Last spring the Ginn Clubs and Resorts hosted it’s first golf event—the Ginn Open, an LPGA tournament that offered this year’s third largest purse. Ginns spent $9 million on the tournament, and it was by all accounts a huge success. The tournament also gained a huge amount of publicity and goodwill by offering a sponsors exemption to junior golfer Dakoda Dowd, whose dying mother’s wish was to see her daughter play in an LPGA event.
The company also didn’t hurt itself when it signed Annika Sorenstam as a spokesperson.
But it seems that the LPGA wasn’t big enough for Ginns’ ambitions.
Since signing on with their first golf event, Ginns has added two Champions Tour events – the Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach, Florida and the ACE Group Classic to be played at Ginn’s Quail West Community in Naples, Florida. They also added a second LPGA tournament—the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika Sorenstam which is scheduled for late May in Mount Pleasant, S.C.
The privately owned Ginn Company began as a construction company. Owner Bobby Ginn branched out into
land acquisition, real estate development and management, architectural design and engineering, resort development and operation and golf course construction and management. The company is one of the largest privately-held real estate development and management firms in the Southeast, with nearly 40,000 acres of land currently under development in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Vermont, Colorado, the Bahama and St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands). [from the company’s website]
The golf tournaments are organized by Ginn Sports Entertainment, LLC, and are of course designed to promote the company’s golf properties and courses, which boast big name designers such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo and Tom Kite.
In a recent interview, Ginn said “We are continuing to be aggressive to add professional golf to as many of the resorts as we can get dates on. It’s a huge part of our overall plan.”
Does that mean there’s a Ginn’s PGA Tour tournament in the future? I’d bet on it. They may perhaps start with one of those orphaned—or soon to be orphaned —fall events and then work their way into the “regular” schedule.
In any case, Ginn’s is a company to watch.