When he walked the proposed building site on Mt. Airie, however, Dye concluded there was no way to build a course on that tough land.
The terrain was too rugged and the slopes were too severe. But Dye couldn’t pass up the challenge. Rethinking the impossible, Dye announced that he intended to build the course, “whether they want me to or not.”
“Golf isn’t a fair game, so why build a fair golf course?” Dye said.
That quote is now prominently mounted on the grounds of the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort in Indiana, along with Dye’s statement that “the ardent golfer would play Mount Everest if somebody would put a flagstick on top.”
The Pete Dye Course at French Lick officially opened in the spring of 2009 and held its first major PGA event the summer of 2010. Now it has been given the prestigious honor of being chosen as the site of the 76th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.
The most historic and prestigious event in senior golf will take place on May 21-24, 2015.
FOURTH MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP
The Senior PGA Championship becomes the fourth major championship hosted by the resort, following the 1924 PGA Championship, played on the Donald Ross Course, won by Walter Hagen whose triumph began a remarkable four-year PGA winning streak.
The French Lick Resort also hosted the 1959 and ’60 LPGA Championships. French Lick’s Pete Dye Course also hosted the 2010 PGA Professional National Championship.
The Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid marks its first visit to Indiana, with an international 156-member field competing on the par-72, 7,400-yard Pete Dye Course, designed by its legendary namesake.
“The Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid has demonstrated its ability to attract and establish a tradition of bringing this premier event to many of the premier courses in the country,” said PGA of America President Ted Bishop.
“It is exciting to have the opportunity to bring the Championship to French Lick, which most recognize as the hometown of basketball legend Larry Bird, but also became a site of golf history when Walter Hagen, one of our Association founders, enhanced his legendary career,” Bishop said.
“The connection is now alive again in 2015 when the finest senior professionals in the world, including some of legendary status, compete for the Alfred S. Bourne trophy in Indiana," Bishop said.
FRENCH LICK GOLF HISTORY
The historic French Lick Resort has been synonymous with golf for over a century. Notable celebrities have graced the greens including Bing Crosby, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, boxing great Joe Louis and many others.
In the early 1900s, French Lick Springs Resort owner Thomas Taggart wanted a golf course challenging enough to attract a major tournament. He enlisted Donald Ross, famous for his links-type course with deep greenside bunkers. Taggart’s dream was realized as the French Lick Springs Country Club or “Hill Course” was born in 1917.
When the new owners of the resort, the Cook Group, took over in 2005 they wanted to establish their new enterprise as a true vacation spot with a world-class golf course. To achieve this, they chose Pete Dye.
Despite the steep terrain of Mt. Airie, Dye planned the course to be a walkable one. Thomas Taggart’s turn-of- the-century mansion serves as the course’s clubhouse and a nearby carriage house is the pro shop. Taggart’s home is perched atop the area’s highest points t almost 1,000 feet above sea level.
The Dye course is a 7,174-yard par-72 monster fashioned out of bent grass. The course is known for its narrow fairways, ever-changing bunkers, intense terrain and 40-mile panoramic views of the countryside.
Challenges include three man-made lakes, a variety of elevation changes and five sets of tees for golfers of all skill levels. Dye’s course was named the best new golf course by Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and Links Magazine.
For more information: Contact the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort at (888) 936-9360, www.frenchlick.com/golf/petedye or French Lick/West Baden at (866) 309-9139, www.visitfrenchlickwestbaden.com.