LPGA event to drive millions into Naples area economy

CME Group Executive Chairman Terry Duffy, right, visits with Bonnie Dudley, a part-time resident of Naples, at TwinEagles golf course in North Naples on Thursday morning during the announcement that the LPGA Tour will be coming to Naples in 2012. The CME Group Titleholders will be played at TwinEagles on Nov. 15 - 18, 2012, and will host the world's best female golfers after a season-long qualifying process as they compete for a $1.5 million purse and a $500,000 first-place check. Tristan Spinski/Staff

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CME Group Executive Chairman Terry Duffy, right, visits with Bonnie Dudley, a part-time resident of Naples, at TwinEagles golf course in North Naples on Thursday morning during the announcement that the LPGA Tour will be coming to Naples in 2012. The CME Group Titleholders will be played at TwinEagles on Nov. 15 - 18, 2012, and will host the world's best female golfers after a season-long qualifying process as they compete for a $1.5 million purse and a $500,000 first-place check. Tristan Spinski/Staff

LPGA to return to Naples

Tournament will be played Nov. 15-18 in ...

Annika Sorenstam on LPGA Tour

LPGA Tour returns to Naples

Annika Sorenstam plays golf

Scene from Global Financial Leadership Conference.

Twin Eagles Golf Course

11725 Twineagles Blvd, Naples

— The buzz has begun.

The buzz has begun.

It will only grow from here.

Next year, the local economy will get a multimillion dollar boost from a season-ending LPGA golf tournament, which is being played in Orlando this year.

The tournament, known as CME Group Titleholders, will be played at TwinEagles in North Naples from Nov. 15-18 in 2012. The event will do more than just bring the world’s best female golfers to town. It promises to pump millions of dollars into the local economy and will give the Naples area international exposure, thanks in big part to its title sponsor, CME Group, a global company.

A high-profile tournament of this magnitude can have a local economic impact of $10 million, said Jeff Kleiber, a senior vice president for global events for Octagon, a Connecticut-based company that’s managing the event. It generates business for hotels, restaurants, shops and other companies, big and small.

“It’s seven days of golf, but it’s also weeks of building and then tearing down. It’s a process,” Kleiber said.

The tournament will bring other related meetings and events to the Naples area. LPGA sponsors will bring their customers in from around the world to attend the unique tournament. Other visitors might be in for a surprise, if they don’t plan ahead.

“It’s definitely not a great week to get a hotel or a restaurant reservation,” said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan. “But we’ll leave an economic mark on the city of Naples.”

From each LPGA Tour tournament next season, three top players will qualify to compete in the season-ending event, a format that hasn’t been used in professional golf before. It has created a new competition among the players, who don’t want to be left out of it.

In the CME tournament next year, players will compete for a $1.5 million purse and a $500,000 first-place check.

“There isn’t a player alive that doesn’t get excited about being in Naples the week before Thanksgiving,” Whan said. “They know the weather is good. They know the golf is good and they know the fans here are good. The golf fans, they understand the game down here.”

The Titleholders tournament will bring in TV crews and generate a frenzy of media attention, putting a spotlight on the Naples area for a week, he said.

The attention will be welcomed by Jack Wert, the executive director of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“It will probably give us a nice introduction to visitation in the winter season,” he said. “Golf is certainly a good draw for us.”

Anthony Solomon, executive vice president of The Ronto Group, the owner of the TwinEagles development and its golf club off Immokalee Road, said the event will “really put Naples on the map internationally.”

It could help spur home sales in TwinEagles, where there are 10 new model homes to see. Since acquiring the development about a year ago, The Ronto Group has made big investments in the community, including the redesign of its golf courses to make them more challenging.

“We want TwinEagles to be known as a place for serious golfers,” Solomon said. “We’re going to have two of the best golf courses in the area.”

Terry Duffy, CME Group’s Executive Chairman, said Naples is a natural fit for the tournament. He’s had a part-time home in the area for almost five years and CME annually holds its Global Financial Leadership Conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, beachfront resort off Vanderbilt Beach Road.

