In 2018, the Professional Golfers’ Association of America announced the relocation of its headquarters from its longtime location Palm Beach Gardens, Florida to Frisco, Texas. But why?
As Local Profile previously reported, a local dad was key, but in a recent Babson BrandBites talks, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh gave more details about what motivated the leap from Florida to North Texas. The decision started with office space.
“We, like a lot of people, we had outlived our building,” explained Waugh. “We had been in it for sixty years. And either had to renovate or move.” The PGA rented office space nearby, but their then-current digs didn’t have enough room to grow. The PGA looked at golf-friendly communities around the country, including Charlotte, Atlanta and Phoenix.
“Palm Beach County and Florida stood up and made an attractive offer, but Frisco’s jumped off the page for a couple of reasons,” said Waugh. “One is the financial incentives of Texas, a very business-forward place. They get the entire state behind it.”
The city of Frisco had over 650 acres of land to develop and hoped could be used for golf. “From their perspective, we were a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he added. “Our combination of committing to 28 championships which will come to Frisco, building our headquarters and operating the golf facility, which is still public land, was hugely attractive to them.”
(As Local Profile previously reported, the deal also includes a $90 million abatement, which means that PGA won’t pay property taxes for the next two decades.)
Moving the PGA headquarters was, according to Waugh, a great dream, but still needed a financial partner. “Enter the Omni group who’s one of the great hotel companies on the planet,” said Waugh. The Dallas-based hospitality company came in with a half-a-billion-dollar deal, offering to put in a hotel and resort, a mixed-retail entity and two golf courses. The dream became reality.
The PGA’s new Frisco base won’t face the same limitations as the previous HQ. “It’s 100,000 square feet that we can grow into forever,” said Waugh. “None of our members had a reason to come to our building in Palm Beach Gardens. It was just an office building. But now they’re all going to come home to their home where we are going to tell the story of the PGA.”
Frisco didn’t only offer bigger office space, but the opportunity to create a destination – or even, according to Waugh, the new home of golf in the US. “By the way, it’s in the middle of the country,” he added, citing the ease of travel. And the center of the golf world.