PGA Frisco Resort Chooses NorthBridge® Bermudagrass for Championship Courses
After 1,362 days of construction, the highly-anticipated PGA Frisco Resort in Frisco, TX, officially opened its doors on May 2, 2023. The new headquarters for the PGA of America, in partnership with Omni Hotels & Resorts, the City of Frisco and the Frisco Independent School District, is set to become a major attraction for golf enthusiasts worldwide.
Originally scheduled for an April 2022 opening, the resort’s debut was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing the golf course to benefit from an extra year of grass maturation and growth. Attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the property in May were the owners of the new resort; Kurt Alexander, president of Omni Hotel & Resorts; Texas Gov. Greg Abbott; Frisco’s Mayor Jeff Chene and other Omni executives and Frisco city leaders.
“For us, it was kind of operation as normal and just another day at work because we’ve been out here for three years. We’ve had a few chances to showcase the facility for some practice rounds ahead of our major championship. We did some kind of soft opening dates and we have the golf course in a really good position,” said PGA Frisco’s Managing Superintendent of Golf and Grounds, Bryce Yates. “We had a few extra people here and a few extra cameras, but everything from our standpoint went off without a hitch.”
PGA will host about two championships every year: it already held the Senior PGA Championship in May and will host the Women’s PGA Championship in 2025 and the PGA Championship in 2027. Yates said they’ll repeat that cadence until 2031 and fill in the others with not as highly spectated ones including junior league and club pro championships.
Yates, who previously worked at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, KY moved down from New Albany, IN for this job at Frisco three years ago with his wife and then 3-year-old son and 6-month-old girl. Yates shared that he was encouraged to look at the PGA Frisco project and apply for a job.
“With everything going on around here in Frisco, TX and with the PGA’s commitment to growing the game of golf to 26 championships in the next 13 years, it is very exciting. There is a lot of excitement for this project,” Yates said.
A Golfer’s Dream
The new headquarters were built to be a true “experience” for golfers and students of the game. “This property, this resort, along with PGA headquarters pretty much offers any opportunity that you would want in golf, anything that’s related to golf,” Yates explained.
The new grounds feature two 18-hole championship golf courses, Fields Ranch East – designed by Gil Hanse and Fields Ranch West – designed by Beau Welling.
“The East Course stretches over 7,800 yards so they can test the best of the best. We offer six sets of tee boxes so you can range from 7,800 or 5,000 yards for anyone that wants to try it. The West Course will hold some events this year including the PGA Jr. League (Oct. 4-8) and high school championships for the state of Texas (July). The Jr. league will be televised by ESPN, so we’ll have two televised championships here on the property,” Yates explained.
Yates went on to say that Welling’s design of the west course, Fields Ranch West, has an incredible way of inviting the golfer in to play. “Again we have 5-6 sets of tees depending on the hole from 7,500 to 4,800 yards. Lots of holes with no forced carry so even if you can’t get it up off the ground, you can still hit it into the fairway. You’re not penalized for having it roll along the ground.”
Additionally, visitors of the resort can also enjoy The Swing, a lighted 10-hole, par-3 short course; and The Dance Floor, a 2-acre putting course and entertainment area.
Yates explained The Swing was designed by Hanse and Welling as a first or second step into the game of golf. It has a wide array of shots that are very fun for an average golfer and playable for someone picking up a club for the first time.
The Dance Floor is just over 70,000 sq. ft. consisting of three different courses. The 9-hole beginner course is relatively flat for straight putts. The intermediate 18-hole course allows for a more slow paced-play on the slopes. The challenging, white course has a lot of hills.
“It’s a little bit of like a putt-putt type atmosphere. It’s open to the public. You do not have to pay to play. You can bring a putter and a ball and just go out and have a fun time,” Yates said. Clubs and putters are available on-site if you don’t bring your own.
The Dance Floor is surrounded by the “Monument Realty PGA District” which is a business area consisting of a barbeque restaurant with live hitting bays over the grounds, a gourmet coffee and ice cream shop concept, and an indoor sports bar equipped with Topgolf Swing Suite technology. Yates explained there is something fun for everyone to do from sun-up to sundown at the new headquarters.
Grass for Professional Golf
PGA Frisco Resort chose NorthBridge® Bermudagrass to cover the 180 acres, including the courses and practice facility at the new headquarters. Yates praised NorthBridge’s resilience in North Texas’ mixed weather climates, recalling its successful rebound from negative one-degree temperatures during the February 2021 “Snowmegedden”.
“This year in Dallas Fort Worth, we had a slow green-up across the metroplex but with NorthBridge we were fully green for over a month ahead of everyone else. Some people around us were struggling to get to a full green even into early May,” Yates said.
With hosting championships in May, he explained they really needed to select a grass that would hold up to winter temperatures, heavy traffic and have a good spring green-up for the new PGA headquarters. “We were looking for something that gave us the option to overseed if we ever wanted to have that ability. We had a few varieties in mind and based on some of the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program data and talking to some local superintendents, we ultimately selected NorthBridge specifically for those three qualities.”
In addition to performing well through some weather challenges, he particularly likes the density of this grass. He explained from low fairway mowing heights to two-inch intermediate rough cut heights in other areas, it performs well and gives them flexibility as turfgrass managers. “If we want to create more rough or more fairway it’s as simple as changing the height of mowers instead of the grass,” Yates said.
He also commented that NorthBridge’s color retention into fall and quick spring green-up are this grass variety’s biggest attributes. “There’s a very short amount of time where it is under full dormancy and for us that’s important. I don’t really want to overseed. Our hope with NorthBridge is that we could paint or dye it for a few months and not go through the trouble of the overseeding process.”
Being his first experience with bermudagrass, Yates appreciated NorthBridge’s ability to recover quickly from aggressive and agronomic practices, leaving minimal visible scars on the courses. Additionally, he praised how fast NorthBridge regained its rich-dark color with water and fertilizer, contributing to the courses’ firm and fast playability.
City for American Sports
Yates explained that the PGA headquarters coming to Frisco, makes the city a full sports package destination. “Frisco has been renowned as the best place to raise an athlete and was the number one sports city in America back in 2018-19. So a lot of accolades and sports but one thing it was missing was major championship golf. PGA of America deciding to move their headquarters here, Omni Hotels and the partnership with the City of Frisco and PGA building the golf courses has filled that void,” Yates said. “Now you can see any major sport that’s offered in America here in one city.”
With the addition of PGA Frisco Resort, the city of Frisco solidifies its status as a full sports destination, complementing its existing professional teams, including FC Dallas (MLS), Dallas Stars (MHL), Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Dallas Mavericks (NBA) and the Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers).
The $520 million development includes 127,000 square feet of meeting space, 500 guest rooms, 10 luxury four-bedroom ranch houses, 13 food and beverage outlets, five retail shops and four pools. This significant investment is set to create 1,000 new jobs, making Frisco a true sports and golfing haven for enthusiasts and visitors alike.
For more information about golfing at the new PGA Headquarters, click here.
To learn more about the role of NorthBridge Bermudagrass in the championship golf courses, and hear from the Senior Director of Golf Maintenance Operations, Roger Meier, click here.
This article was written by Cecilia Brown.