Golfweek's Beth Ann Baldry documents the perils of brand licensing, in this case the LPGA International hosting this week's LPGA Q-School. Baldry's tales remind me of playing in some really bad city amateur tournaments. Thanks to reader Bill for this.
Amie Cochran was sitting in the snackshop having a bowl of chili following her first round and immediately sat this reporter down to rattle off a list of complaints. Cochran arrived in Daytona earlier than most and estimates she’s spent $400 tuning up for the event.$10 for a sandwich, but it's for a good cause.
And speaking of lunch, Cochran paid $3 for the iced tea she was sipping. On Wednesday, players were shocked to find a shoddy menu taped over the top of the existing one in the heavily-trafficked snack bar. The “Q-School Menu” featured $3 sodas and $10 sandwiches, served with chips and a drink.
Lorraine Vosmik, director of club operations, said the limited menu was being offered in an attempt to expedite service. When asked why the prices rivaled Disney, Vosmik said they hadn’t changed. A soda, however, normally goes for $2.50.
“We included tax and a tip,” she said. “And we didn’t want to deal with change.”
Except they forgot to note that on the new menu and left the tip jar on the counter. A small salad every other week of the year costs $5.50. This week, $7. And the service? There is none.
“No one’s been nice at this course,” Cochran said matter-of-factly. “Is unaccommodating a word?”
Why yes, Aimee, it is. In fact, it’s the perfect word to describe how players felt later that afternoon when they learned the range closed at 4 p.m., an hour and a half before daylight ends. Attendants walked up and down the range warning players that the range would close in 30 minutes.
“I was appalled,” said Bader, who was on the range with Bartholomew working out the kinks of an opening 4-over 76.
Hey, what's your beef? It's only a tournament that effects lives. Who gave you the impression it was important?
Hafeman said that in order for the range to be picked and the balls cleaned in time for a 6:30 a.m. start, it must close at 4 p.m. The hours, however, were extended to 4:30 p.m. Thursday after the round was delayed due to fog.
“How about a continuous picker this week?” asked Bader, pointing to an empty picker sitting by a tree near the range. Sounds like a reasonable suggestion.
If all this sounds rather petty, consider this: It cost non-members $5,000 to play here this week if they played both qualifiers, $4,000 if they played in one. Members payed $2,500.
But you can bet the LPGA operations people are on top of...well, not really.
Libba Galloway, the LPGA’s deputy commissioner, didn’t want to comment on the frustration of players until she’d spoken with them herself. There’s been a huge turnover at LPGA International in the last year since the former director of golf, Nancy Henderson, left to work for the tour. Even tour employees have felt the sting of its new management in recent months.
It makes sense for the LPGA to host its qualifying school here every year, but if they can’t accommodate the players or make them feel welcome, perhaps it’s time to find a new venue.
The slogan at LPGA International is “Come play where the pros play.” But as one tour caddie wrote in his blog, a more accurate description might be “Come play where the pros pay.”