two massive Mission Hills complexes, in particular. But they have been active in the Western Hemisphere as well, having worked with Pete Dye on his designs at Casa De Campo, Kiawah Island and PGA WEST, and with Jack Nicklaus at some of his own designs in Asia. Their own output in the United States is impressive as well – Marriott’s Desert Ridge in Scottsdale, Arizona; Marriott’s Shadow Ridge in Palm Springs, California; and Ak-Chin Southern Dunes in Phoenix, Arizona among them.

Other notable work: Rancho Bernardo Inn (renovation) – San Diego, Calif.; Bali Hai Golf Club – Las Vegas, Nev.; Stoneforest International Golf Club (three courses) – Kunming, China

Lester George

The par-3 eighth at The Greenbrier’s Old White TPC is a phenomenal example of the Redan template.

George is perhaps best known for two private golf club designs in Virginia – the outstanding Kinloch Golf Club in suburban Richmond, and the wild, wonderful Ballyhack Golf Club in Roanoke. But his public designs and redesigns are what earn him a place on this list. His original course at Rock Manor in Wilmington, Delaware is known as one of the First State’s best courses, his restoration of C.B. Macdonald’s famed Old White TPC at the Greenbrier is phenomenal and fun, and he recently breathed new life into Independence Golf Club in Midlothian, Virginia, taking a Tom Fazio design that tended to brutally punish less-skilled players and make it into a more enjoyable test for all.

Other notable work: Providence Golf Club – Richmond, Va.; Country Club of Florida (private; renovation) – Village of Golf, Fla.; The First Tee of Chesterfield – Chesterfield, Va.

Tim Liddy

Tim Liddy’s years of working with Pete Dye have influenced his own solo designs, such as the Trophy Club. (

Liddy has long been one of Pete Dye’s most trusted associates, having served as the construction manager and lead architect on many of Dye’s best original courses and redesigns, including Bulle Rock in Maryland, Heron Point at Sea Pines Resort in South Carolina and the River Course at Kingsmill Resort in Virginia. But Liddy has his own standalone design firm as well, and has generated some excellent courses in his own right: the Trophy Club in Lebanon, Indiana; Rock Hollow Golf Club in Peru, Indiana; and redesigns of the Duke’s Course at St. Andrews in Scotland and Princess Anne Country Club in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Other notable work: Wintonbury Hills Golf Course (with Pete Dye) – Bloomfield, Conn.; Big Fish Golf Club (with Pete Dye) – Hayward, Wisc.; Caesarea Golf Club – Caesarea, Israel

JMP Golf Design

North River Golf Club in Beaufort, N.C. is a Bob Moore design. (North River Golf Club)

As part of the JMP Golf Design group, Bob Moore and his associates Brian Costello and Mark Hollinger have flown under the radar somewhat, but their courses tend to strike a nice balance of quality and affordability. We mentioned Cutter Creek in North Carolina a few weeks ago as such a course. Other JMP designs you should be aware of include Gainey Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona; Callippe Preserve in Pleasanton, California; and Whiskey Creek Golf Club in Maryland, in collaboration with Ernie Els.

Other notable work: Golf Club at Chapel Ridge (with Fred Couples) – Pittsboro, N.C.; North River Golf Club – Beaufort, N.C.; Santa Lucia Preserve (private; with Tom Fazio) – Carmel, Calif.; Beijing Golf Club – Beijing, China; Manila Golf Club (renovation) – Manila, Philippines

Mike DeVries


Remote, spectacular King Island is the setting for Cape Wickham, one of the most exciting new golf courses to be built in recent years. (Cape Wickham Golf Club)

DeVries joins Todd Eckenrode on this list as “Architects Most Likely To Become Household Names Soon.” His Greywalls course in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has been known for a while, and his design at the private Kingsley Club in Traverse City has come to be known as the centerpiece of one of the best national golf clubs in the U.S., but it’s his course at Cape Wickham on the remote King Island off Tasmania, Australia that will likely vault him up alongside the likes of Doak, Hanse and Coore & Crenshaw. With spellbinding ocean scenery and cliff-hanging holes, Cape Wickham occupies one of the most spectacular pieces of land for golf in the world, and has been ranked the 24th best course in the world by Golf Digest in just its first year of operation.

Other notable work: Mines Golf Course – Grand Rapids, Mich.; Pilgrim’s Run Golf Club – Pierson, Mich.; Diamond Springs Golf Club – Hamilton, Mich.; Meadow Club (private; renovation) – Fairfax, Calif.

