The architects of the two championship golf courses at Fields Ranch, along with the PGA Director of Golf Operations at PGA Frisco, are unanimous in their appraisal of the new “Home of Golf in the United States.” All agree the 2,500-acre compound in suburban Dallas, Texas, is a generational gem.
“I have had the pleasure of designing golf courses around the world, and I can assure you the East Course at PGA Frisco has been one of the most interesting and gratifying projects on which I have worked,” said East Course Architect Gil Hanse at a special presentation on the PGA Industry Stage powered by CapTech Thursday at the 70th PGA Show. “The East Course is brand new, but it is already major-championship ready.”
Hanse is stoked about the East Course at Fields Ranch hosting the Senior PGA Championship in May, but emphasized that the course was constructed to be enjoyed by golfers of all skill levels.
“With golf courses of this nature, there is an expectation that they will be difficult,” said Hanse. “However, we designed the East and West courses to be flexible with many tees, and the ability to enlarge or narrow the fairways with the turf. At the end of the day, you are building the golf courses for your client. Our clients are Omni and the PGA of America so we built the courses to be compelling and thoughtful for all skill sets, as well as challenging for a major PGA tournament. The flexibility was key in the design.”
Beau Welling, whose company designed the West Course, is equally excited about the two courses, which just three years ago had cows feeding on the pastureland that has now been transformed into two verdant 18-hole courses at PGA Frisco.
“Since 2016, we have modified 50 different plans to design two courses that co-exist and work together operationally,” said Welling. “What is really going to be awesome about the facility is that these PGA championship tournaments will make PGA Frisco famous around the world initially. But the facility, with PGA headquarters and the other amenities such as the learning and education center, the 28,000 PGA Members will come here to teach, learn and be immersed in Omni hospitality. The activated practice and entertainment districts will make PGA Frisco and exciting golf destination with all types of golfers enjoying both courses.”
On the difference between the East and West courses, Welling said, “The courses are more like cousins than siblings and both are separate tests. Space requirements on the East course were much greater to allow a tournament environment that can host spectators in a world class way.”
Hanse noted, “The two courses are separate tests of golf, but the overall acreage for the East course allows for more spectators for a tournament. The West course actually does not come back to the clubhouse after nine holes. It is an 18-hole loop. It was a 100 percent collaboration between the two design teams regarding the vision of the two courses. They were built simultaneously, so they were both ready at the same time. Hats off to Omni for their patience in waiting for the opening to have the entire package ready.”
Paul Earnest, PGA, Director of Golf and Operations of Fields Ranch at PGA Frisco, said the dream of PGA Frisco is now a reality.
“It’s a resort that is the official home of PGA golf, and we are going to offer great and memorable customer service,” said Ernest. “There are 13 food & beverage outlets, and we expect golfers to stay multiple days. About 50 percent of guests we are expecting will be groups and corporate, and we have 24,000 square feet of meeting space. The variety of food and beverage, and other activities on property like the lighted 10-hole course, The Swing, will inspire people to want to come back again and again after their first visit.”