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Indianapolis native Alice Dye, ‘First Lady’ of golf architecture, dies at 91

FRENCH LICK, IN - JULY 10: Alice Dye hits a ceremonial tee shot before round one of the Senior LPGA Championship on July 10, 2017 on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort in French Lick, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Alice Dye, the accomplished amateur golfer and golf course designer from Indiana known as the “First Lady” of golf architecture in the U.S., died Friday at her Florida home at the age of 91.

Along with her husband Pete, also a legendary course architect, the pair designed some of the country’s most acclaimed golf courses.

“The PGA is deeply saddened by the passing of Alice Dye, one of the most enduring advocates for women’s golf. She was the first woman on our Board of Directors & 2004 First Lady of Golf. We join the golf world in sending our thoughts & prayers to the Dye family,” the Professional Golfers’ Association of America tweeted Friday evening.

Born Alice Holliday O’Neal in Indianapolis, she began playing golf at a young age, winning eleven Indianapolis Women’s City titles. She graduated from Shortridge High School, and in 1946 won the first of her nine Indiana Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championships.

While a student at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, she was captain of the golf team and met Pete Dye, whom she married in 1950.

Their marriage produced one of the top design teams of American golf courses, famous for their design of the TPC at Sawgrass (it was Alice who came up with the idea of the Island Green, the signature 17th hole at Sawgrass’ Stadium Course). She became the first woman president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, and the first to serve as an independent director of the PGA.

Her stellar amateur golf career also continued after her marriage.

She won the 1968 North and South Women’s Amateur and was a member of the 1970 United States Curtis Cup team. Dye won the 1978 and 1979 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur as well as two Canadian Women’s Senior Championships.

She had been a member of the USGA Women’s Committee, the LPGA Advisory Council and a member of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Western Amateur who honored her with their Woman of Distinction Award. She and her husband established a golf training program at Purdue University.

Dye was inducted into the Indiana Golf Hall of Fame in 1976 and in 2004 was voted the PGA’s First Lady of Golf Award. She collaborated on the book “From Birdies to Bunkers: Discover How Golf Can Bring Love, Humor and Success into Your Life” with Mark Shaw that was published in 2004 with a foreword by Nancy Lopez.

Some of the golf courses designed by Alice Dye included:

TPC at Sawgrass – Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Crooked Stick Golf Club – Indianapolis, Indiana
Whistling Straits – Kohler, Wisconsin
PGA West – Palm Springs (La Quinta), California
Kiawah Island Golf Resort (Ocean Course) – Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Dye is survived by her husband Pete, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and for whom she was a caretaker, and sons Perry and Paul Burke. Condolences poured in from across Indiana and the nation Friday evening as word of her passing spread among the golfing community.

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