Design influence

A fellow Ohioan encourages Jack’s course design skills

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Design influence

A fellow Ohioan encourages Jack’s course design skills

On Labor Day in 1957, high school graduate Jack Nicklaus played an exhibition match at Urbana Country Club against Sam Snead, who was billed as “America’s Foremost Golfer.” Also competing that day was a club member named Pete Dye. Tickets were $2.50 for adults.

Nicklaus and Snead ended up as legendary golfers. Nicklaus and Dye ended up as legendary golf course designers.

In fact, it was Dye who first began tapping into the design mind of Nicklaus. In the mid-1960s, Dye asked Nicklaus to provide some input in a course on the outskirts of Columbus simply called The Golf Club.

“I want you to come out and see it,” Dye said. “Maybe you can tell me what you think.”

Replied Jack: “Pete, I wouldn’t have a clue. I don’t know anything about golf course design.”

Said Dye: “Ah, you know more than you think.”

So Nicklaus looked at the layout, was blunt in his honest assessment, and made a few suggestions that Dye incorporated. Later that decade, Nicklaus was asked to get involved in the creation of Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina. Still unsure that he could carry off such a project, he brought in Dye as a co-designer.

The Nicklaus and Dye partnership worked on about a half-dozen projects before Jack ultimately struck out on his own. Dye became one of the game’s great and unique architects, with his signature TPC Sawgrass hosting THE PLAYERS Championship.

But it wasn’t so much what they achieved together. It was that another door had been opened, one that would ultimately lead to Nicklaus designing 300 courses around the world, making a lasting impact for all golfers to enjoy.