FRISCO — Fittingly, it was a Texas-sized rollout, in an Omni Hotel ballroom filled with PGA of America VIPs, mere steps from The Star in Frisco, the Cowboys’ Taj Mahal of NFL team headquarters.
The PGA of America’s plans to move its headquarters to Frisco were announced last December. Monday’s gathering was billed as “a closer look” at the 29,000-member association’s future in Frisco, aka Sports City, U.S.A.
PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh spoke of the energy and curiosity that the $520 million project will generate, ultimately, he envisions, transforming Frisco into golf’s Silicon Valley.
Leave it to always-captivating Dallas native, World Golf Hall of Famer and two-time PGA Champion Lee Trevino to put the project’s scope and possibilities into perspective while also paying homage to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
“I know Frisco was very excited when Mr. Jones came up here and built the practice facility and did what he did,” Trevino told the gathering. “But he didn’t do anything that we’re not going to do, I’m here to tell you.
“The PGA is going to be phenomenal.”
The maps and renderings of the 600-acre project do indeed look impressive: the 100,000-square-foot PGA HQ, the 500-room Omni Resort with its 120,000-plus square feet of meeting space and 35,000-square-foot clubhouse.
Clubhouse for what? The two 18-hole golf courses, the state-of-the-art practice facility and 10-hole short course, of course.
The golf courses, currently named the East and West courses, will be City of Frisco-owned and Omni Resort-operated. The Gil Hanse-designed East course has been earmarked for the majority of the 25 national championships — ranging from junior level to the two PGA Championships (2027 and 2034) –scheduled to be played in Frisco from 2023 through 2034.
Most of the half-billion-dollar overall project’s details were revealed last December. For golfers and fans of the sport, Monday’s most significant revelations pertained to the two golf courses, practice facility and short course.
Hanse and West course designer Beau Welling spoke to Monday’s gathering, and their extremely-early-stage course routings were unveiled.
Hanse said the “heavy earth moving” for both courses are scheduled to begin later this year, with golf course fine-tuning and construction slated to begin during the last quarter of 2019 and early 2020.
Here is the primary difference between Cowboys HQ and the PGA of America HQ that will be built seven miles to the north:
— The Cowboys’ 91-acre campus is the crown jewel of a larger commercial real estate and medical development. Waugh compared the Cowboys’ campus to the Egyptian pyramids.
— The PGA of America’s HQ, though planned to be state of the art, is a comparatively small portion of the project’s 600-acre footprint. As Waugh put it, “what’s going on outside the building is even more important.”
The golf courses, practice facility and short course will encompass 540 acres. The practice facility with have three sides of tees and provide the setting for what Waugh calls a golf innovation lab.
The Northern Texas PGA section will be based there, and Frisco ISD golfers will have access to the courses and practice facilities.
Hanse and partner Jim Wagner are best known for designing the Olympic Golf course in Rio de Janeiro. They also are nationally renowned for renovations and restorations that include Winged Foot, Merion, Oakland Hills, Baltusrol, Pinehurst No. 4 and Fort Worth’s Colonial Country Club.
Welling is best known in Texas for his collaboration with Tiger Woods on Bluejack National near Houston. Prior to establishing his own firm, Welling spent 10 years working with Tom Fazio, during which time they designed numerous Texas courses, including Dallas National, Vaquero, Escondido and Stonebriar.