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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Remembering Alice Dye

When news came Friday that Pete Dye's wife Alice had died just weeks before her 92nd birthday, I think a lot of people were shocked.

Alice Dye

The tribute articles are already hitting the 'Net. Here are links to one at pgatour.com and another at golfdigest.com, but there are far more than that out there and I suspect many more will be up by the time most of you read this. And many of those writers knew here personally, so their tributes will say much more than mine.

Still, I wanted to pay my respects. This is the woman who came up with the 17th at Sawgrass, after all, and was herself a Curtis Cup player at age 49. She learned how to play with hickory-shafted clubs, for Pete's sake! Alice has been in golf her entire life, and was very successful in every aspect of the game.

Did you know she was the first female member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, in 1983? Or their first woman president in 1997? Or the first woman named to the PGA of America Board of Directors, in 1999?

Here's pgatour.com's summary of her amateur career:
Those state amateur wins in Indiana – Dye winning the last of her nine in 1969 at the age of 42 – were only part of a brilliant playing resume. Alice Dye also won the 1968 North and South Women’s Amateur; went back-to-back in both the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur (1978-79) and Canadian Women’s Senior Amateur (1983-84); and triumphed in three women’s state amateurs in Florida (1973, ’74, ’79).
In 1970, Alice Dye produced arguably the key point in the Americans’ 11 ½ - 6 ½ triumph over Great Britain & Ireland in the Curtis Cup at Brae Burn CC outside of Boston. Two down with four to play against Julia Greenhalgh, Dye rallied to win; instead of a presumed 4 ½ - 4 ½ tie, the American side scratched out a one-point first-day lead thanks to Dye, and never looked back.
Another prideful honor was being named American captain at the 1992 World Amateur team championship in Vancouver.
The golfdigest.com article writes about her design ability:
In the 1990s, I [author Ron Whitten] asked Alice if she’d ever wanted to design a golf course by herself, start to finish. “I’ve already done that,” she said, pointing to Heather Hills in Indianapolis (now Maple Creek Golf & Country Club), billed as Pete’s first 18-hole design. She took the lead on that project while Pete was off chasing work in Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska and elsewhere. She handled the routing, negotiated with government officials, prodded lenders, supervised construction and deferred to Pete only in the contouring of its greens. Her involvement was fairly well covered by the Indiana press in 1961, where she was invariably identified as Mrs. Paul Dye. Such was the fate of a rare female golf architect in those days.
She and Pete were married for something like 70 years. And most of her time lately has been spent supervising Pete's health care, since he's suffering from Altzheimer's. Those two lovebirds have been inseparable their whole lives.

An era in golf has passed. Alice Dye will be missed.

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