PB Dye Golf Club
Teachers’ Comments: Tough, but play defensively and you can have a good day.
The PB Dye course in Ijamsville, Maryland has the reputation for being a tough and tricked up—perhaps unnecessarily so—course. At one point, Golf Digest had it pegged as the 26th toughest course in America. PB Dye himself did nothing to allay the fears.:
“I’m a golfer’s worst nightmare– a bulldozer operator with a scratch handicap and an Irish sense of humor,” PB Dye said.
For my part, I found the course challenging, but fair. Further, aside from overabundance of railroad ties, I didn’t think it was particularly “tricked up.”
Fairways at PB Dye are wide and rolling. There is generally plenty of room to land a ball, which is good, because more than half the tee shots seemed blind in some way. There was never any lack of certainty , however. I have run across some courses where the blind shots left me unsure of what I was suppose to do. Those are poorly designed blind holes. PB Dyes’ had good sight lines and targets.
PB Dye has a large number of bunkers (perhaps as many as ninety), several of which are enormous and snaking while others fall into the the pot bunker category. Water comes into play on four holes, but there are several areas with ravines to cross.
If you can keep the ball in the fairway, you will navigate your way around the course with a minimum of difficulties. Play it safe, get your ball on the green and then watch your speed on the greens.
An aspect of the design that I really enjoyed was that most of the holes offered options. Most of the holes could be played in a couple of different ways. Green fronts were generally open, and the size of the greens allows players to try something other than a shot that flies to the pin.
Like his father, Pete Dye, PB likes the railroad tie vibe—sometimes to excess. He’s also got an island green on the course (top photo in the review), but that’s pretty common on courses these days.
Conditions on the day I played were ok, but dry. The entire area was experiencing a drought at that point, so it was to be expected. The bonus was that my balls had quite a bit of roll. More recently, I’ve hear that the course now is managed by Billy Casper golf, and based on my experience with other course under their care, that can only be a good thing. I’d be interested in knowing what conditions are like today. Greens were in good shape, but the tee boxes were suffering.
The views are nice, though. Western Maryland is pretty country.
I enjoyed the PB Dye course, but if I had time to just play one in the area, I’d choose the nearby Whiskey Creek.