First, as far as price goes we booked a last minute package through Golfpac to stay and play at the three courses at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie. We were given an overall quote which I was quite satisfied with. In my experience Pete Dye courses are in great demand and on the high end of what you would expect to pay for a resort course. The quote I accepted included green fees all three days so I have no idea what it would cost just to play the Dye course.
We played the Wanamaker course the day before and at least three separate rain cells passed through, finally driving us off the course at 18. The weather was scheduled to be somewhat iffy the next day as well. We knew that it would be cart path only, which usually makes for a miserable round of golf if only because you have to guess at the right club and in my experience usually wrongly. Also Murphy's Law kicks in and you can always expect your ball to land as far from the cart path as possible. Therefore we had the makings of a perfect golf storm - bad weather, cart path golf and the brutality of a Pete Dye course. Apparently that got to a lot of other people, but luckily not us.
The next day dawned bright, warm and very windy, but no rain clouds. After warming up we took the relatively long ride to the Dye course which is completely separate from the other two courses at PGA Village. The starter told us that four foursomes in front had cancelled and we had the course to ourselves. That turned out to be true - one singleton went through at 14 and that was it. We played as if we owned the course.
I asked the starter if the course was as hard as most Pete Dye courses and he said not really. The previous year we played his beautiful Gasparilla course at Boca Grande and knew that Pete has a gentler side, but after a few holes we realized that is a relative term. This Dye course has a tremendous amount of undulation to the fairways and the greens - much more so than at most Florida courses. Pete moved a lot of earth here. He really puts a new meaning into the word 'swale'. Dali would have been impressed. In addition to the undulation Pete throws in a hellish number of bunkers in all sizes and shapes including elevated pot and eyebrow fairway bunkers that will snag a perfect drive the way an outfielder will jump at the fence to rob a hitter of a home run. Other bunkers were so ridiculously small that it seemed almost impossible to hit one, until you did.
One of Pete's other usual design features was a boon in terms of neutering the agony of cart path golf - almost all holes have waste bunkers down each side of the fairway so that you never need to make that walk all across the fairway, unless of course both of you hit to opposite sides.
The best feature of this course is how well the greens are protected, not only by bunkers and water, but elevation changes around the green that make a good short game the most important asset to bring to play. Since most people don't have a good short game, getting close to the pin is well nigh impossible. On top of that the greens are tricky to read. So I guess what I am saying is - don't expect to score well, but enjoy the challenge. The course is in terrific shape from tee to green and wildlife is abundant, There are houses on only a few holes and only two fairways are adjoining. I would rate this course as higher than very good and just below excellent - four and a half stars.
If you own or manage PGA Golf Club in PGA Village - Dye Course, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.