Change on the RangeFeb 01, 2019 ● By Stephen Hunt
About three years ago, Frisco teed off seeking a hole-in-one: to convince the PGA of America, professional golf’s governing organization, to relocate from its longtime Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. home to Frisco. On December 4, 2018, the Frisco City Council, the Frisco Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Frisco ISD Board of Trustees completed the hole-in-one goal by announcing that PGA of America was indeed coming here. The new headquarters, which will initially employ at least 100 people, will anchor a 600-acre mixed-use development with an initial investment just north of $500 million.
“The conversations started early on about a (new) course and potentially the PGA (relocating here),” Ron Patterson, the president of the Frisco EDC, says. “Then, other partners came into the mix. It started out, basically, with a corporate relo with the golf association into housing, retail and office and also a conference center/hotel. Not only did it take time, but the scope of it grew.”
This new development at Rockhill Parkway and Legacy Drive, one-third mile south of U.S. Highway 380, will also feature two championship-level golf courses opening in 2022 and will host at least two PGA Championships, two Women’s PGA Championships and the 2023 Senior PGA Championship. These courses could also play home to the Ryder Cup, a popular international tournament between the U.S. and Europe held every two years.
With the two main courses, a short course and practice areas, this development will feature 45 holes of golf, plus a 500-room Omni Hotel & Resort, a 127,000-square-foot conference center, a state-of-the-art retail village, along with parks, trails and office space. “Well, it is not small. You have the headquarters of a major sporting organization (coming here),” says Craig Rosengarden, the president of Avid Media Ventures, Inc., which publishes Avid Golfer magazine. “New York City’s got the NBA and the NFL. Now, you have the head of golf in our backyard. It is certainly going to be a mecca for golf.”
Not surprisingly, this announcement has set the local golf community abuzz!
Major League Impact
Economic impact is the primary way benefits from projects like this are quantified, and the Frisco EDC estimates an impact of at least $2.5 billion over the next two decades.
And with the two courses already scheduled to host the PGA Championship and the PGA Women’s Championship twice and the Senior PGA Championship once, this development will deliver something not seen in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex in more than five decades — a golf major.
The four majors are The Masters (April) played in Augusta, Ga., the PGA Championship (May) and U.S. Open Championship (June), played at rotating sites, and The Open Championship (July), played at one of 10 sites in the United Kingdom.
In 1963, the Dallas Athletic Club hosted the PGA Championship, the first of five PGAs won by the legendary Jack Nicklaus. And Dallas/Fort Worth has been a regular PGA Tour stop since the 1940s, with the AT&T Byron Nelson (1944), now played at Trinity Forest Golf Club in southern Dallas, and The Fort Worth Invitational (1946), a tournament golf legend Ben Hogan won five times.
But, these new courses clearly place the metroplex in the mix for also hosting the U.S. Open, a high-profile tournament which Dallas/Fort Worth has only hosted twice, most recently in 1952 at Northwood Club in Dallas.
“It is certainly an economic boost to the city and surrounding communities,” says Jerry Moorehead, a Dallas resident and longtime golf fan. “Major golf championships tend to have a large economic impact to the hosting city. Frisco will reap substantial revenue during those tournaments. Unlike most sporting events where revenue is over 3-5 days, Frisco will easily see 6-8 days of revenue. Television personnel, players and support staff will all need hotels, transportation and food. For a major tournament, that number could easily be 1,000.”
And since The Players Championship, a March tournament, which many consider the unofficial fifth major, has been played at TPC at Sawgrass near PGA headquarters since 1982, local golf fans also wonder if The Players could move to Frisco, either on an annual or occasional basis.
“Texas does not really have a golf course that can host a PGA or U.S. Open Championship. This facility changes that,” says Prosper resident and golf aficionado Leo Hockemeyer. “This is a huge win-win.”
As Mr. Rosengarden explains, hosting majors provides a nice bonus with additional economic impact in the months and years leading up to the actual tournament. “Having a major here is massive. We have never seen it (in our lifetime),” he
says. “People do not realize this, but as soon as you announce there is a major coming to a golf course, that course gets traffic from people not in town. That creates more revenue for everybody.”
A True Win-Win for the Community
Not only will golfers and golf fans benefit from this development, but the general public will also be able to use the adjoining parks and trails, as well as play these courses. But, another group that will experience considerable benefits are the student-athletes who play golf for the FISD. “The PGA relocation will give FISD golfers the opportunity to practice and compete at a world-class facility, and provide a wonderful course for hosting tournaments,” David Kuykendall, the FISD director of athletics, says.
Mr. Kuykendall also sees the PGA’s move as one benefitting students interested in pursuing a career in the sports business by providing internship and mentoring opportunities that will allow them to gain much-needed experience in the sports industry.
FISD student athletes will also benefit from being near many high-level golf professionals, experiences which will also help the district in a major way. “Having high-level professional golf events at a facility the district uses will undoubtedly help encourage and motivate more students to participate in golf and grow in the sport,” Mr. Kuykendall says.
Of course, Frisco residents who do not play or watch golf or have children who play the sport in FISD are wondering exactly how this development benefits them. Mr. Patterson has a simple, convincing answer, saying, “If we are creating job opportunities, that is a benefit. Whenever you are creating re-locations and corporations, they are building new buildings and putting new value on the ground. Any time we can create non-residential value that helps support the city, that is a benefit to every citizen. So, you have the corporate world helping support the operations of the community, which helps to remove some of the burden from the citizens who live here.”
Already home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, the NHL’s Dallas Stars, FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, the NCAA Division I Football Championship, the Texas Legends, Dallas Rattlers, Texas Revolution and Frisco Bowl, Frisco has earned the moniker of “Sports City USA.” And with the PGA of America moving its corporate headquarters to our fair suburb and opening two championship-level golf courses to host major golf tournaments in the future, our town’s profile will only continue to grow.
Hearing “live from Frisco” on the broadcasts of future majors has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?