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Legendary Golf Course Designer Dye Grew Deep Roots over Decades at IMS

Legendary golf course architect Pete Dye was renowned for his award-winning redesign of the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in 1993, but his roots with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway started to grow much earlier.

Dye, who died Jan. 9 at age 94, first became involved with golf at IMS when Speedway owner Tony Hulman and the tournament committee named him as the director of the inaugural PGA Tour event at the Racing Capital of the World, the Speedway 500 Golf Tournament in 1960. Dye went by his given name of Paul Dye at the time.

The Speedway 500 Golf Course hosted the PGA Tour annually from 1960-68.

“Mr. Dye’s personal history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is unbelievable,” said Jeff Williams, PGA Director of Golf at Brickyard Crossing.

Dye’s most indelible contribution to golf at IMS came in 1993. He and his wife, Alice, redesigned the Speedway 500 Golf Course into Brickyard Crossing. It was one of the crown jewels of a six-decade career of designing more than 100 world-renowned courses by the husband-and-wife team, considered by many to be the king and queen of modern golf course architecture.

Brickyard Crossing’s magnificent layout has won numerous awards as one of the best public courses in America. The course includes four holes inside the infield of the world-famous, 2.5-mile IMS oval and the Dye’s characteristic railroad ties supporting undulating spectator mounds.

The redesigned Brickyard Crossing hosted the PGA Champions Tour (formerly known as the Senior PGA Tour) from 1994-2000 and the LPGA from 2017-19. The course also has been the site of many local and regional PGA events, and countless amateur “weekend” golfers have enjoyed its challenge and unique setting.

Dye’s redesign in 1993 resonated immediately in the golf world.

“It just put us on the map,” Williams said. “It absolutely gave our golf course 100 percent credibility.

“Pete Dye even said our course, of all the courses he built, which is in the hundreds, the Brickyard Crossing is the No. 1 course on his list that never hosted a major. That’s how highly he thought of the Brickyard. We’re just fortunate enough to be one of his gems in Indiana.”

Dye was born in 1925 in Urbana, Ohio, but he was an adopted Hoosier due to living in Indiana for many years. He and his wife, who died in February 2019, lived alongside Crooked Stick Golf Club – one of their most famous designs – in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel.

Indiana features more Pete and Alice Dye-designed courses than any place in the world. Those Hoosier roots led to the creation of the Pete Dye Golf Trail in 2012, a showcase collection of seven of the Dye’s course designs in Indiana.

The Pete Dye Golf Trail was launched during a ceremony at Brickyard Crossing. Of course, Dye and his wife – both spry into their elder years – couldn’t resist the opportunity after the festivities to break out the sticks and play a round on the course despite being well into their 80s.

“He played 18 holes that day, and his wife played nine,” Williams said. “I said afterward, ‘Let me help you to your car.’ He said, ‘No, I got it.’ He grabbed two golf bags, his and his wife’s. He put both bags over his shoulders, walked up the stairs and out to his car. That was at about 87 or 88 years old!”

Dye and his son visited Brickyard Crossing this summer, and both were big fans of auto races at the facility. There was mutual, genuine affection between the Dye family and IMS for decades.

“Indiana arguably holds the best collection of Pete Dye golf courses in the country,” Williams said. “I don’t think anybody would argue with that. When you start throwing the public and private golf courses out there, it’s a pretty incredible list, and we’re proud to be one of them.

“Boy, what a great person.”

 
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