Golfers and golf enthusiasts rejoice! The word is official. The PGA of America is moving to Frisco, Texas, from Palm Beach County, Florida, as part of an innovative public-private partnership. There were doubters about it happening, but those non-believers were silenced when the PGA made its official announcement in December of 2018.
Additionally, part of the 25-year agreement is that at least two future PGA Championships (2027 and 2034) and two KPMG Women’s PGA Championships (2025 and 2031) that will be held at a new (to-be-built) golf resort in North Texas. A Ryder Cup could also potentially be held in Frisco, the PGA of America said. (Imagine that, a Ryder Cup in Texas!)
The new golf course is part of a new development plan for Frisco, already home to the STAR a 90,000-acre campus, headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys and boasts a state-of-the-art. football field-field, gymnasium, corporate offices, shops, restaurants, and even a luxury hotel among its amenities.
Big Plans for Frisco
The public-private investment is estimated at $520 million with the PGA of America agreeing to invest $30 million in the development of a 100,000 square-foot global headquarters and education facility. The PGA of America also said that it would employ at least 100 as part of its agreement with Frisco.
A joint venture between Omni Hotels & Resorts, Stillwater Capital and Woods Capital, called Omni Stillwater Woods (OSW), will invest $455 million to purchase land; construct a 500-room Omni resort and conference center; a “technologically advanced” retail space; parking facilities; and two golf courses, a short course, practice areas and a clubhouse.
The development will be situated about a third of a mile south of U.S. 380 at Rockhill Drive and Legacy Parkway.
The City of Frisco, in addition to Frisco Independent School District, Frisco Economic Development Corp., and Frisco Community Development Corp., will contribute no more than $35 million.
The golf courses and other facilities will be available for public use, and FISD student golfers will practice at the courses on a weekly basis, an arrangement reminiscent of FISD’s use of the Cowboys practice facility at The Star. FISD was also involved in the close to $40 million upgrades at Toyota Stadium, home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and FC Dallas.
The initial 25-year agreement calls for the land and conference center to be publicly owned by the City of Frisco and for OSW to operate both.
The State of Texas will also provide a grant through Chapter 351 incentives valued at more than $62.5 million over the course of 10 years by contributing collections for hotel tax, sales tax and a portion of mixed beverages tax.
How Did It All Begin?
This story goes back a few years for Frisco residents, the Ovard family. They have sons playing golf and connections in the golfing community. While it may have sounded far-fetched, they had a dream of bringing the PGA here and thought… How great would it be to have them set up home in Frisco?”
Residents since 2004, the Ovards embraced every year as the city grew and provided families the best in schools, facilities, and sports opportunities. Speaking to David Ovard, he explained while watching his sons grow to love the sport of golf, it became apparent there was no facility where the school district could play and learn regularly.
He had a very clear master vision in his mind of how the PGA could bring something so special and unique to Frisco. David began talking with Mark Harrison (Executive Director and CEO of the North Texas PGA) and City Manager George Purefoy over five and a half years ago. This led to further positive discussions with the FEDC and City Council members. Ovard shared,
I knew from the start it was possible and an all-around win-win for everyone… the community, the city, the students, the Frisco economy, and the PGA. If achieved, we could all enjoy a place of pride and it benefits. Fast forward to today and an announcement that proves a dream really is possible. This truly is a project of passion and love for all involved that will be wonderful and beneficial for everyone.
The facility will also have a 9-hole course where novices and children can learn in a less intimidating environment. Working closely with the school district as partners also means high schools in Frisco will immediately have access to practice, grow in the sport, and potentially produce a whole new generation of pro golfers. Dr. Mike Waldrip, FISD Superintendent of Schools, said,
This partnership adds another level of exciting opportunities and experiences for our students. The development will add millions of dollars to our tax base, helping to keep the tax rate low, while also providing a number of unique learning opportunities for students in fields such as landscape architecture, hotel and restaurant management, and sports broadcasting.
What Lies Ahead for Frisco
New golf courses, championship tournaments and a whole new era of golf living are what lies ahead for Frisco, all started by a simple idea of good-hearted Texans.
But isn’t that how pretty much where every great Texas story begins?
See you on the greens!
Referneces:golf.com https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikmatuszewski/2018/12/04/pga-of-americas-move-to-frisco-brings-at-least-two-pga-championships-to-north-texas/, https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2018/12/04/pga-of-america-hq-mixed-use-development-frisco.html