PGA Frisco in Texas is opening its Fields Ranch West golf course, designed by Beau Welling, on 2 May. The East, by Gil Hanse, will open on 30 May after the conclusion of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship (24-28 May).
The two courses are part of a $520 million development that sees Frisco become the new home of the PGA of America. The 600-acre site in the north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, once home to Bert Fields’ Headquarters Ranch, also includes a short course and practice areas, as well as office space, a hotel and conference centre, a retail village and parks and open space. The project is a partnership between the PGA of America, developer Omni Stillwater Woods, the city of Frisco, its Economic and Community Development Corporations, and the Frisco Independent School District.
PGA Frisco has already signed up to host 26 tournaments through to 2034, including the first of two PGA Championships in 2027 and two KPMG Women’s PGA Championships, with plenty of other opportunities on the horizon.
“The West course seeks to take advantage of the natural character of the site that encompasses over 75 feet of elevation change and follows Frisco’s Panther Creek,” said Welling. “We’ve focused on highlighting the prairie setting with native field grasses, live oaks, and mesquite trees as well as created wetlands and habitat areas to build a true natural oasis amid the neighbouring, developing urbanity.
“The highly strategic nature of the golf course will encourage shotmaking and creativity from tee to green. We have designed the course with expansive fairways, averaging roughly 75 yards, to promote enjoyment for all levels of golfers as well as to inspire different routes of play. Additionally, we have worked with the PGA of America to plan teeing grounds within the fairway height of cut to promote flexibility in the course setup, further supporting a fun, yet challenging test of golf that can be both a family-friendly experience as well as a championship calibre test. We can’t wait for people to play the course!”
Among the holes photographed by PGA Frisco ahead of opening is the par-three third, which can be played from 96 yards to 240. It is the first, and longest, of five par threes. The green is bisected by a ridge with two bunkers on the front-left and one back-right.
Another hole captured by PGA Frisco photographers is the par-four thirteenth, a 480-yarder where players have to hit their tee shots downhill to a landing area guarded on the right by a bunker before crossing over Panther Creek. The green is defended on the left by a long bunker, while the putting surface is split by a ditch-like contour, making it important to find the correct side for any chance of making the putt.
At the next hole, the 409-yard par-four fourteenth, players will be faced with a fairway that doglegs left and is also the widest on the course but plays uphill. The left-to-right angled green is also guarded by two deep bunkers, so many players will look to hit their tee shots towards the elevated right side of the fairway, leaving a longer approach but a better angle to the green that is receptive to a running shot.
To finish the round is a 570-yard par five which requires an accurate tee shot due to the landing area being defended by a series of bunkers both left and right. For second shots, players can take on the left bunkers to leave an easier approach to a contoured green or play more conservatively and leave a pitch over the greenside bunkers.
Read about how Welling continued to oversee the project during the height of the pandemic.
For Fields Ranch East, Hanse has aimed to maximise the site’s natural terrain. “The property here reminded me a bit of Southern Hills – the topography, along with the creek so prominently featured,” he said. “Of course, Southern Hills is now surrounded by Tulsa. But when Perry Maxwell built it, Southern Hills probably looked a lot like our site in Frisco does today.
“This used to be a ranch, so we focused on that, along with what is some really interesting topography, good rolling ground. But everything has been done in proportion to the broad expanses we’re dealing with here. In that context the bunkers are the calling card, the most visible feature out there – and they are dramatic.”
The East course has been constructed by Heritage Links, while Wadsworth Golf Construction has worked on Welling’s West course.
“Fields Ranch opening will mark the beginning of a new era in championship golf in North America and we are so proud to launch this unprecedented golf and entertainment destination,” said Paul Earnest, director of golf and operations at Fields Ranch at PGA Frisco. “What Gil Hanse and Beau Welling have created here will test the world’s best golfers as well as providing memories of a lifetime for players of all skill levels for decades to come.”
Opening alongside the West course is The Swing, a ten-hole par-three course that can be lit up for evening play, and The Dance Floor, a two-acre putting course – both of which have been designed by Hanse and Welling. The Swing has holes ranging from 45 to 100 yards, while The Dance Floor offers golfers three different ways to eighteen holes.