Saturday, 25 February 2012

My Conundrom with Pete




courtesy of Paiute Golf Resort

Pete Dye represents one of the great conundrums for me as an architect.
I consider Pete Dye one of the most important architects in history. I happen to think that Pete’s earliest work prior to the TPC was quite clever. I was particularly impressed with my visit to The Golf Club in New Albany where some of his trademark ideas like timber work was a brilliant punctuation to what is largely a subtle and clever piece of architecture.  I think his early work is one of the key influences on the origins of the minimalist movement. In fact I many ways he is the father of the minimalist movement. The fact that he trained many of the key players in this movement also adds to his importance.
Every architect (me included) respects Mr. Dye for his knowledge, skill and audacity. He singlehandedly changed architecture on more than one occasion and is a largely the leading influence of the last thirty years. Because of this most architects hold Pete Dye up as a major influence on their design ideas.

I don’t.
In fact I can honestly say that as much as I respect the man and his abilities (and in the past have studied many of his most significant courses) I have very little interest in seeing his work. I do like a few of the early designs, but once he began to aggressively manipulate his sites he lost me.  I also found that once he got involved with the PGA Tour he became length obsessed and relied very heavily on the intimidation of ponds hard up against fairways and greens. I respect the strategies because there always well thought through, but I can’t appreciate the style for its level of difficulty.
And yet here I am reading “Bury Me in Pot Bunker” for the second time. I’m also off to the Honours Course in Tennessee to see one of his best designs (that I haven't seen).  I know he’s really talented, so it must just be me. I keep coming back to the question what is it I just don't get?