On a crisp, perfect golf weather day in Indiana, I was loving seeing the world-renowned Crooked Stick Golf Club course from the passenger’s seat of a golf cart. The lush landscape was splayed with layers of green as I passed by rows of trees that dared not whisper a breath of wind as players stepped off rolling fairways onto the course. Every golf hole seemed perfectly placed by nature with surprise vantage points at every turn. I bounced around in the golf cart trying to do justice to the view with my camera. To think that two weeks ago, Tiger Woods walked this course at the PGA Championship.
In the distance I saw a man strolling along the fairway with his white husky dog. Someone whispered, “That’s Pete Dye, one of the most famous golf course architects in the world, who designed this golf course.”
“What? He is here on the grounds?”
“Yes, he lives here.”
“I can’t believe he is here,” I said as I turned my head for one last look as we drove further away.
A couple of golf holes later, we stopped the cart in time to see none other than Pete Dye up close with the most beautiful, well-groomed and well-trained dog I have ever seen. My son, Brent, got out of his golf cart and walked over to Pete Dye to introduce himself. The next thing I knew, Pete came to our golf cart to meet my husband, Neal, and me.
If you could meet one of the most influential golf course architects in the world, what do you think you would say to him? Keep in mind that this man has won numerous awards such as the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2008. He is known for designing the world’s most terrifying tee shot, known as the “Island Green,” which is the 17th hole located at TPC Sawgrass at Point Vedra Beach, Florida. Even Jack Nicklaus speaks of the great influence Dye has had on his own approach to golf course design.
Here’s what I asked: “When you first conceive an idea of a golf course, how do you get started?”
His answer was surprising and rather profound. “I have never started with a plan in my life. When I design a golf course, I just start digging.”
Do you realize how stunning that philosophy is? When he started building the 17th hole at Sawgrass, the water was supposed to be on the right side of the hole, but by the time he finished digging, it became an island. He adapted to the changing environment and went with the flow of movement of the land.
My heart was pounding by this time. He said to me, “Do you see all of these trees? They weren’t here when we started digging. We put everything in place.”
Here I was talking to the master builder of some of the most astounding golf courses ever built, and he was giving me a life-lesson. All I could do was smile and pat his dog, Sixty, who was nestled up against my leg.
How Will You Build Your Life?
You will never go through an experience like breast cancer by having your entire journey planned out. In fact, you will never even go through life with a completed plan. Though the tears may fall upon your diagnosis of breast cancer, and you may feel like you are stumbling around in the dark while tripping over obstacles, there is only one thing to do. Take a deep breath and start digging. You may not know where you are going when you start, but you will find your way out and look back on your journey with satisfaction of the soul as you see the landscape of your life filled with friends and loved ones who care for you and a plentiful life of rich experiences. My friend, don’t give up yet. Keep digging!
Thought for Today:
“When you build a golf course, I always use the example of Pebble Beach. If you took the ocean away from the 18th hole, it’s a good golf hole. But what makes it a great hole is the next thing out of bounds is Japan.”—Pete Dye