Pro-Golf Makes a Debut in Detroit


Photo Credit: PGA

The Detroit Golf Club will be the location of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Kristen D'Souza and Josie Wenzell

Famous golfers from around the globe are headed to Detroit this summer for the Rocket Mortgage classic, the city’s first PGA tour event. Players 2019 US Open champion Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, and Bubba Watson have committed to the tournament. With some a part of the global top 20 rankings, they make up some of golf’s biggest names. 

The Rocket Mortgage PGA Golf Tour, sponsored by Quicken Loans, will take place on the greens of the Detroit Golf Club from June 25th to June 30th. The event has garnered attention online and in the press; the first professional tour to travel to the Motor City. Competition for the Rocket Mortgage Classic will begin on June 27th, with players vying for a $7.3 million purse. 

But, a big payday for the winner of the tourney won’t be the only financial gain from the event. The golf scene in Detroit also stands to gain from the arrival of professional golf. The Detroit Golf Club has seen increased business with the advent of the tournament, and in the months following the event, the club will carry out renovations to clubhouse infrastructure, adding a pro-shop and upgrading the dining room and patio. 

Though this leg of the tour spans six days, tournament officials intend to make a long-term impact on Detroit-area philanthropy. The main attraction to the tour, a three-hole stretch dubbed ‘Area 313’, poses a challenge for charity: the first player to score an eagle on the 14th hole, a hole-in-one on the 15th hole, and a birdie on the 16th hole (representing scores of 3-1-3, respectively, in homage to Detroit’s 313 area code) will win an impressive total of $313,000 to the benefit of several area nonprofits focused on youth development.

Rocket Mortgage has also donated $2,000 to the Detroit Golf Club Caddy Scholarship Foundation at their press conference last week; the organization supports caddies in fulfilling their academic pursuits.

Photo Credit: PGA
Rocket Mortgage presenting the $2,000 check to the Detroit Golf Club Caddie Scholarship Foundation. (Left to Right) Jason Langwell, Andy Glassberg, Glenda Lewis, Jay Farner, and Randy Gillary.

In addition, the Rocket Mortgage Classic will get community members involved on the grounds themselves. Metro-Detroit volunteers will get a behind-the-scenes look at the big leagues. Event organizers first issued an open call for volunteers in January of 2019, offering access to the grounds for the duration of the tournament as they assist with setup and coordination of spectators. 

Golf fans at Rochester Adams welcome the PGA’s inaugural visit. Brenden Kevelighan is a junior and member of the boys’ junior varsity golf team. Kevelighan, an avid golf fan and player, reminisced on fond memories of the sport, looking forward to finally getting to experience a professional tournament in his community. 

“I have been playing golf ever since I could remember. My dad got me into golf when I was little by starting me with plastic clubs. He played golf in high school and I enjoy it because it gives us father-son bonding time. I am really excited for this upcoming tournament. I will hopefully go to the tournament and meet some of the players. I am rooting for Dustin Johnson,” said Kevelighan.

In addition to being a fan-favorite, