Last week on Monday I had the opportunity to play PB Dye Golf Club with a friend and was very happy with the course condition, pace of play and price to play. They were running a very affordable special that included unlimited play and a cart all day for the very reasonable cost of $45. I was able to play 27 uninterrupted holes in a little under 6 hours and was treated to a great day of 80 degree temperatures and sunny skies.
With the Sugarloaf Mountains looming as its backdrop, this beautifully crafted and meticulously manicured golf course will capture both your imagination and your competitive spirit. The 250 acres, from which it is carved, is surrounded by abundant woodlands and farms that afford you the feeling of complete seclusion… yet just 23 minutes from the capital beltway. Dye’s signature features are generously on display here… from rolling fairways bordered with mounds and moguls; multilevel greens; five sets of deeply terraced tee boxes; to deep pot bunkers. From tee boxes and greens edged with railroad ties; contrasting green sizes, both quite large and very small; artistic rock sculptures; tee to green bent grass; to an unforgivable island green. All in all, the image you’ll take away from this course will be unmistakably P.B. Dye. The par 72 layout plays at 7059 yards from the tips, yet is quite the fair test for the weekend golfer from the middle tees. Players face water on four holes, while ten others require shots over small streams and valleys.
I must first disclose that I have played PB Dye about six times previously and have not particularly liked the course before. It is definitely a course knowledge course with blind shots, multi-tiered undulating greens, severe slopes off most greens and hidden and pesky hazards. In short it is too tricked up for my liking as a golfer who likes much more traditional layouts. That being said I had a great time on this particular day. The course was in primo shape, the staff was very helpful and the pace of play was excellent.
PB Dye is the type of course where a good miss is much better than a well hit shot that is slightly off target. The number of holes where double bogey or worse comes into play is significant. The 1st three holes are pretty straightforward with the long par 5 3rd a particular fun three shot hole for all, but the longest ball strikers. On #4 things get interesting. The tee shot is straight away, but the green is long and narrow. It is guarded on the right by a pot bunker short and a small pond that runs the whole length of the green and cannot really be seen from the fairway. I can imagine a lot of head shaking the first time someone lands a ball pin high ten feet right of the green and finds themselves in the lake. The 6th hole is an “All You Can Eat” par 4 of approximately 475 yards from the tips and usually plays into a prevailing headwind. The green is well bunkered and a bogey 5 is not a bad score there. The picturesque ninth hole plays back towards the clubhouse and is fronted to the right by a pond that comes into play on the approach shot.
The back nine also has some good and interesting holes and the use of railroad ties, waste bunkers and native grasses all come into play on a number of holes. After a short par 4 and short par 3 at holes 10 & 11, the course lengthens out again with a great risk reward par 5. The 12th hole has a large undulating multi-tiered green that makes choosing the correct club and distance control imperative. I suspect a three-putt there is not uncommon. After another shortish par three, you will face two back to back severe dogleg right par fours. Picking the right club off the tee and deciding how much of the dogleg you will try to cut off make these holes both challenging and exciting. The last three holes play you back to the clubhouse and the finishing hole is another blind tee shot with a lake fronted approach shot to the green.
If you have never played PB Dye before I highly recommend it, but make sure to be patient, accepting of tough holes and tougher breaks and ready to hit shots from some pretty awkward situations around the greens.
All in all I had a really great experience at PB Dye this time and grudgingly have to admit that it is a course I might not love, but one worth playing again real soon. Try it yourself and let us know what you think.
In Good Golf & Good Health