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Miracle Workers

By Sean Fairholm   •   January 22, 2019

On a brisk and overcast day last January, the PGA of America’s board of directors traveled to Frisco, Texas, so they could tour 600 acres on the northern edge of town, a proposed site for a new headquarters populated only by wandering cattle.

“We loaded about 25 people into a van and I was getting a little nervous,” said then PGA president Paul Levy. “It was a ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas and we’re definitely not in Florida anymore’ kind of moment.”

Traversing the rough cattle ground, the bus went only so far amongst the cows before the tour continued the remainder of its journey on foot. Mark Harrison, the executive director of the Northern Texas PGA, brought maps so he could attempt to show everyone how the massive complex would look when finished. He even got some help from a resident cattle hand.

“I knew the land well from giving tours in the past,” Harrison said. “If we just got through this one creek and up a ridge, we could look down on the vast majority of the property. Once we got there, they were fired up. It became real to them.”

The piece of land has character. There are elevation changes of more than 100 feet with meandering creeks, a departure from the typically flat Dallas-Fort Worth area and virtual mountains compared to South Florida, where the PGA has been headquartered for decades. It was almost as if the terrain begged to be a golf course, that fate had demanded it be built.

The cattle since having been driven out, that 600 acres within four years will be home to the association’s headquarters, plus 45 holes of golf and numerous amenities surrounding them. It’s going to be a monumental golf village, one that is expected serve as the home of 26 significant tournaments from 2023 through 2034, including two PGA Championships, two KPMG Women’s PGA Championships and possibly the Ryder Cup, all while being a sanctuary for aspiring golf professionals to be educated and young golfers to touch a club for the first time.

But on that crisp day last January, those present couldn’t see any of that. It had to be imagined.

When it comes to fruition, it will be the completion of arguably the most complex deal in the game’s history.

Harrison remembers the first time he felt ambitious about a project that could benefit junior golfers in his area.

In the winter of 2011, he went to lunch and picked up a copy of The Dallas Morning News. The front-page story described how roughly half of the kids living in Texas are of Hispanic descent. He felt like his PGA section, and golf as a whole, needed to address the evolving demographics. There had to be a better way to reach a more diverse audience.

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Harrison showed the article to Darrell Crall, then the executive director of the Northern Texas PGA. Nothing tangible came of it at the time but that front-page piece served as the genesis for a wild and crazy journey.

The concept started to take shape in March 2012. As a part of a regional PGA meeting, Harrison, who had taken over as executive director of the Northern Texas section after Crall went to work in the PGA of America national office in 2011, visited Golf House Tennessee, a facility that houses several of the state’s golf associations with a short, nine-hole course surrounding it. The area is a golf village, the perfect home for juniors and an inspiring oasis for those interested in the game.

“When I came home from that trip, I started thinking, ‘Why can’t we do this in Texas?’ ” Harrison said. “We just didn’t have anything like it and there was no reason for it.”

If those two moments struck a nerve, the third one provided a jolt that put everything together. At the time, Harrison’s kids were taking lessons at the North Texas Golf Center. On the way to pick up his son Luke from a lesson, Harrison looked to the left of the center and saw a sign amongst tall grass and big barrels where people would dump waste.

The state of Texas and city of Dallas were each contributing $1 million as part of a local grant park program so that a soccer park could be built over an old landfill. Two days later, he saw a similar sign, this time announcing a government-funded bike trail.

“So why couldn’t you take existing park space and turn that into a golf course?” Harrison said. “I was thinking we could have other sports fields and include space for a short course with synthetic grass. It would be an urban golf park with the North Texas (PGA) headquarters built there.”

Armed with that idea, Harrison launched a campaign to make it real.

Rendering of the urban golf park Harrison first pitched to the city of Addison in 2013

In April 2013, he met with the mayor in his hometown of Addison to pitch the urban golf park. The idea was rejected, not because it was a poor concept, but because the town owned the land that Harrison hoped could be the site. It was too valuable to give up.

“I came out of that meeting pretty dejected,” Harrison remembers. “But I still thought I was onto something.”

A month later, he saw some daylight. The PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Championship had announced it would leave the city of Irving for the soon-to-be-built Trinity Forest Golf Club just south of downtown Dallas, a development that made Harrison wonder if Irving would be interested in taking on a golf project to fill the void of the tournament leaving.

