Courtesy PGA of America
FRISCO, Texas — Monday’s grand opening for the new multi-million four-story PGA of America National Headquarters featured plenty of jokes about the rare summer rainstorm which dumped six inches on the two public golf courses, but CEO Seth Waugh said the real downpour would be the number of golf championships coming to North Texas.
“Welcome to our field of dreams,” Waugh told the crowd of several hundred PGA of America pros, officials, City of Frisco leaders and employees. “This is a rare project which has turned out better than we ever dreamed it would.”
The ambitious $550 million, 600-acre campus will bring the first men’s major golf championship to North Texas since the 1963 PGA Championship at Dallas Athletic Club, won by Jack Nicklaus.
“This area has been known for golf tournaments (the Byron Nelson), but we’re going to bring golf championships here to PGA Frisco and keep it coming,” Waugh said. “There a difference between a golf championship and a tournament. We’re making this the home of championships.”
The PGA is already in the process of selling tickets and looking for sponsors and volunteers for the 2023 PGA Senior Championship, May 24-28, at the Gil Hanse-designed PGA Fields Ranch East course, the new layout named for the local farming family which once owned the land here.
PGA of America President Jim Richerson said the organization consisting of 28,000 golf professionals is committed to bring at least 26 major golf championships to Frisco, 30 minutes north of downtown Dallas.
After the Senior PGA, there will be the KPMG Women’s PGA in 2025 and the PGA Championship in 2026, the first of three scheduled for the Hanse course.
It will also host several PGA Junior League events and, perhaps, even the 2041 Ryder Cup.
“Who doesn’t want to be at this great place and be together to change golf, where the eyes of the golf world will be on us and our mission,” Richerson said.
During his introductory speech to the large crowd, which included Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his son Stephen, who own the NFL team’s headquarters just 15 minutes south of PGA Frisco, Waugh said the PGA hasn’t always done a good job of mirroring the entire golf population as a whole.
That’s exactly what former PGA President Suzy Whaley, the first female president in the organization’s history, is hoping this 106,621 square-foot facility — and the 500 men and women who now occupy it — can help change.
“This gives us an opportunity to have something here for everybody in the game,” Whaley said. “We have two public 18-hole golf courses, we have a 10-hole short course, a huge putting green, Topgolf, golf games, Omni Resort, eating places, bars and shops. This gives us a great opportunity to reinvent our game and gain interest for all parts of the public — those who love the game and those who have never played it.”
Tim Cusick, a long-time North Texas golf teacher, came over from the former site of the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson. He said the ability to teach a new generation of pros is what attracted him to PGA Frisco.
“We bring in young pros from all over the country and teach them best methods and best practices, they can go back and teach others,” he said. “We’re empowering the next generation of golf.”
While the four-story, glass-enclosed facility has plenty of offices and conference rooms, the first floor is largely composed of indoor hitting bays for Cusick and his team, along with a large turf putting green and bunker in the front window of the facility, allowing players and teachers and even staff to practice their games during the week.
The two courses — the East by Hanse, which will host most of the championships, and the West by architect Beau Welling — will be open to the public in March 2023.
“It’s an exciting day and an exhausting day and a fun day,” Waugh said, “but now the real work begins to activate our people to change the game of golf.”