Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Major Florida Golf Resort Files Chapter 11

More bad news on the golf travel front. On Monday, Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. If you somehow don’t know the property, the hotel is the site where the media congregated a mile or so away from where Tiger Woods made his public apology.

Apparently while Woods was singing the blues, the resort was putting the finishing touches on its bankruptcy plan. Court documents pretty much blame weak corporate and group bookings for the miserable financial shape the resort finds itself in.

Golfers visiting the property won’t notice much if any difference, however. “This action is in response to the current global economic environment and the fact that an agreement on a restructure with the lenders could not be reached,” said Jeff Mayers, general manager of the resort in an e-mailed statement to the media. “This process will protect the resort and allow us to continue to operate business as usual. We are firmly committed to maintaining our world-class operation and forsee no changes in the day-to-day operations at Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa.”

Situated adjacent to the PGA Tour headquarters, the 348-room resort with 83 golf villas has three restaurants, 56,000 square feet of meeting space, a 25,000 square foot spa and other amenities. For golfers, perhaps the resort’s biggest perk is that it has the exclusive right to 85 percent of all starting times each day at the TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course and Valley Course for resort guests for the next 78 years.

The wretched economy has been terrible for golf resorts.  Preceding Marriott Sawgrass to Chapter 11 are well-known resorts like St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in California, Amelia Island Resort in Florida, Daufuskie Island Resort in South Carolina and Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Texas.

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