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This time when he met with the city, Harrison received enthusiastic support. Officials offered several different spaces as potential sites. One of them stood out. It was a park with existing athletic facilities and eight vacant acres attached. The Northern Texas PGA board surveyed the area and gave Harrison the green light.

Knowing he needed a more detailed plan, Harrison reached out to Beau Welling, a noted designer who had worked on courses such as Bluejack National outside Houston and the Stanford University Golf Course in California. Welling and his team quickly developed a couple of renderings of what the park could look like.

Welling’s price for the plans was $2,500, but the designer so believed in the idea of creating golf space for kids that he refused to charge Harrison.

Rendering of the urban golf park Beau Welling did for Harrison for the city of Irving.

City of Irving officials loved the renderings and wanted to move forward. In early 2014, they asked to enter into an agreement whereby Harrison would deal with Irving exclusively. City officials didn’t want the Northern Texas PGA building a similar project elsewhere. Harrison didn’t like the idea of limiting his options early. Had Harrison and his team signed that agreement, it’s fairly certain the PGA of America never would have been offered the chance to move its headquarters to Texas.

Instead, they shopped the concept. In March 2014, they met with the representatives of the cities of Dallas and Richardson before thinking about the possibility of Frisco, a booming city that had recently entered into a mega public-private partnership with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and several other major businesses.

One of the spaces Frisco officials identified as a potential home for the Northern Texas PGA project was the site the PGA of America board eventually roamed and fell in love with. Ironically, Harrison liked that area the least out of the four sites Frisco offered because it didn’t feature fields for baseball, soccer or the other athletic amenities he had envisioned.

Two weeks later, Harrison and the Northern Texas PGA team met with the city again. Frisco officials loved the idea so much that they added to it.

“They said, ‘Hey, we like this golf park but we have a real problem with getting access for our high school golf teams. We have a dozen high schools with about 1,500 kids each and finding golf courses for them to play is expensive and a major headache,’ ” Harrison said. “Because of that they said they were interested in building their own 18-hole golf course. They asked if we would be interested in having one with our project. And I said, ‘Heck yeah, that sounds great.’ ”

A couple of months later, in the summer of 2014, Harrison was talking to Texas-based instructor Cameron McCormick, who teaches tour pros Jordan Spieth and So Yeon Ryu among others. McCormick took great interest in what Frisco could offer juniors but the Northern Texas PGA concept sounded similar to a project one of his friends was working on.

“I’m talking to Cameron about it and he tells me that there is this guy named David Ovard who is spearheading a group of residents from Frisco to develop a golf course,” Harrison said. “Cameron teaches both of Ovard’s kids and knew what was going on. He said I had to reach out to him.”

Harrison wasn’t alone. Someone else had been toiling on a Frisco golf passion project. And it was about to collide with Harrison’s.

Cottonwood Creek Park, the site that would have hosted Beau Welling's urban golf park design in Irving

Ovard wasn’t much of a golfer. “I have the unfortunate problem of my kids being really good, so everyone thinks I am good,” he said. “I show up with great equipment and my kids can crush it … and then I step up and hit a hosel rocket.”

He has played sparingly throughout his life. However, a prank gift from one of his sisters inadvertently set Ovard’s sons Dawson and Davis on the way to being obsessed with the game.

Ovard and his sister had a tradition when their children were younger – they would give each other’s kids gifts with the intention of driving each other crazy. So when Dawson was in preschool, Ovard’s sister gave him a set of real golf clubs. It’s the sports equivalent of someone buying your child a drum kit.

Dawson became a gifted player and Davis developed a penchant for the game as well. They are now 17 and 13, respectively, with Dawson committed to play for Southern Methodist University next fall and Davis being recruited by schools around the country. The family belongs to Brookhaven Country Club, the Dallas club where Spieth learned the game, which is how the Ovards connected with McCormick.

While his sons harbor PGA Tour aspirations, Ovard is a lawyer who was recruited to bring the city of Frisco its first full-service law firm in 2004.

Seven years ago, one of Ovard’s friends floated the idea of a city-owned golf course in Frisco because golf was one of the only amenities the community was missing.

“He came to me and said, ‘Look, you’re the expert in this stuff and I really think there is an opportunity here,’ ” Ovard said.

