Duffer Dan – January 2009

Duffer Dan at The Dye Preserve Golf Club

We had the opportunity to visit The Dye Preserve in Jupiter to celebrate their 2008-2009 season opening day festivities. Our day began with a tasteful light breakfast buffet in the exquisitely designed 15,600 square foot clubhouse, which feels more like a home than a club. Our host for the day, President and Managing Partner Joe Webster, greeted us and gave us a tour while introducing us to his fine staff there to make the “Dye day” one of the best golf club visits I have experienced in my 10 years of writing. Joe and his wife Mary worked with some of the best architects, interior and landscape designers to provide an unobtrusive building that is spacious enough for its members with a casual elegance in harmony with the Preserve’s natural surroundings. There is no swimming pool or tennis court. This is a pure golf club.

Golf is unique as well. After visiting the pro shop we went outside to meet the caddiemaster and determine our tee time. There are no tee sheets or reservations for times. The opportunity to walk with the assistance of an experienced professional caddie through the 175 acres of this pristine preserve, enjoying a very playable Pete Dye design is a very special feeling for the Duffer who has been challenged by some of Pete’s more ‘Dye-abolical’ routings. The golf course looks and plays like it has always been there and fits snugly into the landscape. It reminds one of a Pinehurst layout. The Bermuda fairways are bordered by St Augustine rough that defines the playing area and many of the green complexes. The pathways are crushed coquina and the signature low railing bridges all curve sinuously across the many water features that make a round of golf feel more like a walk in the country exploring the flora and fauna, listening to the sounds of nature.

The course has four sets of tees from 7083 to 5161 yards to accommodate the different abilities of its members. The tee boxes have all been grassed with Paspalum. The front begins with a wide open par 5 that allows for a good score to build some confidence, and then retreats to a straight away short par four with greenside bunkers that should be avoided to maintain that good scoring average. The 3rd is the first of the four par 3’s, all of which line up in a different point of the compass adding the tropical winds into the equation of choosing your club, is bordered by water with a bailout right near some large pines. The contoured greens are all Tifeagle and very consistent. All of the holes are uniquely different, and the doglegs are equally dispersed so it does not favor the draw or fade player. The front nine returns to the clubhouse where members can view the play on both the ninth & 18th greens, and the 10th tee while enjoying their favorite cigar or beverage on the large porch at the back of the clubhouse. For more information on the Dye Preserve go to www.TheDyePreserve.com or call 561-575-5863.

The back nine starts out similar to the front with a par 5, then a par four, but this time it is not short. The inward 9 winds it way back to the clubhouse where we were treated to a lovely lunch. Breakfast and lunch are the only meals served. We made our way to the men’s locker room that has a full complement of fine toiletries, and an attendant that makes sure both your street and golf shoes are shined and ready for your next journey.

The second part of the day’s activities was to honor the course’s namesake, Paul ’Pete’ Dye, who was going to be inducted into the World Golf of Fame. Pete, wife Alice, and son Perry arrived in the late afternoon from their home of some 40 years in Delray Beach on their way to the ceremonies that were going to be held in St Augustine. The members and special guests were treated to a lavish buffet with samplings of vintage wines provided by Terlato Wines International. Their global portfolio of wines rate higher than any other wine company in the world. PGA professional Luke Donald was on hand as well to introduce his new Claret that he and Terlato personally developed.

A few Minutes with Alice Dye

We sat down with the Matriarch of the Dye-nasty, Alice, to discuss their life and her take on the success of the family in the golf course design business. Our meeting took place appropriately in the Dye Room, a library dedicated to Pete just to the right of the entry in the Dye Preserve Clubhouse. Alice and Pete both attended Rollins College in Winter Park. When I inquired why she chose Rollins, Alice surprisingly said, “Because Peggy Kirk Bell was attending there and I had played golf in amateur tournaments in the midwest with her”. Besides her being a partner in the design business, she is an accomplished golfer, having won over 50 amateur titles, a Curtis Cup participant, and the patron saint of the forward (ladies) tees. She went around the country telling golf course owners if they wanted to expand their play and continue to be successful, they needed to put forward tees for the wives of their members and ladies to make the courses women-friendly. She was the first women president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, and voted First Lady of Golf by the PGA in 2004. They have instituted a college program at Purdue University called Golf For Business & Life that has expanded to 20 college campuses around the country. Their sons Perry and P.B. are both successful golf course architects, designing courses around the world. Her and Pete continue to work together on designs to this day. Congratulations to Pete