Courtesy of Omni Hotels & Resorts
FRISCO, Texas — Omni PGA Frisco golf course architect Gil Hanse never had formal training in drama, but instead earned a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Cornell University.
But in the first media preview at the upcoming opening Omni PGA Frisco Resort – which includes the new home of the PGA of America, the Hanse-designed Fields Ranch East championship course and the Beau Welling-designed Fields Ranch West course – it has produced one of the most spectacular golf courses in Texas.
The resort sits on 660 acres of former North Texas farmland. Fields Ranch East already has 26 PGA of America championships scheduled over the next 12 years, starting with the Senior PGA Championship in May.
Fields Ranch East features a par-4 playable on both the front and back nine, a nearly 300-yard par-3 (#13 of the championship tees), and the course’s largest green is followed by the smaller , just to confuse the already confused minds of golfers.
Then for the closing act, there’s a dangerous 141-yard par-3 17th, the shortest on the course, plus a par-5 18th with a big stream and a 10-foot dirt wall you’ll have to hit to reach the green after crossing Panther Creek for the last time.
“I think you could have some fireworks there,” Hanse said understatedly during a Tuesday fireside interview with co-designer Welling at the Omni PGA Frisco.
While the public, who will have their first chance to play here in the spring of 2023, will make up over 80% of the rounds (there are also a small number of members), Hanse has designed the course to be player-friendly. , but certainly not without pain if you don’t hit the right shot from the right tee.
Hanse said one of the things learned when designing the Olympic golf course in Brazil, which was turned into a public facility after the Olympics left, is using a long set of “ribbon tees,” which is a continuous grass path, 100 yards long on some of the holes here.
The course can easily play more than 7,800 yards from the back tape, but officials said the length will rarely, if ever, be used on a daily basis. But playing with the correct set of tees will be essential to the enjoyment of resort players for the rates that will be charged to Omni Hotel guests and general public play.
Beginner players will be amazed by the elevation changes in the supposedly flat landscape of North Texas and the extensive use of native streams.
“Two of the nicest surprises since day one were the elevation changes we’ve had to work with here and Panther Creek, which comes into play multiple times,” Hanse said. “What we did was find some of the dramatic elements that we improved. My partner Jim Wagner and I wanted to create drama here and we want to put in place ways for players to win in a positive way. Not for ways to lose it.
The first of two driveable par-4s is on the 7th hole, which is just 330 yards from the back tees with plenty of trouble ahead. In fact, when Dallas’ Jordan Spieth got his first glimpse of the new course, it didn’t take long for him to imagine the fireworks of professional golf.
“With two par-5s in the first three holes, Jordan said you definitely have a chance to get off to a quick start,” said PGA of North Texas executive director Mark Harrison, who visited Spieth, Scottie Scheffler and several other local PGA tours. players around the course.
The opening hole to the east is a par-5 with a dogleg to the right, which features thick rough patches and the first appearance of the native Panther Creek. There is a risk of losing your ball on the opening tee, as there are problems lurking everywhere on this course. In fact, when Tiger Woods opened his private Bluejack National outside of Houston, three hours southeast of here, he said he hoped most players could play his course with just one ball. . If an amateur does that at Fields Ranch East, you might as well send him straight to the Tour.
Hanse said one of the reasons for the drama on his course layout is the number of professional and amateur tournaments already scheduled here, highlighted by the still unannounced but widely anticipated US Ryder Cup, most likely in 2041. He has incorporated that match-play enthusiasm into his routing.
“If you look at previous Ryder Cups, most matches end between the 15th and 17th holes,” he said. “So adding a driveable par-4 (15) and a short par-3 (17) here could be very exciting in the Ryder Cup.”
Holes 10-12, all par 4s, play within view of the Omni PGA Frisco, making them prime spots to watch the tournament, but players of all skill levels will find their full attention captured when they arrive. at par 3 13th hole.
Panther Creek crosses the fairway and winds around the left side, but this will be one of the most attractive features of the back nine. Hanse and his team, along with the hundreds of workers on the course at all times, have reinforced a wall along the left side of the green to prevent erosion, but have used a special texture that will allow natural vegetation to grow in and on the wall. .
The 15th par-4 is another passable par-4 that is surrounded by bunkers to embrace the risk-reward factor. The par-4 16th features an elevated tee, the par-3 17th has a lake that cuts into the right side, and the par-5 18th calls for two good but risky shots for the pros to reach the green.
The fairway grass, known as NorthBridge Bermuda, can be mowed very narrow or wide enough to catch the worst tee balls. The greens are Tifeagle Bermuda grass. The course was completed in early 2022, giving it a season and a half to grow and blossom into a firm and fun – and possibly explosive – playground.
Omni owns both courses, with PGA management operations, and big things are coming, starting with the 2023 Senior PGA. Two PGA Championships (2027, 2034), two KPMG Women’s PGAs (2025, 2031) and , the most anticipated event in North Texas golf history, a future Ryder Cup are also on the horizon.
Let the drama begin.