BUNNY IN THE CITY: Downtown Business Association's 2nd Annual Golf Tournament

Updated August 8, 2023 at 4:54 p.m.

Best way to kick off the week? Easy: arrive early on August 7 for Savannah Downtown Business Association’s second annual Golf Tournament at the oldest golf club in America! 

Cruising through the magnolia tree-lined drive to meet my new friend from Boston, digital marketing genius Catherine Howe, I arrive to find DBA executive director Brooke Toth glistening in the early morning heat. 

It’s actually not that bad, but Brooke is busy running around checking-in guests and offering Chick-fil-A biscuits, but manages to pause for a pic with DBA Board chairwoman Marianne Ganem Poppell, and one of the busiest men in town, Mark Toth. 

From Union Mission to the Skidaway Kiwanis Club, Mark is everywhere! After receiving an invite from Mark to speak at their “0-dark-thirty” meeting at the Landings last month, I knew they were finalizing grant distribution awards winners today, and can’t wait to see who their $120,000 grant recipients are on September 28. 

Leaving the golf, pickleball and ping pong enthusiast, I see the fabulous Conni Reynolds arrive to help Brooke; then chat with Brooke’s husband Paul, a golf pro at Savannah Harbor. The Kansas City native tells me that his dad, Chris Bell and Travis Mobley are joining him. I’m sorta feeling bad for the other players if they aren’t as good as Paul! 

Walking up is the Alida Hotel’s Senior Sales Manager Ryan Cornelius. Meeting him are his twin brother, Homewood Suites Historic Savannah GM Bryan Cornelius, Brad Buttimer, and investment consultant Greg White. 

After posing the good-looking dudes for a group pic, I move over to meet US Foods’ Brent Hulsey with his guest, Kevin Fabre, and his dad Clyde. Proud to meet the Richmond Hill BBQ royalty team, Catherine and I move on over to the long check in line to meet Spinnaker Resorts’ Bill Clark and Madalyn Wickens.

Next in line is Hotel Bardo’s money-man Ernie Hallare. The Orlando native tells me he is the VP of finance as I introduce him to J.J. Spry of PMC Parking, and Belfor’s Kelii Arbuckle. Wait! Did you mean Belfor Property Restoration - like Liz Giddens’ Belfor? 

When the Hinesville resident nods yes, I start searching for the most vivacious brunette I know! Knowing that she is running late (because she can’t be good at everything) I find out Liz is headed out to their sponsor tent on Hole 1. Hinting that she may be a CASA “Dancing With the Stars” contestant next May, the marketing rep proudly shares, “I was the top sales rep for the first quarter for the East Coast.” Of course she is! I am so proud right now! 

Sneaking past me is one of Forest City Gun Club’s finest shooters, Dan Smart. A member of the Savannah Quarterback Club, I ask Dan what he loves about the 77 year-old sports organization. “I love the tradition, camaraderie and that I get to attend with my dad. Watching generations of fathers and sons raise money for local high school football players during the ten week season is priceless,” shares the Benedictine Military School grad. 

Another guy not fond of photos is Ryan Sewell. I’m not sure why it's always the good looking guys that hate pics but I ask him what his Sterling Seacrest president David Paddison would do. “Dern, ok, you get one photo,” he says, then waves over Telfair Museums’ CFO Joey Rudder for a pic. 

After chatting with Ryan about his travel plans to see Chris Stapleton in concert and doing every University of Georgia event he can, I talk with his photo companion, Joey, about our love of Jeeps, driving on his native state of Kentucky’s curvy roads and his love of golf and boating.

Next up are two guys that seem to be struggling a little this morning. Tom Pace and Leon Davenport blame their wives for Saturday wine tasting escapades at Common Thread and a late night at Sobremesa Wine Lounge. Asking the guys about their future travel plans, Leon tells me that he and his fabulous wife Jennifer are off to visit winter on the last Alaskan cruise of the year–with hopes of snow and northern lights–while Tom and Meg are headed back to Italy in September. 

Next up is a flurry of pics of rarely-seen dudes, like Comprehensive Business Partners’ awesome Toby Browne, and First Citizens Bank’s Rob Sparks. Rob tells me, “My daughter Julia starts ninth grade at St. Vincent’s Academy today.” Then a tan Patrick McCarthy raves about boat life and his talented wife Emily and her new lifestyle and clothing building on Victory Drive. 

As always, my most fascinating person of the day is the last person I talk to. Say hey to the busiest man in town, Kewaan Drayton. As I attempt to tell Catherine about his Red Eye Film Productions, The Savannah Underground, the Mailbox Cafe and a trucking operation, I ask the 28 year-old man of many hats “what’s next.” “They say that you should have seven streams of income, that is my goal,” shares the Westside Woodville community native. 

By now, Kaitlin Sells has arrived to jump into my spot on the golf cart with Catherine to snap pics, so I head over to say goodbye to Brooke and her volunteer team. With fab folks like Tourism Leadership Council’s Stephen Plunk and Georgia Tech’s Jasmine Miller on hand, today is an epic success! 

Founded in 2009, the Savannah Downtown Business Association is the only downtown organization dedicated to the betterment of the downtown business area. Even if you aren’t a downtown business, you are welcome to participate in their monthly meetings, merchant meetings and Broughton Street Cleanup.

Or sign up for next year’s golf outing when money raised will support SBDA Gives, their newly created non-profit arm that will support public arts initiatives like sounds in the squares, window beautification in vacant storefronts and rotating art installations in the squares! See you there!

Published August 8, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

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