PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Golfers visiting West Michigan this week for the Meijer LPGA Classic are hoping to win a tournament record $2 million purse, and they’re also hoping to help Meijer make a tournament record charitable donation.
Along with that record purse, the players say the hospitality and fan support at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont, along with the chance to help feed hungry families by supporting Meijer’s Simply Give Program, makes the Classic one of the most popular stops on the LPGA tour.
“I think it’s just a great week for not only the players, but everybody that comes out and watches, too,” 15-time LPGA Tour champion Lydia Ko said.
“I would definitely say the hospitality here and the dining inside is our best,” Lexi Thompson, who won the Classic in 2016, said. “It’s pretty unbelievable. They have like so many desserts, I’ll probably gain five pounds this week. But we can’t complain. Like I said, it’s one of our best.”
“I love coming here,” two-time LPGA tour champion Morgan Pressel said. “The Grand Taste is just something different, something so unique on our tour, which makes it a lot of fun, makes it a fun party.”
She was referring to the 20,000-square-foot food showcase that will open to the public Friday. Meijer chief Brian Williams said fans can sample Certified Angus Beef and Latitude-45 Salmon, as well as great local produce, beers and wines, and restaurant food.
“There’s definitely something for everybody,” Williams said.
This year, Grand Taste expanded with the 5,000-square-foot outdoor Grand Taste Garden.
“It’s barbeque themed. It’s a party. It’s live local music in the evening,” Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give Director Cathy Cooper described. “We have so many local restaurants and breweries here.”
“Of course,” Pressel added, “the impact for Simply Give is the real reason we’re here.”
In the past four years, the Classic has raised $3.1 million for Simply Give, which supports food pantries across the Midwest. This year’s goal is $1 million.
Local food banks say Simply Give lets them stock and distribute not only more food for families in need, but also healthier options.
“Meijer Simply Give is an integral part of our operation here. We could not offer the fresh fruits and vegetables and the lean meats and dairy that we do without Meijer Simply Give,” North Kent Connect Executive Director Claire Guisfredi told 24 Hour News 8. “We could not do it without the Simply Give program. It is so important to us. It is so important for the health of our community.”
>>App users: Photos from inside Grand Taste