“I did not undo God’s work.” That’s the quote from Pete Dye that Bulle Rock Golf Club uses in its promotional materials. Indeed, the public course doesn’t deal in the sometimes shocking twists expected from Pete’s work. He may not have undone God’s work, but don’t fall for the claim that he didn’t do Pete Dye work.
The rolling hills of this property, just north of Baltimore, allowed Pete to let the bulldozers rest more than he typically might. That, in turn, allowed his wit as a designer—often overshadowed by his taste for aesthetic fireworks—take sole grip of the wheel. This is best seen in the shorter of the Par 4s—Nos. 1, 4, 9, and 16 come to mind. Dye has always been a proponent of changing directions from off the tee to approach, the ability to work the ball in multiple directions. This skill is essential for breaking 100 at Kiawah, but he didn’t build Bulle Rock for that audience. The majority of 4s feature a more risky scoring route for those who can shape, and a safe route for those who can’t, where Par is still rewarded for quality contact. Although the championship tees stretch healthily beyond 7,000 yards, starting from the right color will leave players with few 4s where distance alone prevents scoring.
Some exceptions include No. 5, which is a fair bear, and No. 13—this hole may appear in more Google searches because of its unique ravine hazard...but it’s not a fair fight from any distance. Although the course’s No. 2 Par 5 is the kind of eye candy many look for from Dye (and it’s a good one), the No. 15 long deserves credit as the best hole at Bulle Rock. Every shot begs questions, regardless of whether you aim for lay-up or eagle (Challenge the green? The creek? The tree? The bunker?).
His eye-catching championship hosts tend to draw more tourists, but don’t forget that Bulle Rock has hosted several LPGA Championships. That’s a good indication Dye has built a championship-caliber course without abusing distance or headline hazards.
Date: June 06, 2019