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The Old Collier Golf Club in Naples has changed hands after 20 years

By: Laura Layden, Naples Daily News

David Hoffmann loves his exclusive by-invitation-only golf club in Naples.

So much so, that he bought it.

On Friday, Hoffmann announced that he’s acquired the Old Collier Golf Club, including its18-hole championship golf course.

The private club and its golf course sit on 400 acres along the Cocohatchee River, west of U.S. 41 in North Naples.

Hoffmann purchased the club and all of it real estate through the Hoffmann Family of Cos., which has snatched up a dizzying number of local enterprises in recent years, including the Hertz Arena, the Florida Everblades hockey team, Naples Princess Cruises and Naples Transportation & Tours.

Hoffmann didn’t disclose the purchase price.

“I’ve been a member at Old Collier for five years,” he said. “I love the membership, the employees, the beautiful grounds.” 

This won’t be the Hoffmann family’s first foray into the golf business.

“We have other golf courses in other parts of the country. We are building one right now. So it’s a business we are in and we understand,” Hoffmann said.

The local golf club, he said, also fits in nicely with the family’s hospitality portfolio, especially in Southwest Florida.

The family took ownership of the Old Collier club at about noon Friday, when the sale officially closed. Shortly after, Hoffmann said he met with all of the employees, who are enthusiastic about the new ownership.

The course recently earned the distinction as the world’s first Audubon International Certified Gold Signature Sanctuary. Roughly half the property has been preserved in its natural state.

“It’s like a nature preserve out there,” Hoffmann said. “We are really thrilled to own it.” 

Old Collier Golf Club, submitted

Designed by famed architect Tom Fazio, the course opened in 2001. Now 20 years old, the course could use some upgrades to its greens and bunkers, which Hoffmann expects to undertake next summer.

He said he wants to elevate the course, with plans to make it more lush and “a tad bit more challenging.”

There are no plans to close the club while improvements are made.

Old Collier Golf Club, submitted

“We are open for business and will be,” Hoffmann said.

Asked if the equity club operates at a profit or loss, Hoffmann said: “I would say this golf course does just fine. We’re thrilled with this investment.” 

He said Collier Enterprises first offered to sell the club to its members. When members declined, Hoffmann said he jumped at the opportunity to add it to his family’s long-term investments.

“I have a lot of friends that belong there,” he said of the club. “So that was really a big deciding factor and I think this is a world-class place. That’s the kind of places we like to own.” 

Members, he said, come from all over the world — and they leave the greatness of what they’ve achieved in life at the door when they arrive at the club for a round of golf.

The club’s sole purpose is to provide “pure enjoyment of the game of golf for its members.”

With 240 members, the club is full and not accepting any new ones, Hoffmann said.

Old Collier Golf Club, submitted

In an email, Patrick Utter, a senior vice president for Collier Enterprises, confirmed the Old Collier Golf Club “successfully transitioned ownership” on Friday to an entity owned by the Hoffmanns.

Utter offered no other details, referring all questions to the new ownership.

Asked why Collier Enterprises wanted to sell the golf club, Hoffmann said it has been looking to reposition some of its assets. The company, he said, also put its Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club up for sale, which he decided not to purchase.

Located at the edge of the Rookery Bay National Reserve off Thomasson Drive across from Port Royal, the yacht club offers 35 wet and 325 dry boat storage slips, a full-service marina and waterfront dining. 

The property transitioned to new ownership Tuesday, Utter confirmed, and the purchaser is a limited liability company going under the name Naples Marina Owner.

The new ownership hasn’t made any public announcements about the acquisition or its plans just yet.

“Collier Enterprises is proud of the stellar reputation established at The Old Collier Golf Club and Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club over their storied histories,” Utter said. “Our company wishes the members and new owners all the best going forward, as we continue to focus on our network of business entities and endeavors.”

Hoffmann described both properties as “once-in-a-lifetime” asset purchases.

“The Collier family,” he said, “did a great job of building and running both.”

Since David Hoffmann and his wife Jerri relocated to Naples from Illinois in 2015, the family has become one of the largest private owners of commercial property in Southwest Florida.

The majority of the company’s real estate is in downtown Naples on Fifth Avenue South and in the nearby Third Street South district. 

The Hoffmann Family of Cos. now operates more than 30 businesses in Florida, with 2,300 employees, most of whom work in the Naples area.

Worldwide, there are a total of 240 operations, with 6,000 employees.

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