May
27
2009
Play Golf Design: Imagination At Work
By Stephanie Wei under General

In case you haven’t heard, Time Magazine published a piece on Play Golf Designs (PGD), a company founded by Nisha Sadekar that provides customized golf entertainment experiences for corporations, charities and private clients.

You could say that the article has stirred quite the controversy. I’ll throw it out there and agree that it was unfair of the author Sean Gregory to describe PGD as an “escort service,” per se. But I think it’s fair to say that the media is known to often sensationalize headlines and to quote people out of context – as Nisha claims regarding this comment.

I’d like to clarify that I am NOT personally attacking any of the ladies contracted by the PGD. Without a doubt, they are very talented, hard-working and attractive. I understand the economic realities of pursuing a career as professional golfers – It’s not easy. Nisha has established a creative niche market that provides job opportunities and drives revenue. I commend her entrepreneurial efforts.

However, the way the PGD is presented is insulting, to say the least. (That’s what I mean by “Imagination At Work.”) Throughout PGD’s website, the tag-lines and messages objectify the ladies. These are some of my favorites: Your request is our demand or Your golf experience is limited only by your imagination or Please scroll through select your preferred Golf Professional for your upcoming Custom, Private, Corporate or Charity Event. If you go to the directory that has an uncanny resemblance to a menu, it describes the players’ “features” – not just their golfing accomplishments, mind you (like this).

I find the marketing strategy rather demeaning; in that, it objectifies physical attributes and assets, not only skills and talents. Yes, the PGD argues that their professionals are the “full package,” and in fact, I agree. Again, I’m not contending that the sell point is solely focused on sex appeal and all that jazz.

Let’s be real, I highly doubt that most of these businessmen, companies or clients, what-have-you are just looking to set-up a golf outing with the PGD professionals as simply a “learning experience.” As a golfer, I’ve been able to surmise that many men enjoy a round of golf playing with women who know their way around the course (no pun intended). I’m sure they walk away as fans and supporters of the women’s golf, but to what extent? At what price?

Interestingly enough, I came across this on the same day that I read the Times article. Fitting, eh?

I’m obviously a champion of women’s golf, and I know times are tough economically at the moment for all the Tours and pros. They’ve lost sponsorships, forcing them to cutback their tournament schedule. Not to mention, many of the PGD ladies play on the Duramed Futures Tour where they’re vying for smaller purses. I think that they should indeed be compensated for appearances at Pro-Ams, events, etc, like other professional golfers, athletes and celebrities – both female and male.

The LPGA’s brand promise is To Showcase the Best of Women’s Professional Golf, focusing on Fans First and Sports Entertainment. From speaking with a few LPGA players and administrators yesterday, they firmly expressed that the PGD’s marketing campaign is not aligned with theirs, nor do they want their brand to be associated with it.