Golden Ocala Prepares for Coates Golf Championship
With slightly more than a week before the start of the Coates Golf Championship, dozens of the top names in women’s golf and local leaders gathered at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club to salute a two-year-old milestone in Ocala.
R+L Carriers is presenting the second LPGA championship Feb. 3-6. The Jan. 20 media event was part of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber of Economic Partnership’s monthly meeting.
The four-day tournament will be broadcast to about 165 countries on the Golf Channel, said Ricki Lasky, the LPGA’s senior vice president of tournament business affairs.
Na Yeon Choi, a top LPGA player who won the U.S. Women’s Open in 2012 in her first major championship, said she’s looking forward to playing in the championship to defend her win last year in the inaugural tournament at Golden Ocala.
The 28-year-old South Korean who lives in Orlando said the Golden Ocala course is similar to what she’s used to playing and complimented organizers for their friendly attitudes. She has more than $10 million in career earnings.
Mollie Coates with Coates Golf said Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy stores in Florida will begin carrying Coates equipment in February. She applauded last year’s tournament sponsors; all of them are returning for this year’s championship. Organizers said more than 80,000 people attended last year’s tournament, which generated more than $18 million for the local economy. “We never doubted Ocala. We’re looking forward to seeing Ocala back on national TV again,” Coates said.
This LPGA season begins in the Bahamas this weekend before coming to Ocala. Choi won last year’s Coates Championship at Golden Ocala with a 16-under-par 272, which was a stroke better than Jessica Korda, Lydia Ko and Ha Na Jang, runner-ups.
Organizers are adding a craft beer garden to this year’s tournament. About a dozen food trucks will be set up around the 18th green.
“We’re really excited about bringing some more elements to the tournament,” Coates said. “The first run was all about golf. If you didn’t follow the LPGA or love golf, there wasn’t as much of a reason to come out, although the crowds did come out — we had an incredible gallery.”
Ticket packages for the championship are available online. Single-day grounds tickets are $15; weekly grounds tickets are $45. Admission for children 12 and under with adults with tickets is free.
Tickets for the Craft Beer Garden, which include entry into the tournament, are also available. Single-day tickets cover Feb. 3- 6 and cost $25. Weekly tickets cover Feb. 1-6 and cost $65.
Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club offers golfers the opportunity to play on an 18-hole championship course designed by Ron Garl. Keep up with all the latest news from Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club by following us on Facebook and Twitter.