Alice Dye, known as the ‘First Lady’ of golf course architecture, died Friday. She was 91.
Dye, married to legendary course architect Pete Dye, teamed with her husband to design the likes of TPC Sawgrass, Whistling Straits, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, PGA West and Crooked Stick Golf Club.
Alice Holliday O’Neal was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and began taking golf lessons at age 11. She won 11 women’s city titles and nine state amateur championships. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology from Rollins College in Florida, where she lettered in golf and basketball and met Pete Dye.
Alice married Pete in 1950 and her stellar amateur golf career continued. She won the 1968 North and South Women’s Amateur, was a member of the 1970 U.S. Curtis Cup team, and won the 1978 and ’79 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur titles – in addition to a pair of Canadian Women’s Senior championships and three Florida state titles.
Alice Dye became the first woman president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (1983) and the first woman to serve as an independent director of the PGA of America (1999). She was inducted into the Indiana Golf Hall of Fame in 1976 and in 2004 was voted PGA’s First Lady of Golf.
While helping her husband build some of the most notable courses around the world – which have hosted numerous major tournaments and international competitions – Alice was also the inspiration for the iconic island green, par-3 17th hole at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
“Originally, the water was just supposed to come into play on the right side. But we just kept digging,” Pete Dye said. “And then one day Alice came out and said, ‘Why don’t you just go ahead and make it an island?’ So we did.”
Alice Dye is survived by her husband Pete, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and for whom she was a caretaker, and sons Perry and Paul Burke.