The resilience of golf

I’ve read more than a few articles in recent years that have made me wonder about the future of golf, which is sometimes stereotyped as a game for stodgy old white guys. The story line is that the game is dying out because of changing demographics, such as kids playing video games instead of hitting golf balls.

Fueling that notion has been the array of golf courses that have closed and been turned into residential projects, such as Botaniko in Weston. Pretty much every day, I commute by the site of the former Oak Tree Golf Course in Oakland Park. PulteGroup has proposed putting 288 single-family homes and 117 townhomes on the property.

However, we have two articles in this issue that show how golf can continue to be vibrant.

One story is based on our “CEO Connect” event with Ken Kennerly, who is executive director of the Honda Classic, and president and CEO of K2 Sports Ventures. Even a nongolfer can appreciate what it he has done: The Honda Classic in 2017 boasted an increased attendance of more than 203,000 spectators, and more than $3.5 million in charitable contributions for a total of more than $16 million in charitable contributions since the tournament moved to PGA National. The beneficiaries are an array of children’s charities.

The Honda Classic is more than about golf. Kennerly, his team and sponsors have created a festive atmosphere that includes reasonable ticket prices to walk the whole course and watch some of the biggest names in golf play. There are literal fireworks.

The Honda Classic has an estimated $58 million economic impact. That’s probably understated given all the beauty shots of Palm Beach County during broadcasts of the tournament.

Kennerly credits Top Golf and Drive Shack with putting new energy into the sport. Newcomers can hang out with their friends for an hour or two and hit some balls while enjoying food and beverages. That addresses one of the knocks on the sport that it takes a long time to play 18 holes. Kennerly engages with youths in his “Inside the Ropes” concept during tournaments.

Our cover story is about John Crean, general manager and COO of the Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton. Crean has branded Broken Sound as an environmentally friendly club. He started with getting rid of Styrofoam cups and later installed a pioneering system that turns food waste and plant trimmings into mulch. Broken Sound also uses recycled water. The Old Course at Broken Sound is a bio reserve with one of the largest stands of maple trees in South Florida. When Crean read about the collapse of honeybees, he started installing bee hives and adding wild flowers. When he heard about the Zika virus, he added bat houses to cut down on mosquitoes. One of the photos I was sent shows a magnificent fox strolling across one of the greens.

Beyond golf, Crean’s approach is worthy of a Harvard Business Review piece on how to differentiate your business amid fierce competition. With plans for a $29 million clubhouse overhaul, the members of his club deserve credit for investing in its future success.

The bottom line is, golf is enjoyed by many business owners and C-suite executives. Crean and Kennerly deserve credit for fueling an industry that is a key cog of our region’s economy.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.