Tad King & Rob Collins

Sweetens Cove has the aesthetics and variety to make for a nine-hole course players are thrilled to play over and over. (Sweetens Cove Golf Club)

Does the King-Collins Design team deserve a spot on this list even though they have only designed one new nine-hole layout and renovated two holes on a second course? Given the high praise their Sweetens Cove Golf Club outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee has garnered – people are throwing the phrase “best nine-hole course in the country” around liberally – we have to believe that this duo will be getting more chances to apply their rustic aesthetic to existing courses and perhaps a new tract or two in the near future.

Other notable work: none (yet)

Rhythm and Repetition

A study of the 16th on the East Course at Royal Melbourne in Victoria, Australia


The movement of the eye over MacKenzie's composition from the tee is a great example of form and function uniting to create a work of art. Repetition of the curves along the top of the bunkers provide a sensuous middle horizon line. Combine this with the long view through the green, which provides the feeling of limitless space, and it is one of the best compositions I have seen. As in all great art, the bunkers provide a frame, giving the eye a place to rest. Then after viewing it for a moment, previously invisible details come into focus. It is a great example of golf course architecture.

Photo by  Jonathan Becker

Photo by Jonathan Becker

Duke's mentioned in July's GOLF Magazine

The Duke's is mentioned this month in GOLF Magazine:
"Originally a long slog, just outside the town proper, the Duke's fortunes changed in 2005 when Herb Kohler bought the Old Course Hotel as wells the Duke's and invested in new drainage and a redesign by Pete Dye protege Tim Liddy. The Duke's isn't links golf, but its gorgeous, lacy edged bunkers and thoughtful design make it worth the diversion from seaside play."

Ford Plantation is Best Renovation in Links Magazine "The 2014 Best of Golf Awards"

Ford Plantation, located in Richmond Hill, Georgia was recently selected as the Best Renovation of "2014 Best of Golf" by Links magazine. Tim Liddy was the project architect with Mr. Dye. Tim was also recently honored by the club for his contributions to the project.  Here is the link to the Link's article:

Golf Hole #10, Par 4, 354 Yards  (Photo Courtesy of Ford Plantation)

Golf Hole #10, Par 4, 354 Yards

(Photo Courtesy of Ford Plantation)

South Bend Country Club, South Bend, Indiana

South Bend club hires Liddy for restoration masterplanning exercise


Indiana-based golf architect Tim Liddy has been appointed by South Bend Country Club in the state to conduct a renovation and restoration masterplanning project. 

Originally designed by George O’Neil, South Bend opened in 1916 and is thus approaching its centenary. The club has hosted tournaments including the Western Open, the Indiana Amateur and the Women’s Western Amateur during its history.

The master planning process will delineate tree interference and removal, recapture green complexes that have shrunken over the years, relocate two greens, relocate and unify clashing bunker styles, and add additional tees, drainage and fairway improvements. At the same time Liddy plans to increase the shot value, strategy and playability of the golf holes for members of all skill levels.

“Restoration of the many golf course features that have been lost over time is one of our primary goals,” he said. “I will be reporting directly to the club’s board, who will have the final say on all recommendations. I look forward to starting work this fall and it is a great honour to work for such an outstanding membership.”

Golf Hole #15, South Bend Country Club, South Bend , Indiana,   Circa 1950

Golf Course Design -Tim Liddy Essay

Golf Course Design

Golf Course Architecture

Reprinted from a Guest column I wrote in 2008 for GolfWeek Magazine

“Centuries-old links golf has much to teach us about the game. But I am afraid we are not listening. Nor are we readily capable of learning.

 Although many Americans profess a huge love for links golf and the traditional game the Scots gave to the world more than half a millennium ago, the simple truth is that very few of us actually understand what it is or how to fully appreciate it. Few have any idea of just how important it is to the game of golf.

 This has become very clear to me in recent years while working in Scotland on a renovation. An increased exposure to the ‘real’ game has enabled me to see the relevance of links golf to the game on a wider front.

 For most Americans, links golf is a much-anticipated trip to Scotland or Ireland that involves an organized but usually manic chase around a few of the iconic coastal courses.

 There isn’t enough time on a first hurried visit truly to appreciate that links golf is one of nature’s great gifts to us: seaside dunes tumbling down to the shoreline, the tawny coloring of fescue, the dark green gorse and purple heather against the rumpled green (and often brown) fairways. 

