How the idea for The Ronny Golf Park evolved into PGA Frisco

Ronny Glanton was there when an urban golf park was just a gleam in Mark Harrison’s eye. Not exactly there, but Glanton, the longtime Sherrill Park head pro and the two-time Northern Texas PGA president has long been involved in discussions about the creation of the idea that evolved into what is now PGA Frisco.If there had been no germ of an idea to build an urban golf park to “make golf more affordable and accessible to all ages and demographics,” according to the NTPGA, there might not be a PGA Frisco or what is now known as The Ronny Golf Park.“I was just totally overwhelmed,” Glanton remembered feeling when he was told the golf park would be named for him. “I’m still at a total loss of words. Humbled. Humbled. I still can’t believe it.”The Ronny is a two-acre lighted synthetic turf 18-hole putting course. There are two miniature greens that replicate the 18th holes on the Fields Ranch East Course and West Course. The course is built, but there are some finishing touches left before the The Ronny, which has a planned January opening, will be ready. It was designed by Beau Welling, the architect of the West Course, and is adjacent to the new NTPGA headquarters on the PGA Frisco campus.“It’s the most welcoming place you can think of for kids,” said Harrison, the NTPGA’s executive director and CEO after a media tour of the facilities Tuesday. He expects to move into his new office a driver and a short iron from the PGA headquarters after Thanksgiving.The Ronny will be used for instruction for children, but Harrison said it will also be open and free to the public when there isn’t a function scheduled. Since it will be lighted, that leaves plenty of open play time.Harrison’s 4 1/2- page timeline provides minute details about the origin of the golf park. Long story short, several cities rejected the idea of an urban golf park before the city of Frisco stepped forward and expanded the idea to include two golf courses and the PGA of America headquarters.It would be like going into a meeting with Walt Disney asking for a loan to build a Ferris wheel and a train ride for kids and departing with plans for Disney World.“If it weren’t for Mark Harrison, none of this stuff would be here today,” Glanton said after the tour. “Without his unbelievable desire to get this done, we wouldn’t be here today.”Fall a time for renewal for coursesCedar Crest Golf Course, which last week announced it will host the Southwest Airlines Showcase at Cedar Crest in November 2023, reopened Oct. 1 after being closed for three months. The greens were redone with TifEagle Bermuda grass.Tierra Verde Golf Club in Arlington has reopened with new Champion Dwarf Bermuda grass greens and renovated bunkers. The greens were expanded to the original size when it opened in 1998.Fossil Creek in Fort Worth has completed a renovation of all 56 bunkers using the Better Billy Bunker system. The practice facility has also been expanded.Lantana Golf Club has completed a multimillion dollar renovation of its clubhouse.Briefly …Ryan Shellberg of Prosper won the Boys 15-18 Division of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational at Sulphur Springs Country Club by one shot over San Antonio’s Matt Pawley. Chiara Brambilla of Southlake won the Girls Division at 2-under, while Ryan Lee of College Station won the Boys 14 and under division.Twitter: @MarkKazlowskiFind more golf coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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