The 15th at at Pound Ridge
When legendary architect Pete Dye passed in January of this year at age 94, the world of golf lost one of the most impactful course designers in the sport’s history. Dye’s fingerprints are among golf’s most enduring courses from the likes of Teeth of the Dog in the Dominican Republic, to Harbour Town in South Carolina and TPC / Sawgrass in Florida, to name just a few.
Pete Dye’s first and only design in The Empire State is Pound Ridge Golf Club - a creation he did in collaboration with his son Perry.
The Westchester County located club is situated on 172 acres of rolling terrain and featured a price tag estimated at $40 million. The routing takes golfers on a rollicking adventure as you play through a myriad of engaging holes.
One of the most memorable comes at the par-3 15th. Dye always had abundant imagination in creating short holes of note. The famed par-3 17th at TPC / Sawgrass is likely his most lasting legacy. At Pound Ridge the 15th plays to a max of 174 yards. But, the genius of the hole comes from its intersection with Mother Nature.
The 15th features an 11,000 square foot green but it’s anything but elementary. The green is located over wetlands that hug the putting surface like a youngster grasping his mum’s leg on the first day of school. The green is extremely long - upwards of 50 yards. When standing on the tee the effective available landing area looks quite daunting and that is part of Dye’s brilliance - getting into golfer’s heads and making them squirm.
The green is bracketed in the rear by a massively exposed rock outcropping. It is not uncommon for golfers to overshoot the green because of a fear of the wetlands and then ricochet off the rocks - sometimes back onto the green and other times into oblivion.
The placement of the flagstick presents an array of knee-shaking possibilities. When the pin is placed in the extreme left corner it takes the finest of plays to nestle somewhere near the hole.
Dye wisely added a series of other tee boxes, which can make the hole play shorter, and there is an extreme forward tee that provides for a direct play to the green without the forced carry over the wetlands.
When you reach the 15th tee you must conquer your nerves and execute with utter precision.
Birdies are possible - so too is double and triple bogeys. Walk away with par and you clearly have a memory to savour.
The 15th is indeed Dye-abolical.
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