In early 2013, Ovard began crafting a vision for a course, clubhouse and practice facilities. He talked to city officials and spent countless hours drumming up enthusiasm for the project.

Ovard worked relentlessly on it. He would often get home from work at 1 or 2 a.m. and his wife would set two alarms on his cell phone for 4:30 and 5 a.m. When he fell asleep on the sofa, she would put a blanket over him and then wake up herself in a few hours to make sure her husband was awake.

He repeated the practice for five and a half years.

“Every idea like this needs an author and a catalyst. I think David was that person in many ways,” said Pete Bevacqua, who was the PGA of America CEO at the time. “Without his passion, this puppy would have never gotten off the ground.”

But Ovard couldn’t singlehandedly put everything together. McCormick connected him with Harrison in July 2014 and they began converging their separate plans. The result: The Northern Texas PGA-Frisco idea wouldn’t be just an urban golf park with a synthetic grass par-3 course and it wouldn’t be just a golf course with a practice facility. Together, it would be an 18-hole golf course with an accompanying par-3 course and practice facilities, in addition to being the new home of the Northern Texas PGA. There would be elements of Golf House Tennessee, the site Harrison had visited and become enamored with a few years prior.

The next day, Harrison sent an e-mail to Crall to tell him what they hoped to do in Frisco. That e-mail chain kept PGA of America officials aware of the proceedings in Texas.

In September 2014, Harrison, Ovard and McCormick had dinner together. The PGA of America-to-Frisco concept was born that night.

“We were thinking about this huge space and how much opportunity there was being in a progressive city like Frisco,” Harrison recalled. “What if you gave the PGA of America a clean slate where they could create their own facility exactly as they wanted? It was almost like a Field of Dreams scenario where ‘if you build it, they will come.’ ”

After the dinner, Harrison e-mailed Crall again. This time, something more would come of it.

Rendering of the future PGA headquarters in Frisco

In early 2015, the PGA of America started becoming serious about Frisco. Its leaders’ initial intentions, however, focused solely on building the golf courses, clubhouse and Northern Texas PGA headquarters. There was also banter about the PGA Championship coming to the site eventually.

That January, Crall introduced Ovard and Harrison to Kerry Haigh, the association’s chief championships officer. On Feb. 9, a group that included Crall, Ovard, Harrison and Haigh met at Frisco City Hall. The meeting even had a title, “Project PGA Visit.” They toured a couple of sites and Haigh provided an outline of the scope of the project. The requirements to host a major championship aren’t simply about the course itself; there are shuttle bus routes, parking, hospitality, TV compounds, irrigation, property lines and a lot more.

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The 600-acre parcel on the northern edge of Frisco passed the Haigh inspection, even though a lot of work would be necessary to create a facility suitable for a major.

“It was an important moment because if Kerry had said it couldn’t be done on that piece of land, it dies right there,” Ovard said.

At that point, the PGA wanted to solicit thoughts from several designers.

Gil Hanse and Beau Welling

The three leading candidates were Tom Doak, Gil Hanse and the team of Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. The list was quickly cut to two when Coore and Crenshaw politely declined due to time constraints.

Ovard and Harrison agreed there should be additional nominees in the mix, so Harrison reached out to Frisco resident D.A. Weibring, Texas-based architect Chet Williams and Welling, the man who had once helped Harrison for free.

The architects all signed non-disclosure agreements and started visiting the site with Harrison in September 2015. Then, on Oct. 28, each designer gave a one-hour presentation.

“They were all fantastic but out of the group, Welling and Hanse stood out,” Harrison said. “The PGA initially was hoping for just one architect to do everything, but Beau did such a great job that our whole group said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to have this guy involved.’ ”

With Welling and Hanse on board to design one course each, the PGA planned to move forward to create the facility. The moving forward part proved to be slightly sluggish, however. One of the main complications came because the man who owned the land, Bert Fields Jr., died on Jan. 10, 2015. His complicated estate created an unexpected hurdle throughout much of 2016. In addition, the complexity of the deal made for slow work.

Still, the project was progressing at the start of 2017 when one of the PGA’s biggest conundrums would offer some alchemy to take it to an entirely different level.

On a warm December day at PGA headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., the orange glow of a setting sun illuminated pictures of employees along a lobby wall. Getting there required exiting the turnpike onto PGA Boulevard and then turning into the entrance for PGA National Resort & Spa.

