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Mar 11

Swinging Skirts

Swinging Skirts Coming to San Francisco

Sitting down to write about golf, and coming up with “swinging skirts” is a delicate operation.I’ve heard the term in connection with the LPGA, but admittedly didn’t pay enough attention.Whatever it is, it’s coming to San Francisco for its own LPGA tournament, so we’d better get acquainted with this unusual phenomenon.

First of all, it’s not a racy movie, it’s not a dance competition, and it’s not a bubbly retro episode of Marlo Thomas’ “That Girl.” It’s a golf team.

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Not only is it a golf team, but it’s from Taiwan,and despite the name, it includes both men and women, although not for this particular week. They are amateurs, intent on growing the game’s popularity with fashion and art celebrations in tribute to the game’s origins. For some, that means wearing kilts, and for everyone, it means art scattered throughout the course, as chairman Johnson Wang is an art lover – specifically of sculpture.

kilt 2So, why is this unusual group coming to San Francisco? Founder of the team, Yani Tseng, wasn’t too sure about the idea, either, in the beginning (“I thought they were crazy”), but has since fallen for the idea, hoping that it will become a regular feature at the Lake Merced Golf Club in the Bay area.

The Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic will put together some of the best golfers in the pro world with some of the best new golfers coming out of Taiwan. And yes, they might very well wear “swinging skirts.”
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Chairman Johnson Wang claims that to these players, mostly women, “golf is like breathing to them.” The web site for Swinging Skirts seems to confirm that, stating that their vision “aims to be a true celebration of golf.”

The inclusion of different fashion statements and an exhibition of art out in nature, which a golf course can provide as well as anywhere else, might ordinarily be associated with an exhibition type of outing. Since the tournaments of the major tours now involve a great deal of money, wouldn’t it all be too serious to let loose with the wardrobe and outdoor art? Apparently not. Players are already having a good time with it, as Lydia Ko and Natalie Gulbis appeared on media day in a very celebratory mood.
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kilt 1The vision is catching. Swinging Skirts has established three new tournaments in Taiwan the past three years, and now they feel ready to take a bigger stage in tandem with bigger-name players, sponsors and courses. Quoting the site, “in a city with one of the most famous bridges in the world, Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic hopes to be a true bridge between East and West.”

Such cultural exchanges are often thought of as a “nicety” of society, but in a very real sense, they are crucial, just like collegiate travel abroad. The members of the world community are getting to know each other pretty well in the last few decades, and one of these days, when the inevitable megalomaniac who comes along from time to time starts lobbying for violence, a world of people are going to say,”Wait a minute, that’s not true – I’ve been there. I know these people.”

So, now that we know each other a lot better, it’s a good time to play some serious golf, and start having a good time globally. And, since the happily eccentric city of San Francisco is ready for anything, it seems like a great place to start.
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About the author

G.F. Skipworth

has spent every available moment playing golf or studying the greats since the 60s, in between world tours as a classical musician, Harvard studies in Government or as the author of a dozen novels. Nicklaus and Snead may be the statistical greats, but Skipworth is a life-long devotee of Gary Player, and considers meeting the South African at the Jeld-Wen to be an unforgettable milestone. His driving passion in golf these days is to raise viewer interest in the LPGA.