In Memory: Alice Dye ’48 ’02H

Rollins says goodbye to the “First Lady” of golf-course architecture Alice Dye ’48 ’02H, whose contributions revolutionized the sport both on and off the links.

Alice Dye ’48 ’02H and President Emerita Rita Bornstein in 2002 after Dye was honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters for her lifelong demonstration of excellence, innovation, and community. (Photo courtesy Rollins College Archives) Alice Dye ’48 ’02H and President Emerita Rita Bornstein in 2002 after Dye was honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters for her lifelong demonstration of excellence, innovation, and community. (Photo courtesy Rollins College Archives)

Golf legend Alice Dye ’48 ’02H, who spent her life and career in the sport empowering young women to break down barriers, died last Friday, February 1, in Gulf Stream, Florida. Dye was 91.

Dye was both an accomplished player—winning some 50 amateur titles, two USGA senior championships, and two Canadian senior championships—and a pioneer of modern golf-course architecture. She and her husband, world-renowned golf-course architect Pete Dye ’50, designed 130 high-profile championship courses, from the famed island green at TPS Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida, and PGA West in Palm Springs, California, to the Franciacorta Golf Club in Italy.

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Alice O’Neal was introduced to golf at age 11 by her father at the Woodstock Club, where she fell in love with swinging the club on the fairway. By the time she was a teenager, she was beating boys on the course, much to their chagrin. Dye met her husband when they were students at Rollins. She was captain of Rollins’ women’s golf team and also played on the men’s squad along with Pete. They married in 1950 and settled in Indianapolis.

(Photos courtesy Rollins College Archives)
(Photos courtesy Rollins College Archives)

Dye was the business mind behind her husband’s design operation after they abandoned successful careers in insurance in the late ’50s to devote themselves full-time to the burgeoning trade of course architecture and construction. Alice contributed significantly in matters of business management, design and routing, as well as actual construction in the field. The Dyes went on to design more than 100 courses in the United States and abroad, many of them regularly ranked among the best in the world and frequently chosen to host professional tournaments.

Dye served as a mentor to dozens of young designers and to hundreds of women who wanted to get into the game, whether as golfers, architects, superintendents, or managers. She was the first woman member and the first female president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and received the PGA First Lady of Golf Award in 2004. Among her other many honors are a place in the Indiana State Golf Hall of Fame, the Don Rossi Award for Lifetime Achievement in Golf from the Golf Course Builders Association of America, and the USGA’s Ike Grainer Award for Dedicated Service.

Dye is survived by her husband, Pete; their sons, Perry and Paul Burke, both golf architects with Dye Designs; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.