Everything in the immediate area has PGA in or associated with its name. Even the Starbucks has PGA Boulevard in its name. At a roundabout, a quick right takes you to PGA of America headquarters, where the association has been housed since 1981. Going straight instead will lead you to PGA National, the host site of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. The PGA of America has nothing to do with PGA National’s five golf courses, its resort hotel or the tournament, and vice versa. The association and the resort are separate entities that have no meaningful relationship with each other than the PGA acronym in their names.

That relationship probably wasn’t helped by the 1987 PGA Championship, the last major to be held in Florida. The tournament could not have gone much worse. The greens were ravaged by a pythium blight disease, the rough was outrageously overgrown, the heat index hovered around 105 degrees and spectators were passing out left and right. During the opening round, a public relations firm hired by the club smuggled a fashion model out to the floating scoreboard in the middle of the lake next to the 18th green. The model rode over in one of the dresses worn by female volunteers and then stripped down to a bikini for the TV cameras.

When the current headquarters building opened six years before that tournament, the PGA had a staff of 63 people. Now almost four decades later, the association has about 200 employees in a space that is commonly described by staff members as outdated, small and closed off. It’s a rectangular glass box that could house the EEOC, the EPA, TSA, IRS or any of a myriad of alphabet-soup government agencies. One source who works at headquarters said you might go six months without seeing some people who work in other departments. Most employees agree that the building isn’t conducive to collaboration. In addition, the association owns the main building but has to lease a second building to make room for everyone.

Something had to be done.

Phoenix, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., were among the final candidates, but they couldn’t offer what Frisco could – a PGA-operated facility near one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.

“We had made the decision we had to do something with headquarters, because it was pretty antiquated,” Bevacqua said.

In the spring of 2017, the PGA of America sent out an RFP to explore options. Although PGA officials received 212 proposals from far-flung regions across the country, most of them were thinking that Palm Beach County would be their landing spot. It’s a legacy location in a pro-business area with great weather and an established workforce.

Bevacqua, however, was adamant that the PGA should realistically look at the rest of the country. That progressive outlook during the RFP process collided headlong with the Northern Texas PGA-Frisco partnership.

“Darrell called me and said they were putting an RFP out on their headquarters and I told him that we will make this happen in Frisco,” Ovard said. “I hung up the phone and man, outside of the birth of my kids, I’ve never been so excited in my life.”

From that point, the Frisco side didn’t want just a golf course. They pictured something much larger. And it was their job to sell PGA officials on why they should believe in it, too.

“That’s the position we took from that very first meeting in 2017,” Frisco mayor Jeff Cheney said. “We told them we weren’t interested in just building a golf course, really any city could do that. If Frisco was going to be involved, it was going to be a much bigger vision. We were looking at this as a bigger vision initially than they were, I think.”

A lot of cities gave inspired pitches to the PGA for why they deserved to be the home of its headquarters. Phoenix, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., were among the final candidates, but they couldn’t offer what Frisco could – a PGA-operated facility near one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.

“As we did the RFP, Frisco got the bright idea of saying ‘Hey, think about what we could build here,’ ” Seth Waugh, who was elevated from PGA board member to CEO last August after Bevacqua left to become president of NBC Sports Group. “And we started a dream where we’ve got these 600 acres of land that we can do whatever we want with. That doesn’t exist almost anywhere else. And by the way, you’re 20 minutes from one of the largest cities in the country. There’s golf DNA in the area with it being just a young, vibrant place.”

Everyone else, including Palm Beach County, was selling office space. Frisco sold a dream.

But dreaming is easier than executing.

 

By August 2017, the PGA invited the folks from Frisco to Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte for the PGA Championship. A week before the trip, several Frisco leaders gathered and considered whether they should go – not because they didn’t want the PGA to move its headquarters, but because they were concerned their citizens would think they were heading out to be wined and dined, all for a project that wasn’t certain.

“I literally researched Charlotte so we could find other reasons for going,” Cheney said. “We found some other things we wanted to see in regards to how they did their downtown, from what they did with their arts program, so we felt like we could justify the trip even if the golf never materialized.”

Ten officials went wearing matching shirts with Frisco logos. That turned out to be a mistake. A reporter covering the tournament saw them with PGA brass and started some investigative work. That eventually yielded the March 2018 leak of the news that the PGA was planning a move to Frisco.

