PGA delays opening of play at Frisco, expects huge success at Southern Hills
By Art Stricklin
ORLANDO, Florida – Talk of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills CC in Tulsa in just over three months and the ever growing PGA Frisco campus in North Texas filled the annual PGA Show Media Preview Wednesday, with PGA Executive Director Seth Waugh saying he expects total success for both.
“We know originally the PGA Championship at Southern Hills was scheduled in 2030, I think, then got moved up when we decided not to go to Trump National,” Waugh said.
“We had the Senior PGA Championship last year and it went beautifully. The course is great, the (Gil Hanse) renovation turned out wonderfully and we have no doubts the PGA (Championship) will go off flawlessly in May.”
Waugh said having the Senior PGA last year at Southern Hills followed less than a year later with Phil Mickelson defending his unlikely PGA Championship win in Tulsa this spring was a plus for the organization and local club.
“To be honest, we consider Southern Hills plug and play. We already had an operations team on site for the Seniors and they stayed over. We added some more people and we have the tournament history of Southern Hills and the great golf fans of Oklahoma. There is no doubt it will be a success.”
The majority of the press briefing was on the two public PGA Frisco golf courses, one designed the Hanse (East), the other by Beau Welling (West). The biggest news is that the golfing public will have to wait a little while longer to play the two championship courses.
After originally talking about opening the course later in 2022, Senior Director of Golf Operations Jimmy Terry said they will not open the new courses to the public until 2023, although both courses have been completed.
Terry said not allowing the courses to open until the massive Omni Hotel is finished next year, will allow everything to begin at the same thing and give the massive golfing area, which they described as the new home of golf in America, more of a splash.
There be a few private tournaments held there later this year.
Waugh added it was a joint decision between the PGA and Dallas-based Omni Hotels to not open the two courses to the public in the midst of hotel construction so to give everything a finished look.
“It will be great when we open and we can’t wait for everyone to see it. We’ve already been planning for the 26 championships which are scheduled to be held there and the many great rounds and times for golfers and non-golfers alike,” Terry said.
The 70,000 square foot putting green, the 10-hole lighted short courses, along with the golf-themed shops and entertainment district will all open for visitors in early 2023.
The first major golf championship will be the Senior PGA Championship in 2023, 45 days after the official grand opening. He said the next step on the golf side will be to post an opening for the first PGA Frisco Director of Golf and to conduct a national search for that person, who will then hire a series of golf professionals.
Waugh said the new PGA Headquarters at the Frisco site will be open this May. More than 90 PGA of America Employees are in the Frisco area now and close to 300 will be there by 2023. Waugh said he will be moving to North Texas himself this spring, joining Senior executives John Easterbrook and Terry among others at the HQ site.
“One of things we want to do at the show this week is to highlight for PGA pros and others this is home. This is their home, this is home of golf in America and this is the home for all golfers, near and far,” Waugh said.
Even if they have to wait a little bit longer to experience it.