EVOLVE Business and Professional Magazine May 2019 - Page 30

THE G LO B A L FOOT P R I N T O F TH E LADIES PROFESSIONAL GOLF ASSOCIATION, A ND ITS B ROAD I M PAC T LO C A L LY O N VO LU SI A COU N T Y by Mark Lamport-Stokes U ntil the early 1990s, Daytona Beach was primarily known around the world for its massive motor racing footprint - thanks to the presence of Daytona International Speedway and NASCAR’s headquarters - and its white sandy beaches that provided a perfect setting for college students to gather for spring break. That all changed, however, when the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) relocated from Sugar Land, Texas, in 1989 and began the move to Daytona Beach as part of a premier residential community and home of two signature golf courses created by Consolidated-Tomoka Land Company in cooperation with the City of Daytona Beach, the State of Florida and the LPGA. After spending several years in temporary headquarters located west of Interstate 95, the LPGA finally settled into its new international home base at 100 International Golf Drive in April 1996. The arrival in Daytona Beach of one of the longest-running women’s professional sports associations in the world provided the local economy with a significant boost (the LPGA today has 130 full- time employees) while it also raised the global profile of the area considerably. Yes, Daytona Beach is still world-renowned as a mecca for motorsports and beach lovers but the presence of the LPGA here for close to three decades has made the area internationally famous for its influential links to the game of golf. Founded in 1950 by 13 remarkable women, the LPGA celebrates a diverse and storied membership with more than 2,300 members representing more than 30 countries. At the elite level, LPGA Tour professionals compete across the globe and in 2019 the Tour will visit 15 states in the U.S. and a total of 12 countries. Additionally, the LPGA Tour and the Symetra Tour (the official development and qualifying tour of the LPGA) will this year feature players from more than 50 nations vying to be the very best that they can be. At the summit of the game, LPGA Tour players have come from all sorts of backgrounds. Among those who have ascended to the top of the Rolex Women’s Golf rankings over the past 13 years are Annika Sorenstam (Sweden), Lorena Ochoa (Mexico), Jiyai Shin (Republic of Korea), Ai Miyazato (Japan), Cristie Kerr (United LGPA Tour Photos courtesy of the LPGA | 30 | EVOLVE BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE