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Frisco STYLE Magazine

At the Fore-Front

Mar 01, 2023 ● By Stephen Hunt
by Stephen Hunt

According to the National Golf Foundation, the Florida-based provider of golf-business research, more than 37 million Americans played golf in 2021, with some 3.2 million people hitting the links for the first-time.

Of those, slightly more than 3 million of those who played the sport were junior golfers between the ages of 6-12.

While the sport competes with others such as tee ball and soccer for popularity among youngsters, the Northern Texas PGA (NTPGA), which is part of the Frisco-based Professional Golfers of America, is working to change that.

The organization is attracting more youths to golf at its The Ronny Golf Park (, a groundbreaking new facility, located on Championship Drive, adjacent to PGA headquarters.

 The Ronny, named for Ronny Glanton, a longtime head golf pro at Richardson’s Sherrill Park Golf Course, is a 2-acre, lighted facility billed as the first of its kind. It’s a sort of golf Mecca where players can practice on reduced-sized 18-hole putting greens that resemble those at the PGA Frisco East and West courses (which are set to open later this year). There is also a pair of chipping greens, a third practice putting green and a “flex area” featuring a kid-size playground and obstacle course. 

Chad Moscovic is director of golf park programming at The Ronny, which is open to the public when he and other instructors are not coaching players there who range in age from 3-15 years old. 

“It’s fun. They’re so cute,” Moscovic said. “The skill level is across the board. We have a lot of brand-new players, but we also have one class dedicated to kids that compete in local tournaments.”

 Young golfers receive pointers from former collegiate golfers such as Moscovic, who played at San Diego State University, and Hanna Dickens (Dallas Baptist University) on hitting different shots and putting, as well as golf etiquette, rules, ball marking/unmarking and completing a scorecard.

In fall 2022, The Ronny had a soft opening that was attended by 180 youths. Spring programs that last eight weeks started this year in early January and bring 200 children each week to facility. 

“We’re junior-forward. They have priority, so when we have programming, (the facility is)  closed,” Moscovic said. “We want to see kids learning and playing golf.”

One reason The Ronny’s programs have already proven popular is because the facility offers classes for 3- and 4-year-olds, which are age groups that are often excluded by other sports.  
Those classes “filled up in less than five minutes because a lot of sports don’t offer classes” for that age range, Dickens said.

Teaching More Than Golf

Like other sports, golf is often defined by failures. It can take some players many attempts to master certain shots or make putts. This makes golf a sport with many opportunities for teachable moments, as well as a good metaphor for life.  

 “We sometimes talk more about human development some days because we see things,” Dickens said. “It’s all about development and relating it to things outside of golf. We do a word a week that says a core value. The 5- to 6-year-olds, you ask them, `What is respect?’ They will give you so many examples, like being nice to Mommy and Daddy, listening to teachers. That is super important for that age.”

Along with life lessons, coaches at The Ronny say they also hope to instill in students the same love for the game that they developed as youngsters. 

“The reason I got into the game was my dad was a member at a club. There are so many kids who don’t have that opportunity,” said Dickens, who during college played golf and coached for a year. 

“With those kids, you put that belief in them and they pull the shot off or do something amazing, that’s enough as a person, as a coach. … Whether they continue playing golf (until) college … these (moments) are the ones that they’ll go back to. I’m sure parents think we’re crazy, but (the kids) are so happy to be here.”

 Looking Toward the Future 

NTPGA also employs Frisco ISD students at The Ronny, but that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the burgeoning relationship between the school district and the organization.

Mark Harrison, NTPGA executive director and CEO, said, “We have a robust scholarship program and eventually we’ll provide scholarships for FISD kids to go to college. … We certainly want to get a Golf in Schools program going where we teach P.E. teachers how to introduce kids to the game in a gymnasium setting with oversized equipment (such as) tennis balls.” 

Harrison said discussions with the district should commence soon “about what that (program) might look like next school year or the year after that. But we’ll get in the schools and get kids introduced to the game. 

“From there, hopefully they take a liking to it (and) can do some programming at The Ronny and we go from there,” he said. “I would imagine FISD in not many years is going to have really strong golf teams much like they have really strong soccer teams because we’re going to start (players) young.”

 The goal of NTPGA and its coaches is to foster development and teach youths to learn to love the game. In doing so, it may also produce the next generation of great pro golfers who hail from North Texas following in the footsteps of Scottie Scheffler, winner of the 2022 Masters, and Jordan Spieth, a three-time Major winner. 

“There’s going to be a kid that starts out at The Ronny Golf Park that will end up playing in major championships at PGA Frisco,” Harrison said. “It’s going to be pretty neat.”

Stephen Hunt is a longtime Frisco resident who doesn’t know his own golf handicap.