Field Notes: PGA Frisco is a Texas-sized success

The Omni PGA Frisco Resort was one of the most highly anticipated openings in 2023 with 36 holes of golf designed by two high-profile architects, state-of-the-art practice and teaching facilities, and the promise of legendary Texas hospitality. 

As the resort, located about 35 miles north of Dallas, approaches its one-year anniversary in May, all indications point to an overwhelming success that arguably launches the Ranch Fields East and West layouts, along with the luxury accommodations and dining offerings, into a list of top 10 golf destinations in the United States. 

Hole No. 8, Ranch Fields East, Frisco, Texas. :: Photo: Omni Frisco Resort.

“Our facilities are incredible and it’s just mind blowing the scope of what 650 acres and $550 million can do,” Paul Earnest, director of golf, says. “I’d say it has been a welcomed reception into the market, really from every player category.”

There is no better evidence of the overall appeal of the variety of the new resort golf offerings than the stats on its 10-hole, lighted short course called The Swing, co-designed by Gil Hanse and Beau Welling. 

“The Swing has been a home run here and we’re on track to do 50,000 rounds on that little course in a 12-month period,” Earnest says. “It has just played out to where people of all skill levels have really, really enjoyed it.” 

Says Welling: “The short course was a true collaboration in the field. During construction it wasn’t like I was running over to the East Course because I was busy on the West Course, and I think it was the same for Gil. It’s not just people playing golf but it’s this experience that is being created.” 

Numbers have been equally impressive on the two 18-hole layouts, with last October logging 6,000 total rounds. Earnest says the resort may hit that number in just three weeks in April since one week of the month is reserved for hosting the PGA Professional Championship. 

The Omni PGA Frisco Resort is an easy destination for golfers to access with Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) just a 30-minute drive to the North Texas location. DFW’s passenger traffic ranks ninth busiest in the world and most anyone in the continental U.S. can travel to the airport in three hours or less.  

“Our customers have spread from coast-to-coast,” Earnest says. “Our staff has seen hats in various airports around the country since our hay bale logo is so prominent.”

The logo consists of a pin with the flag of Texas leaning on a round bale of hay with PGA in all caps and Frisco in smaller script below.   

“We’ve just had a great retail success with the logo,” Earnest says. “It speaks to Texas and it speaks to the Frisco area. It just is unique and there is such value in a logo. I think in short order we’ll be able to drop the verbiage and people will know it and recognize it. Hopefully it’ll be iconic in that regard, like some of the great golf logos across the country.”


There is some big news coming out of the Old Course at St. Andrews

Golfers looking to secure a coveted tee time on the iconic links layout will now have the opportunity starting March 12 to enter a new singles daily draw, offering a modern and equitable digital solution to its in-person singles queuing system.

The Old Course Singles Daily Draw will give golfers the chance of securing a tee time by joining with existing groups of two or three pre-booked golfers.

The new digital system will replace the previous practice of golfers queuing outside the starter’s hut prior to play, which was formalized in the 1990s to cater to single walk-ups. Over the past decade, numbers have grown to such an extent that many golfers were queuing overnight for upwards of 12 hours, often in inclement conditions, in the hope of being offered a tee time.

Now, the daily draw requires individual golfers to enter their details in person at the Old Pavilion next to the first tee of the Old Course, or St Andrews Links Clubhouse, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. the day before they wish to play. A randomised draw will then take place at 5 p.m. with golfers being notified by text message and email whether they have been allocated a tee time for the following day without the need to queue for lengthy periods.

“For many golfers, playing the Old Course is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the new singles daily draw will ensure golfers can secure a tee time and enjoy the experience of having had a good night’s sleep while maintaining the practice of allowing single golfers to join pre-existing groups of two or three,” said Neil Coulson, chief executive of St Andrews Links Trust.

The new process maintains the requirement for a golfer to be in St Andrews in person to protect the original intention of the singles queue.

The introduction of the Old Course Singles Daily Draw does not impact the ability to book or play any of the other six courses operated by St Andrews Links Trust.  


Ireland has its share of historic links and landmarks, but few can rival the clubhouse at Ardglass Golf Club

Yes, the Irish Sea, which can be seen from all 18 tees and greens, comes into play on no fewer than eight holes, so the golf and scenery is beyond memorable. That’s just part of the story, though, at the Northern Ireland links layout, where travelers will find the world’s oldest building used as a golf clubhouse. 

The present building, with its 3-foot-thick stone walls and short ceilings, started its existence as a fortified warehouse that operated as a safe haven for 15th century importers and exporters. 

“It’s one of my favorite links golf courses anywhere in the world and its 800-year-old clubhouse certainly can’t be matched anywhere in the world,” says Matt Adams of Golf Channel and NBC Sports. 

“We pride ourselves on providing visitors that full experience from the time your car is parked to entering our clubhouse dating back to 1405, and the welcome that we give you,” says Paul Vaughan, director of golf at Ardglass. 

Many golf travelers make a point to play Ardglass while visiting Royal Country Down at Newcastle or Royal Portrush. Both courses are ranked among the top five in Ireland. 

“You kind of have to pinch yourself at times that you’re only so far from these great golf courses. Golf in Ireland as a whole is great, but golf in Northern Ireland is really, really good,” Vaughan says. 

And the ancient clubhouse isn’t the only piece of interesting history nearby. On Queens Island is the Titanic Belfast museum, a visitor attraction and monument to Belfast‘s maritime heritage on the site of the former shipyard where the Titanic was built. It tells the many stories of the ship, which hit an iceberg and sank during her maiden voyage in 1912. 

“I went and saw it myself not too long ago and was just blown away by it,” Vaughan says. “It is truly amazing. They have made more investments at the museum and that just trickles into the overall hospitality that Ireland brings and that 19th hole concept.” 


The National Golf Foundation says course closures in 2023 came in at their lowest figure in almost two decades. There were approximately 90 golf course closures in the United States last year (as measured in 18-hole equivalents), resulting in less than 0.5% being trimmed from the nation’s total supply. Last year’s closure total was about one-third of the record number of U.S. course shutdowns in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. … Hilton Grand Vacations is offering 20% off a minimum two‑night midweek stay at Hilton Vacation Club Bent Creek Golf Village in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This Smoky Mountains course was designed by Hall of Famer Gary Player and has been ranked as one of the top 50 courses in the South by Southern Living Travel Guide. Golfers interested need to book by March 20 and stay through May 23. … Golf travelers can now log on to and sign up to be notified when the ultimate fusion of golf bag and travel case hits the market in a few months. The Trolf Journey product is being designed to withstand the rigors of airline cargo handling and protect clubs from damage while optimizing space in vehicles of any size.