Recently Time.com published a story about Play Golf Design titled: Lady Golfers for Rent: Escort Service for Duffers?
When I read the article I found myself doing a double take to see if I was accidentally reading the National Enquirer and not a distinguished publication like Time.
In his effort to be witty, the author misrepresented an enterprise of young, talented (and yes, beautiful) athletes as “working girls”. Unfortunately, his sense of humor was lost on me. “Spring Break Barmaids?” – give me a break!
These professional “ladies of the links” are not “ladies of the night” and it disppointed me to see Time plant the seed that there may be more going on than golf with these women.
PGD is a business that offers corporations and private events an opportunity to pay for “play” from pro women golfers who can drive the socks off their clients – they play golf, period! They provide a legimate service, not unlike what you would find at a ton of events and charities out there today. The pros that have “made it” now offer these services for free to charities (e.g. Wendy’s challenge comes to mind). But for the ladies who haven’t had their big break and are trying to make a career of golf, these events are revenue generators and they have every right to charge for their services.
I know of a number of pro women golfers who play in corporate and private events to make money so they can pursue their dream. Why? Because on the women’s pre-LPGA tours (Duramed, Cactus, Cdn CN, etc), many golfers have to give up the sport they love because they just can’t make ends meet – sponsors are as common as snow in the Sahara and the purses they play for are pathetic.
The women golfers who choose to play for pay are no different than Tiger getting $3M to play in the Australian Masters. They play…they get paid…they go home. Period!
The only thing different with the PGD ladies is that they are marketed professionally by company founder Nisha Sadekar. Now, I’m a marketing consultant by trade and I know sex sells. But that doesn’t mean companies who use sex appeal in commercials are selling sex.
Check out Apple’s iPod ad here. Every kid in America has an iPod and mommy and daddy aren’t boycotting Apple because it is selling sex to minors.
But with PDG, it would seem that people living in glass houses are finding ways to make a legitimate business seem shoddy, as did Mr. Gregory, and sadly Dr. Donna Lopiano, former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation and current president of Sports Management Resources, “Whenever anyone, including the athletes themselves, chooses to portray female athletes in other than sport-appropriate attire on the golf course, like these two golfers on the fairway, they’re selling a sexual stereotype, not a skilled professional golfer. It offends me as a woman and fan of women’s professional golf. Even the course superintendent wouldn’t allow them on the course — unless it was to aerate the fairways with their spiked heels.”
Dr. Lopiano is a highly respected leader in women’s sports, but her remark about high heels on the fairways was just “catty”. I can’t tell you how sad I was to see this quote attributed to her. It added no value and was an “out of bounds” shot that lead to a big double bogey for her in my mnd. Sigh…
Tina Lloyd (nee Miller) from Big Break Ka’anapali and a member of PGD discussed her concerns about the article recently on GolfWRX and through a personal email to her friends and contacts she shared, “It is a shame that further research on the company was not done, such as actually traveling out to a corporate outing with PGD and actually seeing how things are run. We travel all around the country to companies, including “all women” companies, to teach them a bit about the game and for me that is what I can give back to the game that has given me so much.”
I think it’s time for Mr. Gregory and Dr. Lopiano to apologize to all the ladies of Play Golf Design.