updated 3 Sep 2014, 07:39
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Girl golfers for hire as 'escorts'?

THE founder of the website claims she is helping women golfers get extra income and exposure to a broader audience.

But others think Ms Nisha Sadekar's company is nothing more than a high-end social escort service.

Play Golf Designs (PGD) is a Las Vegas-based company she founded.

For a substantial fee, one of the company's roster of beautiful female professional golfers will play a round or two of golf with the clients and their colleagues, be it a corporate event, men's day out or even a bachelor party.

Ms Sadekar, 28, who grew up playing golf in Toronto, Canada, and once considered a career as a professional golfer, told Time magazine: 'One of the girls will show up on the golf course and change the day. They'll liven things up.

'When you see these beautiful women, with their smiles, fashion sense and great skill, it rubs off on you.'

Not shy

A click on PGD's website shows a bevy of attractive female professional golfers.

Each of the golfer's biographies includes a short introduction and a list of her golf credentials.

But when they play with their clients, don't expect the women to be conservatively dressed.

Some of them have turned up dressed like barmaids, which Ms Sadekar feels is part of the attraction.

She said: 'Look at what the women tennis players get to wear. Unfortunately, as golfers, we get (treated unfairly). Khakis just aren't cool.'

The fact that PGD is not shy about playing up the sexuality of its golfers, does not sit well with some women's sports advocates.

Ms Donna Lopiano, former CEO of the Women's Sports Foundation and current president of Sports Management Resources, said: 'Whenever anyone, including the athletes themselves, chooses to portray female athletes in other than sport-appropriate attire on the golf course...they're selling a sexual stereotype, not a skilled professional golfer. It offends me as a woman and fan of women's professional golf.'

At first glance, one wonders if PGD is advertising some kind of golf-escort service.

Ms Jocelyn Samuels, vice-president for education and employment at the US National Women's Law Center, said: 'When women athletes are treated as sex objects, it runs contrary to the spirit of equality that laws...are intended to promote.'

But some female golfers beg to differ. Some players don't mind dressing up and showing off their skills to men.

US golfer Anna Rawson, who was named Maxim's Sexiest New Athlete in February last year, said that there's a stigma that if one is attractive, one cannot play sports. She added: 'Men are shocked by how good we are.'

Many female golfers also work for Ms Sadekar to help make ends meet.

Many of them are still chasing their dreams of turning professional, and playing in such events can supplement their low incomes.

And while the terms of individual player contracts are confidential, PGD is commanding impressive fees - from US$2,500 to US$25,000 ($3,600 to $36,000) for its golfers, depending on the size and scope of the outing.

Ms Sadekar said: 'We feel like the LPGA (Lady's Professional Golf Association) isn't marketing players the way they should be marketed. The door is wide open for us, and the opportunities are endless.'

By promising extra income and exposure to a broader audience, she aims to hire more LPGA professionals as sponsorship of these players dips in a bad economy.

Ms Sadekar concluded: 'Our women should be proud that they're hip, hot and fun... They've got the entire package. Why not play it all up?'

This article was first published in The New Paper

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