By Adam Schupak
The PGA of America soon may be sending out a change of address notification.
As first reported by Golf.com, the PGA is expected to announce it will relocate its headquarters from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., to Frisco, Texas, about 30 miles north of Dallas.
Multiple sources have confirmed to LINKS that the PGA is eyeing the city’s Panther Creek development in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and that two new 18-hole semi-public courses are part of the plan—one to be built by architect Gil Hanse and another by Beau Welling. Hanse declined to comment for this story.
Those with long memories may recall that in 1965, the PGA pulled up their stakes in Dunedin, Fla. and relocated to Palm Beach Gardens when billionaire John D. MacArthur wooed PGA officials with a promise to build not one, but two championship golf courses, one being PGA National, now called BallenIsles.
The Hanse design is being touted as a major championship-worthy course, slated to open by 2020, and could potentially serve as the venue for the PGA’s premier events, including the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup. The last major championship held deep in the heart of Texas was the 1969 U.S. Open at Houston’s Champions Golf Club. As for the last major in North Texas? Try the 1963 PGA Championship at Dallas Athletic Club, won by Jack Nicklaus.
A nine-hole short course and a PGA teaching academy also have been discussed should the project move forward. Hanse already is working in the state at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth on a golf course master plan.
This would be the latest in a series of coups for Frisco, dubbed “Sports City USA” and home to the Dallas Cowboys headquarters and training facility, as well as those of the Dallas Stars (NHL hockey), FC Dallas (MLS soccer), and Frisco Roughriders (minor-league baseball).
“From what I’m hearing, it’s financially driven,” says Ted Bishop, the PGA’s 38th president. “The PGA is going to build an entire campus with its education center there, it is going to move their Hall of Fame there, obviously its headquarters, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the PGA Show in due time, even though it doesn’t own it, will end up there.”
The PGA could take one of its smaller events to either of the new designs at Panther Creek first, such as the PGA Professional Championship. The move of the PGA Championship from its traditional August date to May beginning in 2019 has lifted hopes that the state of Texas could host its first men’s major championship since 1969. The Senior PGA Championship is booked until 2023 and the PGA Championship until 2025. With the March announcement that the 2028 Ryder Cup will be held at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., the next available opening for a U.S.-based Ryder Cup isn’t until 2036. PGA spokesperson Julius Mason said the association has nothing to add at this time.
Frisco has three resort golf courses in its city limits and about a dozen more within 25 miles. The Panther Creek development is adjacent to and west of the North Dallas Tollway and about seven miles north of the Cowboys headquarters.
“Knowing (PGA CEO) Pete Bevacqua the way I do, I think he views this as a chance to completely re-shape the image of the PGA and get out of the shadow of both of the (PGA and LPGA) Tours in Florida,” Bishop says.