Over the years, the Dye Course at Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club has gotten the reputation as one of the most punishing golf courses in the country. Stories of greens with more undulation that the Sierra Madres, deep, deep bunkers, yawning ravines and long carries over water hazards put most golfers off and has popularized the unhappy refrain, “If you play the Dye, you will die!” But I am here to tell you that this need not be the case.
Blame it on Filipino machismo.
Admit it! If you are a red blooded Filipino male, the only way that you’ll acquiesce to play the forward tees on a golf course is when you finally hit senior status or are forced to by the tournament committee, playing ability be damned. You’d rather become a statistic, one of the overwhelming number of golfers that refuse to admit that they don’t have the skill to play the back tees and would rather make themselves miserable than do the sensible thing and play the forward tees so they can enjoy themselves.
What’s up with that?
Yes, the Dye Course is one of the most difficult in the country. The course and slope ratings are 74.1/143 which means even the scratch golfer isn’t expected to match par on this course. If you don’t understand those ratings then just trust me; the Dye Course is crazy hard. But move just one set of tees closer and the nature of the beast changes for the better.
The unreachable carries over the yawning ravines and water hazards are suddenly more manageable. Scoring now becomes a possibility in most holes rather than being a rarer occurrence than getting struck by lightning. Miss a green and you will still pay a pretty steep penalty but as you’ll be using shorter clubs for the approach, the percentage of missed greens should drop to the point that you should actually be enjoying yourself.
This is a course where you need to be able to carry the golf ball and hit the prescribed landing areas accurately. It is the number of forced carries that wear on the weekend golfer. You’ll need to know how to deal with uneven lies too; there are many waiting for you on the course. Target areas are on the small side; missing those results in severe penalties. Long time members of the club have invaluable bits of advice for first timers. First, don’t hit the ball where you can’t see. It’s better to lay back and have a longer shot coming in rather than to gamble on getting a shorter one. The penalties of doing so are just too severe. On some of the more difficult holes, it’s often better to miss the green short then try to get up and down from there than it is to try and fail to hit the green.
The Dye’s massive bunkers deserve special mention. There are lots of them and finding one with any shot will be severely penalized. Most of them are quite deep in places and finding one will require the golfer to get the ball up very quickly to just get out of them, never mind having a chance to get up and down. The most feared of the lot is the bunker guarding the front of the 12th green with is 30 feet deep!
The good thing is that the course is not unplayable once you understand it and steer clear of the major obstacle. Yes the occasional double or worse is still out on the course but tee it up on the appropriate set of tees and you’re in for possibly the most unique golfing experience in the country.
The Dye Course is a test of character. It will teach you to play within your limits if you want to post a good score. The course will ask you to play shots that will make you feel like a hero when you pull them off. It will force you to manage your game and think about each shot you hit. Now seriously, when was the last time a course forced you to do that?
A course like the Dye is only possible at a facility like Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club. You have two of the most difficult (in terms of course and slope ratings) in the country today balanced by two that are more forgiving. As a member, I can tell you that we tend to play the more difficult courses. They are infinitely more interesting and more memorable and in the end is that not what we all want from our rounds on the course?
So adjust that attitude and let’s tee it up on the Dye and discover the true character of this weird and wonderful golf course.