Meijer LPGA Classic beefs up local food, drink offerings after two years of cancellations

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

The Grand Taste is returning. But, as it turns out, the Meijer LPGA Classic has even grander plans.

Grand Rapids' annual LPGA Tour stop announced this week it is introducing a new hospitality experience for 2022, J Brewer's Hospitality, which will include a 20,000-square-foot pavilion that will feature food and drinks from area and minority-owned restaurants.

The hospitality experience is named after Joseph Brewer, who bought the land where Blythefield Country Club now sits in Belmont.

Nelly Korda takes a selfie with her trophy after winning the Meijer LPGA Classic in 2021.

“The Meijer LPGA Classic offers an experience unlike any other tournament on the LPGA Tour,” tournament executive director Cathy Cooper said in a statement. “The level of premium hospitality offered by J Brewer’s is usually reserved only for sponsors at most tournaments, so to offer it to the public at an attainable price point is truly unique. You simply can’t buy another ticket like it on the Tour.”

The Meijer LPGA Classic, typically one of the best-attended tournaments on the LPGA Tour, will offer tickets for J Brewer's pavilion for $75. The hospitality area offers front-row viewing off the fourth fairway, all-you-can-eat-and-drink, and TV viewing of the U.S. Open, which is being played opposite of the Meijer LPGA Classic.

The Meijer LPGA Classic is June 16-19, and tickets went on sale this week at meijerLPGAclassic.com.

The Grand Taste has been a very popular aspect of the Meijer LPGA Classic, among fans and even players, but last was held in 2019. The tournament was canceled in 2020, and the Grand Taste then was canceled in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Grand Taste is returning in 2022, but in a new form — as a concession area open for the general public, and still featuring food and beverages from local restaurants. There will be four concession areas over the course, at the 18th tee, 18th green, 10th tee and 16th fairway.

The new setup, Meijer LPGA Classic officials said, should prove beneficial to local restaurant owners.

“To better support our local restaurant partners amidst ongoing staffing shortages, we decided to transition their offerings into our concession tents at the Grand Taste viewing areas,” Cooper said. “This is especially exciting because it means everyone gets to experience the fun of Grand Taste’s local offerings at an affordable price without needing a special ticket.”

Tickets for the Meijer LPGA Classic are $10 a day, Thursday through Sunday. Weekly tickets are $25. Children 17 and younger get in free with a ticketed adult.

This will be the eighth Meijer LPGA Classic, one of two annual LPGA Tour stops in Michigan (Great Lakes Bay Invitational, Midland, July 13-16). Nelly Korda won the tournament last year, then won the PGA Championship the next week to become the No. 1-ranked player in the world.

In the seven previous tournaments, the Meijer LPGA Classic raised more than $8.5 million for the Meijer Simply Give program, which benefits food pantries in west Michigan.

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tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984