The announcement that the Titleholders will move to North Naples next year comes as CME, a trader of futures and options, is considering moving from Illinois because the tax rate is so high. The company operates the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade, as well as other exchanges. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has suggested that Naples is as good a headquarters as any for CME.

In his talks with the company the governor has been “cordial,” but no decisions have yet been made about a move, Duffy said.

“We’ve said many of times we are looking at multiple states’ proposals,” he said. “We’re hoping by year end we’ll have some resolution to this.”

Connect with Laura Layden at www.naplesnews.com/staff/laura_layden.

© 2011 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 12

boulderbrook writes:

Good News

haymaker writes:

The course looks great for the third time! Done a great job!

Hopefully, they will clean up the rest of the property and be a GOOD NEIGHBOR!

FORE!

HAP writes:

Excellent!

beetlejuice writes:

3 days of golf
millions of dollars
okie dokey
keep insurance salesmen away from golf carts
nuff said

Becksperado writes:

Yay!

beetlejuice writes:

Golf clubs suffer in recession as membership dwindles
By Matt Dunham, AP
Recession-battered golf courses aren't just coping with lighter crowds. Some are edging perilously close to bankruptcy.
GOLF INDUSTRY AT A GLANCE
percentage change in golf rounds played at public and private golf courses by state*:
California -5.3%
Colorado -15.2%
Connecticut 6.9%
Florida -9.5%
Georgia -7.9%
By Jon Swartz, USA TODAY
For $6,000 a year, Tom Bennett enjoyed the privileges of being a member of an exclusive, private golf course in northeast New Jersey. He golfed pristine grounds and reveled in socializing with other duffers.
But last year, Bennett ended his six-year membership at the private Stanton Ridge Golf and Country Club in Whitehouse Station, N.J.
"Cost was part of it, but service had deep rough. Consider:
•The number of golfers fell about 3% nationally in 2008 from 2007, while the number of "core golfers" — those who play eight or more rounds a year — fell 4.5%, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF).
•Private-club memberships stand at 2.1 million — 900,000 below the peak of 3 million in the early 1990s. (There are 27.1 million golfers in the U.S. now, down from 30 million in 2005, the NGF says.)
•Golf rounds played nationally to date this year are down 3%, according to Golf Datatech.
Sales at private golf courses and country clubs — which include membership fees, equipment, merchandise and food, for example — were down 3% last year, and things are expected to be worse this year, says Sageworks, a company that tracks private businesses' sales.
," he says.
Last year, 140 of the nation's roughly 16,000 golf courses closed, while 50 new courses opened, the NGF says.
"The U.S. is clearly in a correctional phase," says Greg Cory, a longtime golf consultant who worked on 75 to 100 projects a year during the go-go days of the 1990s. He has not handled a domestic job the past three years.
"The big challenge is (for) courses driven by real estate, which represented about 65% of new construction in the peak development years," Cory says. "When the homeowners/members cease to support the course because of demographic shifts and increasing costs, how do you capitalize on the value of the land?"
Many teens and twentysomethings also prefer doodling on an iPhone, iPad, Wii or Facebook over playing golf six to seven hours. "In this era of instant gratification, that's too long," Wizeman says. "Kids play video games indoors and can excel. Golf is outside and hard."

NaplesFly writes:

Thanks Obama..!!

woodstocker writes:

I wish them well. Great for the area and golf tournaments give back to local charities.

PeopleSpeak writes:

"Terry Duffy, CME Group’s Executive Chairman, said Naples is a natural fit for the tournament. He’s had a part-time home in the area..."

Funny... not really "in the area" of TwinEagles unless you consider all of the largest county of Florida as one area.

He keeps a condo on Gulfshore Blvd. Not likely going to create a commute for himself from Naples all the way out to some development east of 75 or 951 out in Ave or the Picayune Strand.

Fialaure: not in your district. The rest of you govt stooges, think again too.

Throat_Yogurt writes:

TAKE THE "L" OFF THE FRONT AND IT MIGHT...

staghorn writes:

this will create a lot of jobs in collier county. for about 15 minutes.

go tea party

Max_Headroom writes:

This is just MORE proof that this county needs to go after the TOURISTS dollar more than the snowbirds.

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