Duffer Dan and the Undercover Gang at PGA Golf Club-Dye Course
To do or Dye, that is the question. When you visit the PGA Village in Port St. Lucie you need to do the Dye. The Dye course reopened this fall after an extensive renovation of the greens and tee boxes along with lengthening the course to 7200 yards. We had the opportunity to be there when the PGA held their reopening ceremony of Pete Dye’s extraordinary links-style design, originally opened in 1999. In my conversation with Pete I learned why some of the fairways are higher at the edges. It is because of the ”Big Mamu”. Another question-What is the Big Mamu? It is a preserved 100-acre wetland adjacent to the course, where deer, bobcats and indigenous species of birds find protection, habitat and food. The environmental agencies, both state and national, allowed the course to be built only if the Mamu would not suffer any damage from the runoff from the course. In Pete’s design he allowed for drainage from the course to find its way to sump pumps buried beneath the fairways and then passed back onto the course from a connected irrigation system. This concern for the environment by Mr. Dye has earned the PGA Village an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program membership.
After you play the easy par 4, #1 hole you can see the “Big Mamu”. The wetlands guard the landing area on the long par 4, 2nd hole, but again pars are possible. If you want to insure your ball stays on the par 3, 3rd green, just aim a little left of the pin, and it typically bounces back to the putting surface. Gopher tortoises inhabit grassy mounds left of the fairway on #4, another short par 4 that is guarded by a lake on the right. The greens were replanted with Champion Ultra dwarf and putted as true as ever. Your first big test is #5, a par 5 with trees left, lake right, and a gaping bunker in the left center of the fairway. Accuracy will out do length here, especially avoiding the bunkers left of the green. The course does not return to the clubhouse, so your chance to refuel will be at Pete’s Turn, a halfway house, which has bathroom facilities, outdoor seating under umbrellas, and a snack shop.
The Dye course is a great addition to the Wannamaker and Ryder (both redone earlier this year) courses that make up the PGA triumvirate in Port St Lucie. But there is more. The PGA Learning Center provides the ultimate prototype facility on 35 acres with over 100 practice stations, putting greens, chipping areas, and a variety of bunker styles. Home to the PGA of America Golf Schools, the Learning Center is affordably priced and provides the golfer the opportunity to learn how to execute every conceivable shot in the game. Bob Baldassari, the new General Manager, is creating a whole new atmosphere of special events and service to make the PGA Village the finest golf destination resort. In fact, Golf Digest has rated it among the top 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America and Golf for Women rated it a ‘women friendly resort’.
The back nine starts right out with a distinctive links style par 5. Your tee shot should avoid the fairway bunker on the left and waste area to the right. We laid approach shot, taking the wetland that is short and right of the green out of play. There are no homes on the course so you play with nature surrounding you. The pine straw roughs, vast coquina waste bunkers, and grass-based bunkers provide a very unique round. Having played the course in the past, I found it to be a more player friendly, and both the front side and the backside equally fun. There are 5 sets of tees, and the design variations on the course keep you interested. You will definitely remember your day on the Dye. The wetlands come into play again as the back nine winds its way back to where the first tee began the day.
After golf we enjoyed lunch with PGA Chief Executive Officer Joe Sterenka and the fine staff of the PGA of America. Pete Dye gave us some incite to the many changes he made including replanting the tee boxes with Paspullum Supreme, a brightly colored grass that gives the course more richness and beauty. The PGA Historical Center, an 8,300 square foot facility, that hosts the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame, is located here and has one of the finest collections of the written word on golf. The PGA Education is a state of the art complex to serve both PGA members and apprentices in all phases of golf management.
To learn more about visiting the PGA Village and enjoying all they have to offer you can call 800-800-GOLF (4653) or visit www.PGAVILLAGE.com.