When members of the Urbana Country Club reflect on the 100th anniversary of the club this August, note will be made of it being the inspiration for celebrated golf courses around the world.
The Urbana Country Club was designed in 1922 by Paul “Pink” Dye, and the course has inspired descendants of Dye to build, or design, over 200 courses in the U.S. and abroad.
The most famous of his lineage, legendary golf course designer Paul “Pete” Dye,” had a portfolio that featured more than 100 courses, including several major and PGA Tour venues.
These include the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course, Kiawah’s Ocean Course, Harbour Tour Links and Whistling Straits.
The original 6-hole course in Urbana may never have become a reality if not for Pink Dye’s car breaking down near the historic Summit Inn in Farmington, Pa., when he was driving from Washington, D.C. to his hometown of Urbana. Dye stayed overnight and played nine holes on the nearby golf course, instantly getting hooked on the game.
Returning home, he decided a course was needed in Urbana, and relatives of his wife, who owned a 1,000-acre property, gave him 60 acres of hilly, difficult terrain. Dye found a number of investors and brought in the great architect Donald Ross for some advice. In one year, three more holes were added.
The nine-hole course became the grooming ground for visionary designer Pete Dye who cut his teeth on the site as a boy, mowing, watering the greens and helping with routine maintenance. The nine-hole course had several tee positions that enabled rounds to be played from different yardages.
In 1991, Pink Dye’s wife, Elizabeth Johnson Dye, asked her grandson (award-winning golf course designer) P.B. Dye to finish the course started by Pink. He added nine holes, constructing dirt greens like his grandfather did.
Today, this jewel of a course features 6,647 yards of golf from the longest tees for par 72. It has become a mainstay in the community and a place where the locals come to enjoy the game.
In addition to Pete (with sons P.B. Dye and Perry Dye), five other descendants of Pink Dye (Roy Andy Dye, along with family members Andy, Matthew, Cynthia, and Luke) have gone on to pursue successful careers in the golf course industry. To date, over 200 courses around the world have been built, or designed, with the Dye influence.
The members of Urbana County Club will have numerous events during this year to celebrate the “Dye Original.”
On July 9, the members will play the “1922 Centennial Open” like it was 100 years ago, with old hickory golf clubs and hitting the Gutty or Gutta Ball.