It is one thing to feel the firm turf under foot; it’s quite another to experience a well-executed iron shot as the feeling travels up from the fingertips, through the hands and arms and directly into the soul.

On ecological grounds, links golf has much to teach us. In terms of sustainable maintenance practices at an affordable level that’s playable for all levels of golfers, America, I am sorry to say, is lagging far behind.

We still routinely irrigate over a million gallons a day on many of our golf courses. We judge golf maintenance on a ‘scale of green’ (i.e. Augusta National). We have reached the point, in my view, where many searching questions now have to be asked: Is this high maintenance, artificial form of the game sustainable? Is American golf now too expensive as a result? 

Ironically, being ‘green’ in golf is not the same as being “green” ecoologically. In America, dormant Bermudagrass in the South is the closet playing condition to links turf.  Yet while we continually profess to want to emulate Scottish or Irish links golf we consistently over-seed dormant Bermuda to achieve soft, green conditions for the winter golfer. It’s an expensive and grotesquely wasteful use of resources.

“Sustainability” should be the new buzzword for golf in the United States. Links courses have been sustainable for centuries, requiring little or no water, low fertilization and low maintenance costs. This explains why Scotland still enjoys inexpensive golf. Golf would not be the national pastime it is in Scotland if it were expensive.

Which begs another question: how much is a round of golf actually worth? $50? $100? $200? If we followed the example of links golf courses our maintenance cost would be shrink dramatically. Development of golf courses would cost less. Green fees would drop significantly. The benefits to the environment would be considerable.

The agronomics of links turf are pretty impressive: dry, lean and firm. The ecology demonstrates proper maintenance practices developed over many centuries. There is no Poa annua on a links golf course (Poa being symptomatic of too much irrigation and fertilization). Poa annua, an annual bluegrass, is prominent in over-watered golf courses in America. It invades when superintendents, fearful for their jobs, over water their golf courses in an attempt to keep their courses ‘Augusta’ green and their members living an egotistical and unsustainable dream. Such a defensive maintenance regime allows Poa to overtake the drought tolerant bents originally planted. Once the Poa is established the superintendent is stuck with over watering to keep alive what is essentially a weed.

Playability for all levels of golfers is an important characteristic of a links course. Golf on the ground was an integral part of the design strategy of the early links layouts. The ability to play golf “more on the ground” and “less in the air” adds greatly to the enjoyment of the game for the average player. It offers more options for the better player. 

Yardage means nothing as the variable wind and firm conditions provide a test that differs every day.  Five sets of tees are not needed because yardage differences are not as important without the forced carries and target golf so prevalent in the modern U.S.-led version of the game.

For example, the Old Course at St Andrews, set up for the dry conditions of the 2000 Open, included fairways that in some cases rolled faster than the greens. These conditions defended the golf course against the power hitters. Tee shots traveled to the edges of the fairways where serious hazards awaited and approach shots to firm greens had to be played from the right place. Course management was crucial.

At its best, golf is a chess game with different pieces and a different board every day. It requires as much, and perhaps more, skill and strategy than power. In America, by contrast, we fly the ball to the green, making golf a one-dimensional game.

To remain relevant, golf in America must take on its competition. Golf can offer solitude and natural elegance against the crass modern society, a private experience instead of mass media. But we need to stop building artificial golf courses, with cart paths, range finders and yardage markers. If we drive our golf cart and play to yardages all day, why not just play to targets on a range?  What is the difference?

To compete in today’s society, golf needs to offer the antithesis of today’s society, not a reflection of it. Links golf courses provide the natural, sustainable model for a healthy outdoor exercise.  

Links-inspired golf is the principal of working with nature, not against it. It’s become increasingly vital to the future of golf in America that we understand the underlying message and act upon it before it is too late.

Tim Liddy, ASGCA, is a Yorktown, Ind.-based golf course designer who has collaborated extensively with Pete Dye for two decades. Among his many solo projects are The Trophy Club in Lebanon, Ind. and a renovation of The Duke’s in St. Andrews, Scotland

Reprinted from a Guest column I wrote in 2008 for GolfWeek Magazine.


The Architectural Seance

Nice article about my work from Adam Lawrence in this month's Golf Course Architecture Magazine and web page (Issue 37). See here. 

Adam's intelligence is a great asset to the golf course architecture business and appreciate his friendship. I really enjoyed the article but wish he would have emphasized a bit more how much I enjoy working with Mr. Dye. How I understand and appreciate his contribution to modern golf course architecture more than most.