Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort Makes its Long-Awaited Debut

Pete Dye Course at French Lick ResortThe most anticipated golf course debut of 2009 is upon us, as the new Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort opens for play this week.

Set in the Southern Indiana town of French Lick on a piece of property so bold that Dye initially labled it as unfit for golf course construction, the 18-hole championship course ushers in a new era at the history-rich resort whose heritage dates back to the 19th century.

Despite his intial reservations about forging such severe and rugged terrain into what is already being hailed as one of the greatest modern courses in the world, Dye believes this course will be one of his finest to date.

Dye attributes the potential of his new design to its natural setting, saying of the piece of property, "the course is on arguably the best inland site I have ever worked on." He later expounded upon that statement in an interview with Golf Digest in January 2009.

"It's built on the highest point in Indiana, which is about 900 feet," Dye said. "When you play the course you get some spectacular views and you can see for about 30 or 40 miles. We've worked on this for two years and most mountain courses you get a few good views, but you can't walk them. I've walked this entire course today in the snow."

Pete Dye Course No. 14

Already one of the leading resort destinations in the Midwest, French Lick is undergoing a renaissance of sorts with the additon of the Dye Course and the recent completion of a $4.6 million project to restore the resort's Donald Ross course to its original plans.

"We're very excited about showcasing not only this new modern Pete Dye masterpiece, but also our newly restored and historic Donald Ross course, making this truly one of America's must see golf destinations," said French Lick's Director of Golf, Dave Harner.

Aside from the spectacular views and incredible topography, the first thing you'll notice about the Dye course is the length; it has the capability of playing more than 8,100 yards from the professional tees.

Dye told Golf Digest it could've been stretched out further and that he didn't ever see himself building something so enormous. "No, never," Dye admitted. "I had enough room out here for 9,000 yards. The back tees are ridiculous, but how do I know what people are going to do in 10 or 15 years? So there's room to keep going back if necessary. The white tees will play at about 6,100 yards. (Dye says that's where he plays from) The blue tees will play at 6,700 yards and the pro tees, which I call the gold tees, wil play at 7,100 or 7,200 yards. But we could go back to 7,500 or 7,600 yards real quick."

Equal parts breathtaking and dramatic, the course was carefully carved on a dramatic hilltop offering a variety of elevation changes, rugged and dramatic terrain, narrow fairways and ever changing bunkers, along with spectacular views from every hole that stretch for over 40 miles.

Dye Course No. 6Among the other mention-worthy design aspects are new volcano bunkers. Of course, there are stretches of the course that are vintage Dye. The back nine offers the most dramatic stretch of holes from No. 11 to No. 14. This culminates with one of the courses's signature holes, No. 14. Stretching neary 600 yards from the back tees, this par 5, with a split fairway, escalates from tee to gree over a massive grass hollow that will intimidate even the elite players.

Thomas Taggart's turn-of-the-century mansion will serve as the Dye courses's clubhouse and full-service pro shop. Taggart was the famed owner of the French Lick Springs Hotel and chairman of the National Democratic Party. The mansion is perched atop the area's highest point at almost 1,000 feet above sea level.

Not bad for a course Dye said wouldn't work and eventually sketched onto a paper napkin at the Villager Restaurant over breakfast in the winter 2005.

Photo Gallery Pete Dye Golf Course at French Lick Resort

"We are very excited about the opening of the new Pete Dye Course here at French Lick Resort," said Harner. "The course is arguably one of the most exciting inland designs that Pete Dye has ever created with panoramic views in all directions.

"Pete spent a great deal of time on site creating a visually stunning and challenging layout that will test the skills of not only the greatest golfers in the game, but also players of all levels," Harner added. He did a wonderful job in laying out a variety of tee markers and angles that will make it playable for everyone."

2010 PGA Professional National Championship

This brand new course is already gaining considerable recognition. In June 2010, the PGA of America will play its PGA Professional National Championship on the Pete Dye layout. In 2008, Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Georgia hosted event, and this year's tournament will be played in New Mexico. The 2010 event is expected to be the first of several high-profile professional contests to be hosted at French Lick.

The National Championship, featuring a nationwide field of 312 PGA Professionals, will utilize the par-70, 7,000-yard Donald Ross Course, which opened in 1917 and the par-72, 7,400-yard Pete Dye Course. The championship's final two rounds will be conducted on the Pete Dye Course.

Pete Dye Clubhouse

"The PGA Professional National Championship has maintained a tradition of bringing this showcase event to some of the premier courses in the country," said PGA of America President Brian Whitcomb. "It is exciting to have the opportunity to bring the championship to the site where Walter Hagen, one of our association founders elevated his legend. I can think of no better story for our finest playing PGA Professionals than to compete for the Walter Hagen Cup in Indiana."

Several notable tournaments have been contested on the Ross Course in the past, including the 1959 and 1960 LPGA Championships and the Midwest Amateur from the 1930s through the 1950s. Coincidentally, Dye captured the 1957 Midwest Amateur on the course.

"It is a rare opportunity to be playing two courses designed by two of golf's greatest architects, the greatest classic architect, Donald Ross, and arguably the greatest modern-day architect, Pete Dye, all on the same piece of property." said Harner. "We are pleased and excited to have this championship come to Indiana."

A great view of the green and beyond No. 10The championship will mark the first visit by the PGA Professional National Championship to Indiana, and to a resort that features courses designed by two of the game's legendary golf architects - Donald Ross and Pete Dye.

About French Lick Resort

French Lick Resort is a $500 million historic restoration and casino development project that includes the West Baden Springs Hotel, French Lick Springs Hotel and the new French Lick Casino.

This premier resort and casio destination in Southern Indiana features 686 guest rooms and suites; a 51,000-square-foot, single-level casino, 45 holes of golf, two full-service spas with a combined 36 treatment rooms totalling 42,000 square feet, meeting and event space totaling 115,000 square feet and an arrary of dining and entertainment options.

For more information or to book a stay, please visit www.frenchlick.com or call a reservation specialist at 1-888-936-9360.

 

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