The historic Detroit Golf Club is gearing up for the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament June 25-30.
By Michael Dwyer
Photos courtesy of Detroit Golf Club
There’s a great deal of excitement as Detroit prepares to welcome the first PGA Tour event to be held in the city, and the first in Michigan since 2009. The historic Detroit Golf Club is hosting the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament June 25-30, where 156 of the top players in the golf world will compete for a purse of $7.3 million. Sponsored by Quicken Loans, the Rocket Mortgage Classic will allow fans to experience a world-class golf event, as well as enjoy a variety of social spaces with local culinary delights and entertainment.
“Hosting the first-ever PGA Tour event in the city of Detroit is a big deal,” says Jason Langwell, executive director for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “We’re proud to be a part of this vibrant and progressive city and all the exciting things happening here. Our mission has been to make this the sporting and social event of the season, embodying the authenticity and inclusiveness of the city and region. There is such an undeniable energy here, and we can’t wait to share all that Detroit has to offer with the players, fans and thousands of visitors that this event will bring to Detroit.”
Different ticket options were available leading up to the event, from ground passes to VIP suites, as well as complimentary tickets for military members. The classic is expected to sell out, so the more likely way to be part of the action would be as one of the 2,000 volunteers needed.
“Serving as a volunteer gives you a true behind-the-scenes look at the execution of a major sporting event — marshalling, transportation, scoring, player registration and more. As a volunteer, you’ll get to enjoy experiences that fans may not,” Langwell says, like interacting with players. “…Volunteers have a direct impact on the overall tournament experience, while also enjoying a front-row seat to see some of the world’s best golfers up close and in-person.”
The PGA Tour, Detroit Golf Club, and sponsors are working in tandem to make the inaugural event a success. “We could not be happier that Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans stepped forward to bring PGA golf back to Michigan,” says Detroit Golf Club President Andy Glassberg. “They had a great interest in holding the event at our club, and we were thrilled to be able to make that happen. They are a great partner who shares our love of Detroit and its resurgence.”
Hosting the PGA Tour opens the doors to the public and offers a rare opportunity for non-members to walk the beautiful historic grounds on the private Detroit Golf Club. Established in 1899, the course was designed by renowned golf course architect Donald Ross and enhanced with a clubhouse devised by the famous architect Albert Kahn. The DGC is the consummate example of classic design. Members have included Horace Rackham, Fred Wardell and Henry Ford. “The DGC has had an enormous legacy of key people who have made our club into what it is today,” Glassberg says. “Part of what makes the PGA Tour special is its link to its heritage. We are fortunate to be able to add to that rich history.”
The DGC has two courses: the North and South. “After much reflection, the tournament routing will be on our North course, with the exception of using (hole) No. 1 South rather than No. 1 North. Having the South course gave the Tour additional practice options … including using several holes for putting and short game practice, and two holes that will serve as the tournament driving range,” Glassberg says.
Glassberg adds that they are working with the Tour’s design time to make a few changes, such as adding six tee boxes that will lengthen course and adding teeing ground that will transform several of holes on the South course into a tournament driving range. “We have also expanded several areas to accommodate the large infrastructure of television, hospitality and on-site food and beverage operations required to execute an event of this magnitude,” Glassberg says.
Local nonprofits will benefit as well. Charity is at the heart of the Rocket Mortgage Classic and every PGA Tour event. The tournament’s charitable beneficiaries include Detroit Children’s Fund, Midnight Golf, First Tee of Greater Detroit, the Greater Palmer Park Community and Detroit Golf Club Caddie Scholarship. There is also an innovative program called Birdies for Charity that allows any nonprofit to raise money. Organizations can apply online to be listed on the Rocket Mortgage Classic website and fans have the chance to support a nonprofit of their choosing with a donation or pledge per birdie — more birdies by the players mean more funds for the charity.
“I can’t wait to get up there,” says professional golfer Rickie Fowler, a brand ambassador with Rocket Mortgage. “It’s going to be big for the city of Detroit, which is a great sports town. Expect some really good golf.”
Rocket Mortgage Classic By-The-Numbers:
$7.3 Million Purse
156 Professional Golfers
Six Days of Golf
Four Competition Days
PGA Tour Detroit Schedule:
June 25 – Professional Practice Rounds
June 26 – Delta Dental Rocket Mortgage Classic Pro-Am
June 27 – First Round (all 156 players compete)
June 28 – Second Round (all 156 players compete)
June 29 – Third Round (top 70 players after Friday’s play advance to play both weekend days)
June 30 – Final Round, Champion Crowned
The Inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic will host 156 PGA Players, including:
• Rickie Fowler, the world’s No. 10-ranked player and five-time PGA Tour champion
• Dustin Johnson, the No. 1-ranked player in the world and a 20-time PGA Tour winner
• Bubba Watson, a two-time Masters champion, 12-time PGA Tour winner and the 17th ranked player in the world
• Jimmy Walker, the 2016 PGA Championship winner, who owns six tournament victories on the PGA Tour
• Jason Dufner, the 2013 PGA Championship winner and a five-time winner on the PGA Tour
• Kevin Kisner, the world’s No. 25 ranked player, a three-time PGA Tour winner and a member of the U.S. team for the 2017 Presidents Cup
• Cameron Champ, a PGA Tour rookie who has already had his first professional victory and leads all players in average driving distance this season
• Aaron Wise, the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and the 2016 NCAA Division I individual champion, who collected four top-10s in 29 starts during the 2017-18 season, highlighted by his win at the AT&T Byron Nelson
• Billy Horschel, the 2014 FedExCup Champion and a five-time winner on the PGA Tour