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Published: Sunday, 7/6/2008

Ochoa s brother, Toledo firm to develop courses in Mexico

Lorena Ochoa, the top-ranked women s golfer in the world, won t be playing in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic this week, but another Ochoa has joined with a Toledo firm to make some big news in the golf industry.

Alejandro Ochoa, Lorena s older brother and a principal partner in the Mexican-based Ochoa Group, has formed a collaborative golf course architecture firm with Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates of Toledo.

The Ochoa Group is a player representation, golf academy and event management firm. Alejandro Ochoa will serve as the chief business development officer for the new partnership, called Ochoa/Hills Golf Design, calling upon his knowledge of the Mexican resort development market.

Art Hills has long been recognized as one of the top course architects in the United States and his firm has some 200 original designs and 130 renovations to its credit. The U.S. market, however, has slowed to a crawl and Hills/Forrest has turned much of its attention to projects currently underway in Sweden, Portugal, Norway, Morocco, Russia, Belize, Costa Rica, Canada and Mexico, where the company already has three projects in various stages of development.

Mexico is one of golf s bona fide development hot spots, Hills said. Each party already brings so much to the table, specifically in Mexico, that our formal collaboration struck each of us as an ideal fit.

Alejandro Ochoa said in a press release that the partnership will allow him to pursue his interest in course design.

The Mexican market is booming and Arthur Hills has one of the most respected bodies of work in all of course architecture, Ochoa said. While the Mexican market is ripe for first-class design services, I want to do more than secure development deals for our partnership. I want to learn course architecture from a master so that we might create great golf courses together.

Currently, the Ochoa Group represents Lorena and several other Mexican golfers. Its sports management division operates two LPGA events held in Mexico.

Dave Hackenberg

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