North Florida Section of the PGA of America selects Reunion, a Salamander Golf & Spa Resort, in Orlando as its new headquarters
PGA Officials make joint announcement with Sheila C. Johnson, CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts; and Annika Sorenstam, LPGA Legend and World Golf Hall of Fame Member. The three golf industry leaders share the common goal of increasing player development, game growth, community involvement and charitable interests.
Orlando, Fla. – In Florida, there are more miles of fairways than beaches. So, it should come as no surprise that one of golf’s most influential organizations has been seeking a more central location within the Sunshine State for its headquarters.
At a press conference held today, North Florida PGA Executive Director and CEO Rich Smith announced the culmination of an 18-month search with the selection of Reunion, a Salamander Golf & Spa Resort, as the new home site of the NFPGA. Smith was joined at the event by Salamander Hotels & Resorts Founder and CEO Sheila Johnson, and World Golf Hall of Fame Member Annika Sorenstam.
The partnership with Reunion, which is located just outside Orlando and is managed by Salamander Hotels & Resorts, creates a series of milestones within the PGA Sectional structure, including:
- It is the first time any of the PGA’s 41 sections has chosen a resort as its home base
- Reunion is now the largest home site of any PGA section at 2,300 acres and with 54 holes of golf
- NFPGA members enjoy privileges at the only resort in the world with golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. Reunion is also home to the ANNIKA Academy, an innovative instructional facility designed by Annika Sorenstam, and the Frank Thomas Putting PAD.
“Since we began the search for a new home, we have been inspired by the motto: ‘for the good of the game, together,’” says Smith. “Collectively, we have all pledged to chart a course to serve the game of golf and its communities. Reunion Resort is the perfect fit.”
The fourth largest PGA section of 41 nationwide, the NFPGA has been headquartered in Daytona Beach since 1979. It is geographically comprised of the 42 counties from Tallahassee to Jacksonville in the north, and North Port to Melbourne in the south. This new agreement allows the NFPGA to better serve its communities, 650 facilities and 1,500 professionals from a more central location, as well as work in conjunction with Salamander and the ANNIKA Academy regarding their common and aligned missions, which is to grow the game of golf through their respective programs and foundations.
“Salamander has a commitment to grow the game of golf and respects its traditions,” says Johnson. “We are very excited that Reunion was selected by the North Florida PGA as its new home. This decision enriches the message we are consistently delivering at all our Salamander golf resorts, which also includes Innisbrook in Tampa Bay and Hammock Beach in Palm Coast.
Johnson, who serves on the board of the ANNIKA Foundation, was recently appointed to the executive committee of the United States Golf Association and is dedicated to opening up new avenues of growth within the game of golf, including developing specific nine-hole package play at her Salamander resorts and speeding up pace of play.
“Since stepping away from competitive golf in 2008, I’ve turned my attention to sharing my passion for the game through a variety of platforms and programs, including my Academy and Foundation,” says Sorenstam, the 10-time LPGA major winner who has just been elected as a Member of the PGA. “NFPGA headquarters will be a wonderful addition to Reunion and help further facilitate our common interest in making golf welcoming for all.”
The golf industry is one of Florida’s most robust. It directly impacts the State’s economy to the tune of $7.5 billion, provides $13.8 billion in indirect impact, contributes $4.7 billion in wages and employs 167,000 Floridians. Comparatively speaking, the amusement and theme park business creates an economic impact in Florida of $4 billion. Golf in Florida also raises $312 million annually in charitable contributions, which stays within the Sunshine State.
Specific community and growth of the game initiatives from the NFPGA’s agreement with Reunion will be announced over the next few months, including junior, military, diversity, and charitable efforts. Each organization already has its own programming in these areas, and will be working together to create larger impacts. The North Florida PGA Foundation, which exists to support this programming, will take the lead on development of these cooperative programs, including “Putting on Smiles” – a children’s hospital initiative, and “Adaptive Golf” for wounded veterans.
ABOUT THE NORTH FLORIDA PGA
The North Florida PGA (NFPGA) is a group of approximately 1,500 PGA Members and Apprentices, serving the needs of the golfers of North Florida. It is a not-for-profit service organization founded in 1979 and one of the 41 Sections that make up the PGA of America. Founded in 1916, the PGA of America has grown into the world’s largest working sports organization with more than 27,000 Members and Apprentices. The North Florida Section is the fourth largest in the PGA, geographically comprised of the 42 counties from Tallahassee to Jacksonville in the north, and North Port to Melbourne in the south. The mission of the North Florida Section PGA is to promote the enjoyment and involvement in the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals and the golf industry. The North Florida Section PGA accomplishes this mission by enhancing the skills of its professionals and the opportunities for amateurs, employers, manufacturers, employees, and the general public. In so doing, the North Florida Section PGA elevates the standards of the professional golfer’s vocation, enhances the economic well-being of the individual member, stimulates interest in the game of golf, and promotes the overall vitality of the game. For more information about the North Florida PGA visit www.nfpga.com or call 386-256-1221.
ABOUT REUNION RESORT, A SALAMANDER GOLF & SPA RESORT
Managed by Salamander Hotels & Resorts, the AAA Four Diamond-rated Reunion Resort is located in Orlando, Florida. The central point of Salamander’s innovative collection of Florida golf resorts – which also features Innisbrook Resort in Tampa Bay and Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast – Reunion Resort is the only location in the world with golf courses designed by the golf greats Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson and also features the exclusive ANNIKA Academy by Annika Sörenstam. Reunion Resort features 330 resort accommodations including luxury condominiums, private villas and vacation homes surrounded by 2,300 acres of lush landscape and nature preserve, elegantly appointed meeting space, a full-service boutique spa, multiple pools, slides, water playgrounds and a 1,000-foot lazy river. For additional information call 407-662-1000 or visit www.reunionresort.com.
ABOUT SALAMANDER HOTELS & RESORTS
Salamander Hotels & Resorts is a privately owned and operated hotel company based in Middleburg, VA, just outside Washington, D.C. Founded by entrepreneur Sheila C. Johnson in 2005, the company has a portfolio that features a collection of three stellar golf resorts including the recently renovated Innisbrook Resort near Tampa, Reunion Resort in Orlando and the oceanfront Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast; and the eagerly anticipated Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, a 340-acre equestrian-inspired, luxury resort opening in August 2013 and located near Washington, D.C. For additional information, call (540) 687-3710 or visit www.salamanderhotels.com.
ABOUT ANNIKA ACADEMY
The ANNIKA Academy (www.theannikaacademy.com) is a state-of-the-art, “boutique” golf school at Reunion Resort, near Orlando, Fla. It opened in 2007 as a way to share Annika’s passion for golf, fitness and nutrition, along with her personal team of coaches. Their simple techniques allow players of any age, gender or skill level to reach their potential by transferring more energy and power from the gym to the course. The Academy is a Certified Callaway Performance Center with two spacious hitting booths that offer custom club fitting and video swing analysis. Complete with a modern fitness facility, conference room, and full-service locker rooms, the Academy provides individualized golf instruction, personalized fitness and nutrition programs, and custom corporate packages. Guests can play with Annika or learn the proven winning approach she established with her world renowned team of instructors.