Named for the man who designed it, The Pete Dye Course at French Lick has built quite the reputation. #1 public course in Indiana 14 straight years as rated by Golfweek. Among Golf.com’s 28 best golf resorts in the U.S. and Canada.
This stunning hilltop course wasn’t just Pete’s gem. The Dyes were a dynamic duo when it came to course design, and wife Alice had plenty of influence in her husband’s work.
Whenever Pete built a course, Alice was right there with him to offer a valuable female perspective. When it came French Lick’s award-winning Pete Dye Course, it was no different.
“This course is exceptionally lady-friendly,” Alice said in an interview a few years after the course opened in 2009. “We really worked hard because the piece of land was a little difficult in places. A couple of the holes, I came out here and I told Pete, ‘This isn’t going to work for the ladies. It’s fine for the men, but you’re going to have to fill in here or get rid of that bunker there or move this or that.’ And he did it. Some of our ladies here shoot the best score they’ve ever had in their life.”
Alice was an accomplished golfer herself, capturing two U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur titles among others. She played golf with some of the game’s greats: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus. Alice also played plenty of casual rounds with the girls, even later in life, and that’s how Pete learned some valuable input.
As Pete once said: “When I’m building a golf course, you know when she walks up and says ‘how in the world is Mary Jones going to play this hole?’ you know she knows what she’s talking about, because she’s played with these ladies and know how they play.”
That doesn’t mean Alice made the courses easy. In fact, sometimes quite the opposite on shorter holes.
“I remember when we were building the TPC Sawgrass in Florida, Alice always maintained that par 3s should be very difficult, because she could place the ladies’ tee in a position that they can play that hole,” Pete said. “That 17th hole at TPC – that’s Alice. She makes those par 3s pretty strong, I guarantee you that.”
Suffice it to say, when Alice talked, Pete listened. “He doesn’t always pay any attention, but he does listen,” Alice joked.
Pete and Alice are sadly no longer with us, but they made an everlasting impression on the game. French Lick Resort has held the Alice Dye Invitational, a celebration of women’s golf featuring a golf tournament slot tournaments, lake cruises and other fun social events. And The Pete Dye Course had another record year in 2023, bringing in golfers from all over the country who make the trip for this Dye gem.
As Alice once said: “This golf course has the most fantastic views of any golf course I’ve played — ever, anywhere — because on any hole at any time, you can see for 30 or 40 miles. It’s just absolutely beautiful.”