A Service of UA Little Rock
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New PGA Tour event coming to Little Rock’s Pleasant Valley Country Club

Memo Ibarra makes a chip shot at River Bend Resort & Golf Club in Brownsville, Texas. The 18-hole golf course would have 15 of them on the south side of Trump's proposed border wall.
Verónica G. Cárdenas for NPR
Memo Ibarra makes a chip shot at River Bend Resort & Golf Club in Brownsville, Texas.

Simmons Bank leaders, PGA officials and other dignitaries announced Thursday (Aug. 31) that a new professional golf tournament will be played at Little Rock’s Pleasant Valley Country Club starting in October 2024.

A five-year agreement establishing the event – the Simmons Bank Championship – was announced at the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, with Simmons First National Corporation Executive Chairman George Makris, PGA TOUR Champions President Miller Brady and Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders in attendance.

The Simmons Bank Championship will serve as the second round of PGA TOUR Champions’ annual Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, with the top 54 players in the Charles Schwab Cup standings competing to earn their spot among the top 36 and gain entry into the final event of the season.

The inaugural Simmons Bank Championship will be held from October 21-27, 2024.

“We are ecstatic to announce the addition of the Simmons Bank Championship to the PGA TOUR Champions schedule,” Brady said. “Simmons Bank has been a tremendous title sponsor on the Korn Ferry Tour and we are thrilled to have them join PGA TOUR Champions to sponsor one of our playoff events. Bringing a tournament to their home in Little Rock shows Simmons Bank’s commitment to supporting their local community using the platform of professional golf to highlight the state of Arkansas and all that it has to offer.”

Pine Bluff-based Simmons Bank was founded in 1903 and has offices and branches in six states, including a sizable presence in the capital city of Little Rock. Since 2020, Simmons Bank has served as the title sponsor of the Korn Ferry Tour’s Nashville event.

“Since our inception 120 years ago, Simmons Bank has had a long-standing commitment to being a strong community partner and making life better in the communities we serve,” Makris said. “In addition to bringing hall-of-fame caliber golf to Little Rock featuring some of the greatest ambassadors of the game, the Simmons Bank Championship will serve as a catalyst for supporting local nonprofits while also providing an economic benefit to businesses throughout the area.”

The Simmons Bank Championship will be the first-ever PGA TOUR Champions event held in Arkansas, and the first PGA TOUR-sanctioned tournament held in the state since the Korn Ferry Tour’s Fort Smith Classic, which was last contested in 2010.

A press release from Simmons noted that in markets where tournaments are held, there can be a $15 million local economic impact. The financial institution also said net proceeds from the Simmons Bank Championship will benefit several qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in Arkansas.

“The best job I have as Governor is to be the chief salesperson for Arkansas. This Tour is just one more thing to give our state an advantage,” said Governor Sanders. “We want to grow our outdoor economy and events like this that have a $15 million impact are exactly the type of thing that we’re looking to bring and highlight here.”

The Simmons Bank Championship will be managed and operated by Pro Links Sports, a nationally recognized sports marketing and event management firm that assists in running several PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions tournaments.

Executive Director Ken Kennerly and Tournament Director Mike Harrison will oversee the event, working closely with Simmons Bank, Pleasant Valley Country Club, and the PGA TOUR Champions.

Pleasant Valley Country Club was designed in the late 1960s by world-renowned architect Joe Finger. He brought on future World Golf Hall of Fame members Jimmy Demaret and Byron Nelson to serve as consultants.

Demaret won 31 times on the PGA TOUR, including three victories at The Masters, while Nelson holds 52 victories, including five major titles.

A 27-hole golf course, Pleasant Valley features oak and pine tree lined fairways, eight ponds on the property and primary turfgrass of 419 bermudagrass. In 2009, all the putting surfaces were changed to ultra-dwarf bermudagrass.

In addition to the course, the Country Club features a 40,000 square-foot hitting area, as well as 10,000 and 4,500 square-foot practice putting greens.

“We are truly excited to enter a multi-year partnership with the Simmons Bank Championship and the PGA TOUR Champions,” said Pleasant Valley Country Club Board of Governors President Jason Garner. “The opportunity to bring the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs and top PGA TOUR Champions golfers to Little Rock puts our historic course on a national stage. More importantly, Pleasant Valley Country Club is able to support the tournament’s charitable goals and create lasting community impact. On behalf of Pleasant Valley Country Club, we would like to welcome the Simmons Bank Championship to Arkansas.”

This story comes from the staff of Talk Business & Politics, a content partner with KUAR News. You can hear the weekly program on Mondays at 6:06 p.m.