Regardless, the most important part of the trip was that it sealed Frisco’s emotional investment. The group toured the merchandise tent, watched Spieth play the last four holes and spent extensive time with Bevacqua, Crall and other PGA officials.

“It’s one thing talking about a Notre Dame football game or seeing a major championship on TV, but when you experience it and understand the scope of it, that really brings it to life,” Bevacqua said. “It was one of those moments where you bring someone into Yankee Stadium for the first time. It was a wow moment.”

Everyone from Frisco felt it.

“We walked back to the bus and we all kind of looked at each other and said, ‘OK, we have to figure out how to make this happen,’ ” Cheney said.

Out of the entire $520 million project, the PGA is committing only $30 million to build its headquarters, meaning that its brand will be everywhere at the facility for a relatively small investment.

For all that had happened to reach this point, it’s a surprise that the move to Texas was not a certainty in October 2017 when Crall and Levy visited Frisco to discuss possible incentives. The PGA had narrowed its list down to Palm Beach County and Frisco. But in order for the move across the country to occur, relocation costs and state incentives had to be taken into account. If it didn’t make good financial sense, it wouldn’t happen.

The most-cited turning point that shifted the PGA’s chances of moving to Frisco from a hopeful possibility to a virtual certainty was when three entities – Omni Hotels & Resorts, Stillwater Capital and Woods Capital – became involved early in 2018. Together, they committed $455 million to purchase the land, construct the hotel, conference center, retail space, parking facilities and golf courses. Out of the entire $520 million project, the PGA is committing only $30 million to build its headquarters, meaning that its brand will be everywhere at the facility for a relatively small investment.

At that point, the bumps were flattened by the power of money and branding.

“If you look at Omni, they have very little debt on their properties. They know how to flourish with golf,” said Levy, a man who spent many years developing and managing golf properties in multiple states, including Texas. “It’s not just about the golf courses … the whole area will just reek golf. You will walk out of headquarters and be right in the heart of everything PGA.”

Nothing shows how eager businesses were to get involved than Hunt Realty purchasing 2,500 acres that surround the site. Hunt closed the deal without a guarantee the PGA project would be there. Frisco refers to itself as Sports City USA. Not taking no for an answer is a big reason why.

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Frisco found a bevy of partners eager to be part of the golf village. Palm Beach County couldn’t compete. On Sept. 18, 2018 – four years to the day when Harrison wrote his e-mail to Crall about a grand vision in Frisco – the PGA of America board approved the move.

Back in 2014 when the Northern Texas PGA first met with Frisco concerning Harrison’s urban golf park idea, the section’s president, Tony Martinez, was there in support of the project. As fate would have it, Martinez found his way onto the PGA board of directors four years later. He had a vote on the project he had seen evolve.

“I remember how much time we spent on the urban golf park project and how organic the whole process was,” Martinez says. “Even in that first meeting with Frisco, they asked questions that were bigger than our vision … and I was one of the few people who was sitting on that egg for over four years trying to make it hatch. I felt a real privilege to talk about it so intimately and share my passion with the national board.”

On Dec. 4, 2018, Frisco officials voted to approve the project. It was a surreal moment for many. Harrison and Ovard had latched on to the vision like hungry dogs. Crall had made so many trips to Frisco that the hotel concierge knew his name. Levy and Bevacqua kept the ball moving while keeping it a guarded secret. Frisco city manager George Purefoy spent a year focused on nothing but the PGA project. Bob Rowling, Omni’s billionaire owner, called it a “once-in-three-lifetimes” venture that he wanted to be a part of his family legacy.

They all felt overwhelmed when it became official.

“I’m 48 and the night before the vote with the city of Frisco, it felt like Christmas eve for the first time since I was about 8,” Harrison said. “I couldn’t sleep. I was awake at 3 a.m. because I couldn’t believe it was actually going to happen … There were multiple times when I thought it was dead and here it was.”

L to R... Courtney Connell, Tony Martinez, Philip Bleakney, Mark Harrison, Jimmy Terry, Darrell Crall, Ronny Glanton, John Easterbrook and Ryan Kossick

Sitting in his office at PGA headquarters, Waugh is an obvious believer in the project that will likely define his time as CEO.

