Golf course architect Perry Dye dies at 68

The hardest thing he ever had to do was make a name for himself.
  • Perry and Pete Dye
    Perry and Pete Dye

When we last spoke, in January 2020, Perry Dye had become the custodian of a legacy that bears few comparisons. His mother had died the previous year and his father just days before, and Perry was hoping that Dye Designs, the firm he’d co-founded with his brother, P.B., and a cousin, Cynthia Dye McGarey, might be involved in modernizing the courses his legendary parents created. 

“All of them will need to be redone,” Perry acknowledged. “It’s overwhelming when I think about it, because P.B., Cynthia and I only have so much time.”

On July 8, Perry’s time ran out. He died in Denver, his longtime home, at the age of 68. 

Perry learned golf architecture from immortals, and probably the hardest thing he ever had to do was make a name for himself. He apprenticed with Pete and Alice as a teenager, beginning at world-class tracks including Crooked Stick in Indiana and Teeth of the Dog in the Dominican Republic. In 1971, he earned the first of 30 co-design credits with his father. His first solo U.S. design opened in 1989 at Carlton Oaks Country Club in California.

By that time, Perry had begun to trade on the family name internationally. Between 1988 and 1995, he completed 13 courses in Japan, as well as eight co-designs with Pete. His firm identifies him as sole designer of 15 tracks in Korea, Thailand and eight other countries. El Encanto Country Club in El Salvador, which opened in 2018, was his last new course.

“My job was to take Father’s architecture around the world,” Perry recalled. “I had one architect to copy.”

In all, Perry left his fingerprints on more than 70 courses. Their future, like those designed by his parents, is anybody’s guess.

A celebration of Perry’s life will take place this fall.

 

 

 

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