3 suggestions for 2022 PGA Championship host golf courses

Golf course news and notes: January, 2021.

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The PGA of America announced on Sunday that it no longer plans to host the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.

The announcement came in the wake of an attempted insurrection on January 6 in Washington, D.C. by armed extremist supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump, which resulted in the deaths of six people, including two Capitol police officers.

"It has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand and would put at risk the PGA of America’s ability to deliver our many programs and sustain the longevity of our mission," said PGA president Jim Richerson in the organization's official video statement. "Our board has thus made the decision to exercise our right to terminate the contract to hold the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster.”

A tweet from GOLF Magazine's Alan Shipnuck, who broke the news Sunday evening, suggested that Southern Hills Golf Club in Tulsa, Okla., and Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J., were being considered as replacement hosts, as well as Shoal Creek Golf Club in Birmingham, Ala.

This is not the first time one of golf's governing bodies has distanced itself from Trump. Following racist comments about Mexican immigrants that kicked off his 2016 presidential campaign, the PGA Tour moved a World Golf Championship event away from Doral, bought by Trump in 2013, to Mexico City.

Across the Atlantic, the Royal & Ancient, which administers The Open Championship, reportedly has the position that it will not bring its flagship event back to Turnberry as long as Trump remains its owner, even in the wake of a renovation effort that raised the resort's famed Ailsa Course above several in the Open rota in the esteem of many golfers and writers.

Thankfully, there are dozens of worthy golf courses that could step in and host what may well be the first PGA Championship with a full complement of fans after the COVID-19 pandemic finally subsides. Aside from those mentioned by Shipnuck, here are three suggestions I have for alternate 2022 PGA Championship hosts.

TPC Harding Park

Yes, I know Harding Park hosted the PGA just this year, and that the tournament was a thriller, with Collin Morikawa surging ahead of Dustin Johnson with a 70th-hole eagle. But the week was something of a letdown for a city with strong golf DNA, whose citizens had been looking forward to seeing the best golfers in the world play on their beloved municipal home turf. The golf world deserves to hear some roars echo through Harding Park's massive cypress trees.

Royal Melbourne Golf Club

Lacking a clear and distinct identity from the other majors ever since it transitioned away from match play in 1958, the PGA would make a strong statement about golf's appeal as a global game by hosting its flagship event outside of the United States on occasion. Though it's somewhat short by modern standards, Royal Melbourne was a gracious and fascinating host of the 2019 Presidents Cup, and any excuse to see it again on the world stage is a good one. Timing might be too tight to make the logistics work (not to mention the uncertainty of post-COVID international travel ramp-up), but a golfer can dream.

PGA Frisco

The first course at the PGA of America's new Texas HQ is reportedly ready to go. It was shaped and grassed last year, but is taking all of 2021 and some of 2022 to mature. It just so happens that the planned opening of the courses is right around '22 PGA Championship time. It's kismet. Frisco's first turn hosting the PGA is currently penciled in for 2027 on the Gil Hanse-designed East Course, but why not seize the opportunity to make a big splash next year? There's a little risk involved in letting pros be the first to play, but PGA CEO Seth Waugh's investment-banking background suggests he's good at turning risk into reward.

Other golf course news and notes

STATE SUPREME COURT TO HEAR GOLF COURSE CASE - The golf course at Moundbuilders Country Club, which dates to 1933, is routed over and around several systems of ceremonial earthworks built by local indigenous peoples some 2,000 years ago. They have been called "the pre-eminent examples, and the largest concentration in the world, of prehistoric monumental landscape architecture" by World Heritage Ohio. A state nonprofit group is suing to buy the club's lease - which has 57 years remaining - through eminent domain in a case that has been escalated to the state's highest judicial body. [LINK: InsideHook]

NEW IN NEW ZEALAND - It's not as famous as the North Island locations of Kauri Cluffs, Cape Kidnappers or Tara Iti, but the South Island town of Queenstown, overlooking spectacular Lake Wakatipu, is a solid inland golf destination in New Zealand. Home to acclaimed courses Jack's Point, The Hills Golf Club and the notably quirky Arrowtown Golf Club, the area will soon welcome a new upscale development, Gibbston Valley. New Zealand's spectacular interior scenery may be enough to entice international golfers away from the coast. [LINK: stuff.co.nz]

HISTORIC COURSE FOR SALE - No, it's not a Donald Ross design, as its overseers have long claimed. Lake Wales (Fla.) Country Club was actually laid out by Seth Raynor, a decade after he designed adjacent Mountain Lake, one of Florida's finest golf courses. LWCC has fallen on hard times, and is up for auction in February. It has nice bones but would require a few million bucks to restore that Raynor shine. If you've ever wanted the thrill of buying a golf course online, now's your chance. [LINK: Bullseye Auctions]

BANDON-ADJACENT - Bandon Crossings is the sneaky-strong off-resort course beloved of Bandon Dunes caddies and locals alike, designed by native Oregonian Dan Hixson. It's welcoming a new head pro this year, who seeks to take the course to a new level of notoriety. [LINK: Bandon Western World]

GOLF-ADJACENT - Thousands of rotting fish, evidently poisoned by a chlorine leak into their pond on the property of a long-gone Florida golf course, produced a stench that burned locals' throats and even caused an asthma attack. [LINK: ClickOrlando.com]

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
9 Comments
Commented on

I completely agree that this is the right move for the PGA. They showed leadership in being one of the first organizations to make Trump accountable for his seditious acts. I would like to see Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player show the same level of courage and return the Presidential Medals of Freedom they accepted the day after this unforgivable act.

Commented on

Oh and BTW... Looks like it is time for that new Professional Golf League. Hmmmmmm wonder who has the finances to start that?

Commented on

Hack... you are now a hack, Sell out and more. Everything you just said is you just trying to keep your job because NBC is a liberal POS hack. You and the pga should stay out of politics. You are dangerous. Free speech? Screw the pga, screw the golf channel, screw NBC. hahahahaha... Hack you just said women and people of color... who is sitting at your desk. IDIOT!!! You two must be tokens of nbc huh?

Commented on

Total bull shit.

Commented on

The event would've been absolutely huge, and a boon to the PGA ratings but alas they folded to the sentiments of the moment. Will the PGA even acknowledge the lost opportunity for the employees at the club who rely on these big events to showcase their skills? The superintendent, greenskeepers, grounds crew, etc?

Commented on

Well I don’t watch football, basketball or any sports that they don’t stand for the flag. It looks like I’ll have to give up golf also if there going to bash Trump

Commented on

Yes, "there" going to . . .

Commented on

At some point I believe professional sports will realize that its patrons pay to watch (and play) their sports to get away from all the political nonsense that has embraced this fine country. Alas, I never realized what a feckless political organization the PGA was until their recent decision to move the tourney away from a Trump Golf Course. So sorry to see the PGA go the way of other now "woke" professional sports that honestly keep biting the hands of those that feed them.

Commented on

Right on and congratulations to the PGA for no longer having the PGA Championship event at the former Presidents GC. Hope Jack Nicklaus takes note and comes around to his senses too!!!

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3 suggestions for 2022 PGA Championship host golf courses