If the Frisco concept came to fruition because of progressive thinkers, Waugh plans on widening the lens. The Frisco deal had already crystallized long before Waugh succeeded Bevacqua as CEO, but Waugh had been involved throughout the process and possesses the same passion for it that Bevacqua had. Waugh will be among the senior PGA staff who will be moving to Frisco as some of the first boots on the ground in Texas.

“Hey, I mean I live here (in Florida), I’m not looking forward to leaving,” Waugh said. “This isn’t a lifestyle move for me. The vision was just too compelling to turn down.”

Why should the PGA move to Frisco? Waugh is focused on the 80,000-foot view.

“We think 20 years from now or whatever period of time, if you are seeking a golf career, you’re going to say, ‘Well I’ve got to go to Frisco’ in the same way you have to go to the (Silicon) Valley in San Francisco if you want to be an entrepreneur,” Waugh says. “That’s been a huge engine for America. And we think this can be the engine for golf. Why wouldn’t the clubmakers be there? Why wouldn’t TopGolf be there? We’re all about golf in any form. … That could be an invention or an app or whatever it may be. I just think that sort of community and creating a university of golf is something that could really be cool.”

The new PGA headquarters and its surroundings will be many things. Waugh likens it to St. Andrews or Pebble Beach, public spaces that make golf feel innately born into the environment of the town.

Inclusive is a key word. One reason the the PGA chose the Dallas-Fort Worth area is because of the region’s diverse nature. The PGA, led by its first female president, Suzy Whaley, wants to champion a game in which all are welcome.

“How amazing will it be to have a park next to where we have 300 high school students practicing?” Whaley says. “That is compelling and inspiring for an 8-year-old who sees it and says, ‘I want to be like them.’ We want to be a part of that community and be giving tangible benefits. We can grow the game in a way that can truly be inclusive. And we can give back to our members in a way that can change their lives.”

David Ovard, Darrell Crall and Mark Harrison

Crall is enthusiastic about the education opportunities and how PGA professionals will have dozens of reasons to come “home” to Frisco, whether it be for the PGA Junior League championship, watching a PGA Championship or to play golf.

The possibilities run rampant.

“We have a chance to do some incredible innovation and Seth kind of coined the phrase ‘Golf Labs’ with coaching and player development so we can have the Suzy Whaleys of the world share their insight in entrepreneurial ways to grow business or do cool things for kids or anyone connected to the sport,” Crall said.

If there is one aspect of the PGA-to-Frisco project that is misunderstood, it’s that many have assumed the PGA of America is abandoning its Palm Beach Gardens location.

Although it feels like it in some ways, that is not the case.

“When you look at our history, the connections, PGA National being down the street, it makes no sense to leave here,” Waugh said. “So we’ll embrace having two campuses. Not to confuse the issue, Frisco will be our headquarters and our management team will largely be housed there, but we will also spend time coming back here.

“We’re not leaving home. We might be going off to college, but we aren’t leaving home.”

The PGA is optimistic the Frisco headquarters will open prior to the summer of 2022, and when it does, the baseline commitment will be 100 employees.

“We’re committed to making the current headquarters a special place for our team that is staying,” Crall said. “A part of our work is to decide where is the best place for each position and department to work from. We’ll have a variety of folks that will be centered here because of their department. There is concern about disruption; anytime you relocate headquarters, you are going to lose folks for very obvious reasons. We’re super sensitive to that. We’re also excited about inviting everyone to come with us. We’re going to make it responsibly attractive, we’ll spend a lot of time showing them Frisco. But we also want to make sure the people here feel valued and loved and they have a great place to work.”

With the enthusiasm of starting from scratch in another location while maintaining a presence in a longtime headquarters, it’s admittedly a scary time for those who work in the national office. Where will they be going and when will that happen?

It will take years to figure out how to balance the two locations, but that is the cost of risk. It’s also the cost of looking years into the future and seeing the ideal environment for an evolving game.

It makes sense that such a daring venture would be in Frisco.

“Frisco is kind of this miracle town, you know?” Waugh says. “They built a highway out there and it’s a pop-up city. I don’t want to get too romantic, but you think about how great family wealth is created. It’s usually through buying some piece of land that is ultimately worth a lot. We have a chance to do that with a raw piece of land that is not in the middle of Montana.

“The fact that it exists is a miracle.”

The PGA made it down the highway to the promised land. That’s miraculous in every way.

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