Dominican Republic Golf Vacations

By Alan B. Nichols

Ohio native, Pete Dye grew up around golf. His father built a 9-hole golf course on the family farm, and the young Pete helped take care it. Later, while in the Army, he took care of the course at Fort Bragg.

During a trip to Scotland in 1963, Dye was fascinated by the design features of the links style courses there. These included deep pot bunkers, rail ties and sharp green contours. He returned to the States to start a career in course design, building what were then considered very unconventional designs influenced by what he saw in Scotland.

Now, Dye, 70, is one of the world's leading golf course architects with a portfolio of hundreds of courses, many of which are on everyone's Top 100 in the World list. These include the Stadium course at the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass, the PGA West course, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island and Whistling Straits, site of the 2004 PGA Championship. His work also includes a collaboration with Jack Nicklaus on the Harbour Town GolfLinks in Hilton Head, SC.

Of all of his masterpieces, Teeth of the Dog, the world renowned seaside layout at Casa de Campo resort in the Dominican Republic, is his most special. Dye and his wife Alice, also a course architect who has contributed to many of his designs, have a house on the golf course and call the Dominican Republic their spiritual home.

Laid out along the island's jagged southwest coastline, Teeth of the Dog was built the old fashioned way. Some local 200 workers pulled dirt and hacked through the thick seaside brush by hand. Dye is fond of saying that he designed 11 of the holes and God did the other seven. These lie directly on the ocean and include some of the most dramatic par 3s in the world.

Beginning in 1998, Dye began work on Dye Fore, a majestic course laid out on a plateau 300 feet over the Chavón River gorge. It is a genuine tour de force with an airplane-like view of the river and the ocean behind. With its sidewinder, steep-pitched fairways over largely treeless terrain, the course, which opened in 2001, stretches a gargantuan 7,740 yards from the tips and is the first course in the world to use a salt-water irrigation system.

Says Dye, "Casa de Campo has been my life. I always say Casa de Campo is my favorite place. The courses are as good as I can build and there are 30,000 people that have jobs because of them." *

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