golf course

From left are Matt Dye, Steven Norton, Joe Jemsek and Rick Moreno. Dye is a celebrated golf course architect who owns his own firm in San Diego. Norton is a partner of The Woods of Jacksonville. Jemsek is a golf course draftsman and designer assisting Dye and Moreno is installing an underground sprinkler system on all 18 holes of the course. Progress photo by Jim Goodson

By Jim Goodson

People familiar with golf know of the Dye and Jemsek families.

Dye Designs is responsible for The Tournament Players Club and eight of Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest Courses.

Joe Jemsek is the grandson of Chicago’s Joe Jemsek, owner of Cog Hill Golf Club, generally regarded as the best public golf complex in the nation.

Matt Dye and Joe Jemsek have now turned their talents to The Woods at Jacksonville, undertaking a mini-redesign that Dye says will make the course “more strategic but not necessarily more difficult.

“The end result will make the course more fun to play,” Dye said. “There will be more risk-reward shots. You’ll have to think your way around the course a bit more.”

Dye worked for his uncle Pete Dye and father Roy Dye, founders of Dye Designs, for 12 years before opening his own firm, Matthew E. Dye Golf Course Designs, which is based in San Diego. He has built courses in St. George’s Utah (The Ledges), Corona, California (Dos Lagos), Northland, New Zealand (The Carrington Club), Fort Mohave (El Rio) and Sandy, Utah (HIdden Valley), among others.

At The Woods of Jacksonville he and Jemsek plan to renovate each of the course’s 18 bunkers, add 18 new bunkers, build two new greens (on holes 12 and 18) and redesign holes seven and 14. Plus, a retaining wall will be on the 18th hole and some tee boxes will be reworked.

Together with the new underground sprinkler system just installed, The Woods at Jacksonville should look and feel like a brand new course by August, when the club hosts its Luau tournament.

That may sound like a tight deadline, but Dye isn’t worried. On the first day, one new bunker - on the 18th hole, was competed by noon.

“We’re not totally redesigning the entire course - it already has excellent routing, great scenery and lots of elevation changes,” he said. “We’re making it a little more challenging and a lot more fun.”

Matt Dye is perhaps a kinder, gentler version of his famous uncle Pete Dye. Matt said he thinks courses should be challenging but fair and look harder than they actually play.


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