Does Dinah Shore Week Help Keep LPGA Kraft Nabisco Alive?By Golfforbeginners
It is unclear which will be the bigger event and which will fuel the other. Celebrities like Johnny Bench, John O'Hurley, William Devane and Alice Cooper bring crowds and glamour to the Kraft Nabisco, an event formerly promoted by Dinah Shore, a tireless supporter and honorary member of the LPGA Hall of Fame.
On the flip side, this first LPGA major of the year gains another distinction which probably helps it stay in the public eye, which is a good thing. Each year, right down the road in Palm Springs, the most popular lesbian party of the year takes place: Palm Springs Women's Weekend a.k.a. "Dinah Shore Weekend", which brings in a host of celebrities of its own.
The weather will be hot and sunny which means wet and wild pool/cocktail parties and hot entertainment including Natasha Beddingfield, Paula Poundstone, Estelle and Jessie and Wynter Gordon.
Certainly, the legendary LPGA Kraft Nabisco could easily survive on its own, without any help from the ladies party down the road couldn't it?
In its 40th year at Mission Hills, this has never been a "stodgy" event and is often compared to the Bob Hope Classic: celebs and pro golfers mingle with the crowds creating a carnival-like atmosphere right down to the traditional jump in the lake at the 18th hole, first begun by Amy Alcott. But, where are the crowds coming from?
Although I mentioned that this major could "easily" survive, Kraft Nabisco has implemented changes to its event from Legends Club access to more easily accessible merchandise tents. Larry Bohannan stated, "With Kraft not spending as much money on the corporate hospitality end of the tournament, local tournament officials have shifted the event to a community-based charity tournament. Those changes have required the event to modify even the way the event presents itself to the public.
Cause for concern? A loss of sponsors has downsized the LPGA Tour event schedule by twelve events (to 23 non-majors) since 2007. Ginn Resorts, Anheuser Busch, State Farm and Corning are just a few companies that have stepped away from sponsoring events.
Golf Digest states that, "Beginning with the LPGA Championship in late June, three of the next four tournaments are majors. From when the U.S. Women's Open ends July 10th to when the Safeway Classic begins August 18th, there are no events in the United States."
Does the lack of U.S. events mean that the LPGA should go global? The LPGA becoming a global Tour certainly has it's benefits especially with the onslaught of Korean and Japanese golfers within its ranks but then what becomes of the KLPGA for example? Does it become a "Futures Tour" for younger, more inexperienced golfers to hone their skills?
Perhaps merging a few of these Tours might make the ladies stronger. Instead of competing for dollars, join forces, make the purses bigger and cross-promote the tournaments to coincide with other festivities to bring more people to the gate who may not have even thought of watching a golf event.
Dyanne Ferk, Dean of the Business College at the University of Illinois Springfield said, "Businesses look at every penny going out and want to know the ROI." She continued, "there's more competition for a limited pot of money for advertising, philanthropy and nonprofit things."
Bringing together the Kraft Nabisco and the Dinah Shore women's party weekend as 'comrades in arms', going beyond the scope of golf, is a method that other LPGA events should adopt if the Organization is to survive and thrive.
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