Alice Dye’s passing has left many in the golf world to reflect on her impact and while the obvious go-to’s are TPC Sawgrass’s 17th or keeping Pete from doing something really dumb, I keep coming back to tees.
Not sexy, but if you ever talked to her you know how passionate she was about better tee design for all, and in particular women and beginners. She penned an essay on the topic for my Masters of the Links (1997, Sleeping Bear Press) and did more than any architect in golf history for tee design.
So it was nice to see her passion and the positive influence Mrs. Dye had on player enjoyment highlighted in substantial New York Times obituary by Richard Goldstein:
Ms. Dye championed forward tees that make formidable courses more playable for most women as well as for male players outside the pro ranks.
“I worked very hard on trying to get the two-tee system for women,” she told the PGA of America. “I was successful in getting the yardage down between 5,000 and 5,200 yards.”
Prior to Alice, forward tees were not close to properly designed for women. By expanding the number of sets, she also quietly made more men comfortable playing shorter sets of tees while allowing women to enjoy the strategies intended by architects. Couple those factors together, and Alice Dye was instrumental in more enjoyment tied to millions of rounds played. For that alone she should be enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame.