Davidson Development Inc.

Author:Mark Lane

Page 399

101 E. Town Place, Ste. 200

Saint Augustine, Florida 32092


Telephone: (904) 940-5050

Fax: (904) 940-5057

Web site: www.wgv.com


Davidson Development Inc. was the primary engine behind the project that came to be known as World Golf Village, an upscale development located between Jacksonville and Saint Augustine, Florida, combining residential, commercial, and recreational zones. The Village's centerpieces were the World Golf Hall of Fame and a course designed by legendary PGA (Professional Golfers' Association) champions Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, called King & Bear in honor of the two players' respective nicknames. Initial attempts at marketing the area to home buyers took golf purists as their target market, but after several years of lackluster sales in its Estates of World Golf Village subdivision, Davidson turned to Atlanta-based agency Cole Henderson Drake (CHD) for a marketing campaign that would remake the development's image.

The Estates of World Golf Village "Repositioning Campaign" made use of a $700,000 annual budget during its 2003–04 run. CHD sought to change consumer perception of World Golf Village by drawing attention to the opportunities for gracious living present in the development rather than focusing solely on the golfing amenities, and it calibrated its message not for male golfers but for baby-boomer women, who were believed to play a larger role than their husbands in making home-buying decisions. The campaign primarily consisted of a series of two-page print spreads, with black-and-white photos and copy emphasizing the elegance and inspirational nature of the Estates lifestyle.

The campaign coincided with a 170 percent sales growth of Estates properties, and Davidson's revenues far outpaced precampaign goals. A tracking study indicated, furthermore, that CHD had successfully recast World Golf Village's image. In 2005 the "Repositioning Campaign" won a Silver EFFIE Award in the Real Estate category.


The PGA Tour's World Golf Hall of Fame in Pinehurst, North Carolina, was opened in 1974, but in the 1980s the PGA began searching for a site on which to build a similar facility that would honor golfers not eligible for the World Golf Hall of Fame. In the early 1990s a location between Jacksonville and Saint Augustine, Florida, was donated to the cause, and a number of worldwide golf clubs and associations pledged their support. The PGA eventually decided to close its Pinehurst facility and combine operations with the Florida facility under the name World Golf Hall of Fame. Construction began in 1996, and the Hall opened in 1998, boasting the support of 26 golf organizations from around the world.

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Jack Nicklaus (L) and Arnold Palmer, April 6, 2001. © Reuters/Corbis.

World Golf Village was the name given to the multifaceted development surrounding the Hall of Fame. Conceived as a golfers' resort destination as well as an upscale residential area, the development featured two golf courses, the more notable of which was called King & Bear, named after its designers, the golf greats Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. The development mixed retail, commercial, residential, and resort amenities, but for a variety of reasons initial sales of the mostly high-end real estate did not meet expectations. The location itself (in a previously little-developed area) was...

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