State

What Do a CEO, an Airport and Golf Have In Common?

For Florida’s First Coast, golf and aviation are two symbiotic industries here—both are welcoming, and both are constantly connecting people. Recently we connected with Steve Grossman, Chief Executive Officer of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA), to talk about a golfer’s airport in a golfer’s destination.

“Competition and the obsession of flight…a little bit of what’s in all of our DNA.” – Steve Grossman
“Competition and the obsession of flight…a little bit of what’s in all of our DNA.” – Steve Grossman

A Golfer’s Airport

Ranked first in the nation—among over 300 airports worldwide—for the Airport Service Quality Awards in 2016-2017, the Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) has become the benchmark for customer service in the aviation industry.

 

Aside from being one of the most hospitable airports in the country, JAX is one of the most attractive airports for golfers flying in.
Here’s why:

No schlepping of golf clubs
Golfers don’t have to shuttle equipment or clubs. Ground transportation services are adjacent to baggage claim, making it convenient for golfers to land, go and golf. JAX is within close proximity to numerous golf courses.

(Jokingly) “My golf bag is full of all the things that don’t always work for me...but currently I have a Callaway Driver, 3-Wood, TaylorMade Hybrids and Irons and my Odyssey Putter in my bag.”

An airport with a golf mentality
Sam Snead’s Tavern, the PGA TOUR Grill (coming in Spring 2017) and the PGA TOUR Shop—where the Players have periodic book and autograph signings—pays homage to Floridians’ love of the game.

Grab and go…then golf
For travelers, there isn’t much of a desire for an over-abundance of time at the airport. Some hub airports provide golf simulators and other time killers to fill a three-hour layover; JAX is accessible with over 82 daily inbound flights, and is conveniently located near numerous golf courses. No need for fancy time fillers here….the real golf is waiting.

  
A Golfer’s Destination

“During Florida’s shoulder and off seasons, the strengths of our area are: 1. Golf  2. Eco-Tourism. During these seasons, if travelers aren’t coming on business, they are coming for golf or eco-tourism.”

Jacksonville has the most diverse economy in the state of Florida and Northeast Florida gives travelling golfers accessibility to several courses. Recently Florida’s First Coast of Golf was awarded the 2017 North American Golf Destination of the Year by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).

 

Florida’s First Coast is one of the most attractive destinations for golfers.
Here’s why:

THE PLAYERS
North Florida is home to THE PLAYERS Championship, one of the PGA Tour’s most coveted titles. The newly renovated Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass—Ponte Vedra’s most ambitious renovation project—this year, is now opened.

“For most of my life, “Arnie” was always my favorite golfer. I actually got to meet and speak with him at the First Tee Open in Pebble Beach in Monterey. Present day, I really enjoy watching Bubba Watson.”

Affordability
You can easily afford to be a member of a nice course compared to the expensive offerings on the West Coast and other high-end locations. Golfers can pick their price point and play where they want.

Access of courses
For the most part, traversing locally from course to course typically takes around half an hour or less. Northeast Florida is home to numerous courses. You can take your pick from over 75 miles of coastal golf courses or play the same courses played by THE PLAYERS Championship, PGA and Champions Tour.

Diversity of courses
Northeast Florida provides golfers with access to pristine public and private courses—all are well maintained and offer a diversity of course options. The public courses here are pristine, offering beautiful cart rides through native live oak forests, dripping with spanish moss and large palm ground cover, and native florida wetlands.

“I play most of my golf at Deerwood Country Club but I also enjoy Pablo Creek Club, Palencia Club, Timuquana Country Club and several other public access courses. I like to play early… and often.  If I get the chance, I try to play every Saturday and get in about 100 rounds a year.”

 

Both golf and aviation connect people, but Northeast Florida golf and aviation connect people to true, one-of-a-kind experiences.

We’d like to thank Steve Grossman for sitting down with us to talk golf and flight! For traveler information, upcoming developments and more about the award-winning Jacksonville International Airport, visit here.

For more golf articles, visit here.