The Epson Tour will play its biggest golf tournament at the Indian Wells Golf Resort in 2024, but officials from the City of Indian Wells and the golf resort are making no secret that they want to bring the LPGA back to the Coachella Valley at their courses.
“First, it puts us back in the game,” said Robin Graf, the new general manager at the Indian Wells Golf Resort. “It gives us an opportunity to potentially host more events in the future, and bigger events.”
The Indian Wells City Council voted 5-0 on Thursday to approve a one-year $100,000 sponsorship for the 2024 season finale of the Epson Tour, the developmental tour for the LPGA. That event, to be called the Epson Tour Championship at Indian Wells, will be played on the Players Course of the golf resort on Sept. 30-Oct. 6.
While the Epson Tour Championship becomes the biggest golf event played at the golf resort for now, city staff and council members talked openly about the prospect of an LPGA event for the city in the future. The LPGA left the desert after the 2022 Chevron Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, with the major championship moving to Houston. That left the Coachella Valley without an LPGA event for the first time in 51 years.
The Epson Tour event could show the LPGA that a regular LPGA event is viable for the desert in the fall, and that the Indian Wells Golf Resort is the place to hold such a tournament.
“Let’s not lose sight of the fact that we have had a golden opportunity dropped into our laps,” council member Greg Sanders said during council discussion of the sponsorship. “The Dinah Shore, the ANA tournament, the last year it was here it was sponsored by Chevron, I think. They moved out. I’m going to ask Visit Greater Palm Springs what the economic spinoff was from the ANA. I guarantee you it is huge.”
Sanders added the idea of the Epson Tour sponsorship is to get the LPGA to see Indian Wells as a top-flight candidate for an LPGA event.
“I see this as a strategic investment,” Sanders added.
City, residents benefits
The council chose a $100,000 sponsorship over a $50,000 option for the Epson Tour event. City manager Christopher Freeland explained that the $100,000 level includes everything the $50,000 level features including the city name and logo incorporated into tournament promotion and advertising, pro-am teams in the tournament, participation in a meet the pros party and VIP passes for…