Pete Dye is more acclaimed for his designs located on the coast of South Carolina, but he and his son P.B. Dye trekked inland to create Windermere Country Club, north of Columbia.
As is often the case with a Dye creation, there are multiple holes that will draw significant attention. Frequently at Windermere, No. 13 is the hole that attracts the attention. A 200-yard par three with a wide “boomerang” of green, even three putts will be difficult for those who land on the opposite side of the putting surface.
Other holes deserve some consideration as well, including No. 10 that, at 510 yards, seems like a very reachable par five. Finding the green in two will mean an exact approach shot, as anyone who veers right of this perched putting surface will find themselves down a steep embankment to the right, in a bunker that makes getting up in one seem as unlikely as the two-putt at No. 13.
P.B. often displays a level of deference to his father but perhaps he got loose long enough to lead at No. 14, a 310-yard par four pockmarked with pot bunkers throughout its fairway. Pete is known for his distaste of drivable par fours, which makes us think P.B. was in charge here.
Living in this part of South Carolina, I've had the chance to play this course a few times and I think it's one of the more underrated Pete/P.B. Dye designs.
The front nine plays out from Lake Windermere along Rice Creek and between some swampy areas. Once clear of the wetlands, it turns into a sandhills type of course with sandy areas not far off of the fairway. The front nine completes with a really heroic Par 3 with water and railroad ties all along the right hand side of the green. If the wind is blowing, bail out left to the mounding.
The back nine starts with a medium length uphill Par 5 with a quintessential Pete Dye hazard, a waste bunker that's at least 25-30 feet below the putting surface. Several of the Par 4's on the back side play as dogleg rights with waste areas on either side of the fairway or greens. The boomerang green at 13 is one of my favorite holes and it's nearly always a 3 putt if you're in the wrong spot off tee. The short Par 4 14th definitely was something that P.B. came up with because a similar hole is at his design Northwoods not far from there.
The remainder of the course is a good finish. 16 is a sidewinding downhill Par 4 with a blind tee shot over a waste area/natural grass area. With a long tee shot, you can get into a good position to attack the downhill pin position. 17 is a peninsular Par 3 that I believe was changed since the course opened and the green repels high spin shots. 18 is definitely a strong Pete Dye finishing Par 5 around Lake Windermere.
That being said, I think it could use a lot of TLC with the proper ownership in place.