Pete Dye gained notoriety in the 1960s for his unique, trend-setting take on architecture at courses like The Golf Club, Crooked Stick and Harbour Town. He became a virtual household name in the 1980s after creating sensations like The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, PGA West and Blackwolf Run, and the fame continued throughout the 90s and for the rest of his career—at The Ocean Course, Whistling Straits, The Dye Course at French Lick and numerous others—until his passing in 2020. Less heralded are his courses from the 1970s. But among them, the River Course at Kingsmill Resort continues to stand out and remains a strong expression of Dye’s early design period, more in the mode of Harbour Town than Sawgrass. The course, which hosted the PGA Tour’s Michelob Championship from 1981 through 2002 and now hosts an LPGA event, sits quietly on the land and lets the natural movements of the wooded site—rather than sharp architectural features—define the character. The final three holes circle near the James River, including the par-3 17th that plays on a bluff above the water.
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