From March 28 to April 3, women golfers worldwide will be flocking to the Palm Springs area for the LPGA’s ANA (All Nippon Airways) Inspiration Championship. While this tournament name (which became official in 2015) may not trigger immediate recognition, it’s the latest name for what started in 1972 as the Colgate Dinah Shore Championship.
Dinah Shore, for those of you too young to remember, was a popular big band singer and radio and television host whose career spanned from the 1940s to the 1980s. Due to a childhood attack of polio that left her with a paralyzed leg, she later became an avid golfer and supporter of women’s professional golf, helping to found the tournament that is now the ANA Inspiration. To acknowledge Shore’s contributions to golf, she was elected an honorary member of the LPGA Hall of Fame in 1994 and in 1998 she became a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Held each spring at the world famous Mission Hills Country Club’s Dinah Shore Tournament Course in Rancho Mirage, the ANA is still one of the major tournaments on the LPGA tour and has a purse of $2,600,000. Designed by Desmond Muirhead in 1970, the 18-hole course has a 40-year history of being rated as one of the top courses in the Coachella Valley. You can actually take a flyover of the course by going to http://www.clubcorp.com/Clubs/Mission-Hills-Country-Club/Amenities/Golf/Dinah-Shore-Tournament-Course-Flyover.
This tournament has also long been popular with lesbians, whether or not they’re golfers. Although it isn’t affiliated with the ANA Inspiration tournament, the Dinah Shore Weekend, also called the Palm Springs Women’s Weekend or Club Skirts Presents The Dinah, continues to grow and is now known as the world’s largest lesbian event. It was founded in 1991 by Mariah Hanson who believed that the lesbian community deserved the “best of the best.” This five-day music festival is hosted annually by The Hilton.
In a recent interview by Nick Cimarusti, Hanson shared that in college she was known for throwing the best parties and decided that a party centered around what was then the-Dinah Shore Golf Tournament was a natural transition from her popular college events. Describing the weekend as a cross between Woodstock and lesbian spring break, she says the inclusive “lovefest” element to the weekend is an important antidote to the low self-esteem many LGBT people grapple with.
Billed as “The Largest Girl Party Music Festival in the World,” by event organizer Club Skirts (Hanson is also the Club Skirts founder), it books major celebrities and entertainers each year for the variety of events that include pool parties, concerts and dances that are held in and around the Hilton Hotel and Spa, the Palm Springs Convention Center, local gay clubs and the trendy Saguaro Palm Springs resort which is playing host to one of the pool parties. Elle King is in full concert at the Friday Night White Party along with DJ Mary Mac spinning live.
New this year is a celebrity dunk tank with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center that includes a dollar-for-dollar matching donation by Club Skirts. Also on the agenda is a huge game of Twister and beer pong. For the complete schedule with all the events and performers listed, go to http://thedinah.com/events. Each event has an admission charge that generally ranges between $35 to $100 but if you’ll be there for the entire weekend, your best buy is a weekend pass that sells for $269.
Tickets to the ANA Golf Championship can be purchased at: http://www.anainspiration.com/tickets/
Tickets for Club Skirts The Dinah can be purchased at: https://www.signmeup.com/site/reg/register.aspx?fid=G92VYH7
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