F.E.A.R. Not, Pete Dye’s Designs are All Fun


No one blends fear and fun quite like Pete Dye.

The mastermind behind Pound Ridge Golf Club has built some of the world’s most exciting golf courses. While most of Dye’s layouts are notorious for being intimidating, there’s a simple trick to enjoying their challenge. Just remember F.E.A.R: False Evidence Appearing Real.

How many times have you heard the phrase looks can be deceiving? Nowhere is that more true than on a Dye-designed golf course. Take for example the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, host of last week’s PLAYERS Championship. Dye’s ode to tournament golf challenges the world’s best every year with nerve-racking tee shots and demanding approaches. Who else but Dye could make a routine pitching wedge the hardest shot to hit all week? Yet, while the infamous island green receives most of the attention, the intimidation actually starts 16 holes earlier. The first hole features one of the course’s narrowest landing areas, but, like many of his cleverly-routed holes, a ball in the fairway produces a great birdie opportunity. Approach the elevated green from the rough, however, and your round could go south faster than snowbirds after the first flurries.

Pound Ridge Golf Club shares many of the same qualities that make TPC Sawgrass extremely entertaining. While contoured fairways flanked by his signature-style bunkers demand accuracy off the tee, playing from the right tee box and choosing the correct club will help you avoid most trouble. In the same manner Dye used water to steer golfers’ angles of attack at TPC Sawgrass, he utilized dramatic rock formations to alter sightlines at Pound Ridge. But again, many of the rocks (there’s roughly 14,000-linear-feet of rock wall) are there to avert your attention, not to deter good play. Except for the pulse-pounding par-3 15th, that rock is there to act as an unpredictable backboard for errant shots. In this case, long is wrong.

The key to playing a Dye course is to understand his intentions. Despite what some may say, punishing golfers is never part of his approach. He simply wants to help your best inner golfer shine, even if that means building a bunker that requires an elevator to get out of. So, to help you play your best golf at Pound Ridge, we’ll break down Dye’s design philosophies over the next couple of months to show you the things that you should and shouldn’t be afraid of. And trust us, the big boulder on 13 isn’t one of them.