A monster of an event
For decades, Butch Buchholz was known for promoting tennis on Key Biscayne, but now he’s on his third year of building community support for the WGC-Cadillac World Golf Championship at Trump National Doral Miami.
The Sony Open on Key Biscayne, which Buchholz founded, has done a great job of letting the community know it’s coming at the end of March, but Buchholz says the golf championship has even more possibilities.
“This Cadillac World Golf Championship is only four days and you have the best golfers in the world. I think it should be part of the South Florida calendar of things that are enjoyable and fun,” he says.
Compared to tennis venues, golf courses provide an expansive area for entertainment options, Buchholz says. Donald Trump’s $250 million makeover of Trump National has made the Blue Monster much more friendly to spectators.
“They created all these different mounds and things that make it a lot easier to see,” Buchholz says.
Practice rounds start March 4, and the tournament continues the following four days. There are no player cuts after 36 holes, so spectators get the chance to see famous golfers such as Tiger Woods all the way through the end of the championship.
Buchholz has pushed to make the tournament more of a regional event. About 36 country clubs signed up at least 24 participants for packages that include limousine service from the clubs to Doral.
AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson was so supportive that he’s allowed Buchholz to use space in the company headquarters in Fort Lauderdale.
Non-golf events during the championship are adding to the region’s social scene. A Saturday night concert will feature rock legend Carlos Santana performing at a temporary facility on the White Course. Buchholz credited developer Armando Codina, who will soon own the property, with being gracious for helping that happen. Ivanka Trump will have a fashion show featuring a major designer.
Buchholz also has pushed to upgrade the food after offering a lot of hamburgers and hot dogs during the first season of his involvement.
“A person could not get a glass of champagne on the golf course,” he says. Moet champagne was added along with food from Sushi Maki, Versailles, Latin Café and Joe’s Stone Crab. Ten food trucks will be spread over the course this year.
The Cadillac Championship is appealing to millenials with the #BlueLife Pass, which has an exclusive lounge and access to Wi-Fi and live TV feeds.
The Escalade Lounge on the 16th hole is like a South Beach nightclub with music, Buchholz says. It has upgraded food and is priced at $395 for the four days of play.
There’s also a Grey Goose Lounge with beverages for sale to the general admission crowd and a deck that overlooks the 9th tee.
Buchholz indicated that Donald Trump seems pleased with his efforts, telling him that tennis tournaments are harder to do than golf championships and quipping, “You out trump me.”
Buchholz says his response was to say, “No one out trumps Donald Trump.”