West Palm Beach golf historian frustrated by the PGA of America's move to Texas
Palm Beach Gardens (CBS12) —
It's the end of an era for Palm Beach County golf, as the PGA of America has announced it will be moving to Frisco, Texas after being based in Palm Beach County for more than 50 years. 120 jobs will be moving to a the brand new headquarters slated to be built on 600 acres of land in Frisco, while roughly 100 jobs will remain at the current headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens.
It's a frustrating day for Charlie Hamilton, a long time USGA employee, who's now a golf historian and author. Hamilton was born and raised in West Palm Beach, and remembers the 1971 PGA Championship and the 1983 Ryder Cup, held in Palm Beach County thanks to the arrival of the PGA of America. He can't help but feel like our area is losing some of it's golf identity.
"Oh my gosh," says Hamilton. "Why would they leave basically the golf capital of the world. There has to be a way to find, in Palm Beach County, a piece of dirt, and build a building, clearly that the Texas people were winning to do."
"The leaders of Palm Beach County have been highly valued partners," insists PGA of America's Chief Operating Officer Darrell Crall. "It really was a matter of picking the best of multiple good options."
But a brand new state of the art headquarters, along with two major championship caliber golf courses will be built in Frisco instead, an agreement that includes a promise to host two PGA Championships, two KPMG Women's PGA Championships and potentially a Ryder Cup in the next few years. There's an estimated economic impact of over $2.5 Billion Dollars for Frisco over the next 20 years.
"I would like to think that the place that I live and you live," explains Hamilton. "The has the wonderful weather and the courses that we have, I think it's still the golf capital of the world, and it always will be to me,"
It's important to note that the PGA of America is a completely separate entity than the PGA, so tournaments like the Honda Classic and the Boca Raton Championship will be completely unaffected by the move, Those two tournaments have an economic impact of over $40-Million a year.