As has been his custom when working on large projects, Gil Hanse, ASGCA (Hanse Golf Design) and his wife, Tracey, plan to live on site during construction of the new East Course at PGA of America Headquarters in Frisco, Texas, 40 miles north of Dallas.
The East Course, measuring 7,603 yards from the back tees with a par of 72, has already been tapped to host two PGA Championships, the first in 2027 and another in ’34, along with a tentative Ryder Cup in 2040.
Hanse, who designed the Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has recently redone Pinehurst No. 4 and is currently working on a complete renovation at Oakland Hills GC, outside Detroit. But it was his recent redo of the Maxwell classic at Southern Hills CC in Tulsa, Okla., that motivated him for the PGA Frisco project.
“I think you saw a true restoration of the (original) Maxwell course at Southern Hills and you’ll see a lot of stylistic imports from Maxwell at the PGA course here,” Hanse said Monday a press event for the new PGA of America HQ. “I haven’t been to all the Maxwell courses, but you will see the deep bunkers around the greens and the smaller greens. That’s part of what I hope to see [here].”
“We’re empty nesters now and that’s our thing to move closer to important projects,” he said. “We did it in Rio for the Olympic Course and did it in Pinehurst for No. 4 and the Cradle Par 3. I will still fly in and out to other projects, but I will be close here. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the PGA.”
Hanse said he has already found some surprises in his trips to the Frisco, site, 40 minutes north of downtown Dallas.
“The elevation was a surprise to me and Beau as we walked the land,” he said. “I was expecting something pretty flat, but my eyes keep going up and up on the holes.”
Another less welcome surprise was the hundreds of acres of thick clay covering the land upon which he will build.
“All you had to do was look at your boots after you walked on the property,” he said. “We will have to move more dirt than we would like to, but we will also move the course in different directions to take advantage of the winds.”
He is planning large amphitheater mounds around the greens at holes 16 and 17, a long par 4 and short 3, respectively, before a bruising par-5 finisher. That hole is planned to stretch to 611 yards, where Panther Creek can come into play on three different shots including the finishing approach as the water tightly guards the green.
“You may not hear the roars you heard last week at the Masters, but I can promise you some pretty good noise as you’re coming down the home stretch of the course,” Hanse said.
Twenty-six PGA of America events are scheduled for the two courses over the next 13 years, not including the Ryder Cup which has not been officially awarded.