Golf’s up & coming superstars III: 20-somethings

A new generation of leaders is moving up the ranks and bringing with it signs of a more diverse future.

Editor's note: this is the final story in a three-part series.  


By JJ Keegan

JJ Keegan is a business golf consultant, author of “The Winning Playbook for Golf Courses” and an occasional contributor to Golf Inc. 


While golf’s leading management companies, equipment manufacturers and associations are led primarily by people in their 50s and 60s, change is coming. Today’s budding superstars are going to enhance, expand and redefine the golf industry.

They all have a number of things in common: a thirst for knowledge; an early mentor; and a vision that expands beyond themselves to guide both the golf industry and the game that millions enjoy.

Here are just some of the emerging superstars. 


Hally Leadbettersenior producer of digital content, Golf Digest-Discovery Golf 

A golf media personality with substance. Arguably, that’s a rare commodity.

Hally Leadbetter excelled at elite-level amateur golf for more than 10 years while blogging and hosting a show on SiriusXM radio. 

With a mother who played on the LPGA Tour and a dad who has taught Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Charles Howell III, Michelle Wie, Lydia Ko, and Byeong-Hun An, Leadbetter gained a vast amount of knowledge in all aspects of golf, as well as developing a deep appreciation for it. She went on to attend Rollins College in Florida, where she majored in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

As a digital producer for the PGA Tour, she created content that was broadcast internationally, including interviews with celebrities, professional athletes and coaches. 

Kenton Brunson superintendent of course operations, Desert Mountain

If one were reading a job candidate’s resume that listed Washington State University, The University of Arizona, Wake Forest University, The Toro Co., Bayer, Walla Walla Country Club in Washington, Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach, Calif., and Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the candidate was only 28, one might wonder: "Why all the change?” 

Well, Kenton Brunson has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. He has earned a bachelor’s in agronomy and a master’s in business administration. He’s also had numerous internships with leading manufacturers and private clubs. 

He has a passion for teaching employees, which is a result of the mentoring he received from Shawn Emerson, director of agronomy at Desert Mountain.


Related stories:

Golf’s up & coming superstars: 40-somethings

Golf's up & coming superstars II: 30-somethings

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