First let’s remind everyone of the two distinct entities that used to be the same but are actually two separate, huge golf organizations.
The PGA Tour and PGA of America used to be one in the same. The PGA Tour went its own way back in 1968 and that’s the greedy group headed by the Sherriff Of Nottingham, aka Commissioner Jay Monahan and his horde of henchmen. They basically own and oversee the weekly tournaments seen on television, they run the tournaments but have “sponsors” from corporate America put up all the money. It’s a great gig if you can get it and they’ve had it for a long time. All their players are “independent contractors” as opposed to employees.
The PGA of America is the organization that has approximately 28,000 members. They are known as “PGA Professionals” and they are the grass-roots promoters for the game of golf. They teach, they run courses, they do all the real work for not very much money unless you happen to reach the level of a guy like Bob Ford, who was the head professional at Oakmont in the spring and summers then was the head guy at the exclusive Seminole Golf Club in North Palm Beach in the winter. Ford recently retired from Oakmont but is still the guy at Seminole. But those jobs are few and far between.
Which brings us to this week’s announcement that the PGA of America will be leaving its long-time digs in Palm Beach Gardens and will move to Frisco, Texas, about 30 miles north of Dallas.
It will be part of a huge-money development. All the dough is coming from a joint venture between Omni Hotels and two big capital groups — Stillwater Capital and Woods Capital.
Total money put in this deal will be well north of $500 million. The PGA of America will spend about $30 million to build a new headquarters building, about 100,000 square feet. It’s a big money grab for the PGA, no doubt there are plenty of “incentives” being thrown its way. There will be a 500 room Omni Hotel, major conference center and two major-championship-caliber golf courses.
Now here’s where the PGA throws money at the deal without spending a dime.
Big tournaments will be held at one of those two courses, probably the one being done by Gil Hanse. First event will be the 2023 Senior PGA Championship then the PGA itself, the fourth major, will be staged on site in 2027 and 2034 and there are whispers of a possible Ryder Cup there as well. That’s big money, even by Texas standards.
The city of Frisco is giving all sorts of incentives so basically, when you look at the underlying motive here, they made the PGA of America an offer it couldn’t refuse.
As for the old headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens where the PGA has been for the past 40-some years, that will probably be torn down with some sort of new development coming. There’s not much land in that neighborhood and it is high-value dirt.
So it’s off to Texas. This has been coming, it simply became official this week.
Just another example of how big money talks.