In 2015, when Pete Dye started work on Links at Perry Cabin, he had no idea that soon after his approval of the contours of its last green, he’d be forced into involuntary retirement by the cruellest aspect of the ageing process, the dissipation of one’s memory. His fans should know that the 93-year-old Hall of Famer remained creative to the end. Though he has routed 18s in northern Florida and Indiana that others are now building, this is his final full design, from start to finish. It opened last year and is accessible to guests of The Inn at Perry Cabin in St Michaels, Maryland, about an hour outside Annapolis.
Assisted by his younger son, PB, Pete Dye transformed a low-profile 1971 collaboration with brother Roy, replacing it with a far more dynamic creation.
Though it’s not meant to be the “best of Pete Dye”, there’s no mistaking its inspirations. The diagonal fourth green – with its right half racing downhill and to the right – brings to mind Pete’s 13th at Crooked Stick. The par-5 14th, its elevated fairway curving around a long strip bunker against a lagoon, resembles the fifth at Whistling Straits. The island-green, par-3 17th is a mirror image of Pete’s 17th at TPC Sawgrass, but with a larger green and a comforting ring of rough around the fringe.
Two holes are particularly engaging curtain calls. The par-3 seventh features a Biarritz green, and though it was added at the request of owner Richard Cohen, it’s fitting that a Pete Dye course finally contains a replica of the most iconic CB Macdonald and Seth Raynor convention, given how much Dye admires their architecture. The 445-metre 18th, a C-shape par 4 around an enormous lake, looks much like the Waterloo 13th at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, a Robert Trent Jones design.
When Pete Dye started his career, he said he’d do the opposite of whatever Trent Jones was doing, just to set himself apart. Can it be that Pete Dye’s final golf hole is a tribute to Old Man Jones?