LPGA hopes to re-establish foothold in Bay Area with new event

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The LPGA is coming to the Bay Area for the first time since 2010, as the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic officially kicked off its PR campaign Monday.

It is still a few months away from the event, which will take place April 21-27 at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, but organizers are already pushing to get the new event on the map, calling in Hall of Famer Juli Inkster to help promote the tournament.

Inkster, a Los Altos resident in her last full year as professional, said bringing the LPGA back to the Bay Area is an important step.

“Women’s golf has changed so much in the past five to 10 years,” she said. “I think it would be great to have people come out and really see how well we can play and how well these girls can hit the ball and how far they can hit the ball. I still think there’s a stigmatism in women’s golf that we’re hitting it 220, 225 [yards] out there.”

Swinging Skirts is a group based in Taiwan dedicated to expanding the game of golf, especially among women. Its members often wear colorful skirts and kilts on the course in an attempt to bring a fun atmosphere to the game.

Having such a group backing the event is what will make it special, tournament director Kevin Hopkins said.

“One of the unique things about this tournament is we don’t have a corporate partner,” he said. “It’s not fine entertainment, it’s not hosting or it’s not brand exposure. The Swinging Skirts golf team is a group of people from Taiwan who love the game of golf and whose vision is to grow the game of golf, specifically women’s golf. It’s a pretty altruistic approach that they’re taking to this tournament.”

Hopkins said the LPGA has a three-year deal in place with Swinging Skirts, and a one-year deal with Lake Merced with an option to extend. All parties involved said they hope to establish a permanent home in Daly City for the event.

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic

WHEN: April 21-27

WHERE: Lake Merced Golf Club, Daly City

INFO: www.swingingskirtsLPGAclassic.com, @SwingingSkirts

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