Combine legendary golf course designer Pete Dye with the scenic French Lick location and the result was pretty much guaranteed to be a winner. The latest affirmation is a Golf Digest ranking (No. 93) on the list of America's 100 Greatest Courses.
The publication's biennial review of America's greatest courses appears in the February 2013 issue. Established in 1966, it is the game’s oldest course rankings list and considered the leading symbol of golf course excellence in the industry. Golf Digest used over 1,100 members of its Course Ranking Panel and asked each to submit ballots based on seven criteria including shot values, resistance to scoring, design variety, memorability, aesthetics, conditioning, and ambience.
“We are very honored to be recognized by Golf Digest as one of America’s 100 Greatest Courses,” said Dave Harner, director of golf for French Lick Resort. “This ranking is a testament to the vision of our late founder Bill Cook, Steve Ferguson and the legendary Pete Dye who together developed arguably one of the most visually stunning courses in America solidifying French Lick Resort as one of the elite golf resort destinations in the country.”
Bill Cook, the late founder of Cook Group Inc, together with Steve Ferguson, chairman of the board, acquired the historic French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs hotels in 2005 and immediately began restoring the properties including the already popular Donald Ross golf course. They brought in Pete Dye, a native of Indiana, to design and develop the next great “must play” course, which has succeeded in putting French Lick Resort on the map as one of the country’s leading golf destinations.
Ron Whitten, Golf Digest senior editor of architecture, describes the Dye course as “A mind-boggling creation by octogenarian architect Pete Dye, it sits on perhaps the highest point in the state, a mountaintop leveled and transformed into a spider web of terraced fairways and perched greens guarded by every kind of bunker imaginable, from sand traps and waste areas to pot holes to puckered ones dubbed volcano bunkers. We predict a PGA Championship for this course.”
Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Courses only includes 18 public or resort facilities. The Pete Dye Course joins just three other Midwest public/resort courses that made the elite list including Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin, and Arcadia Bluffs in Michigan.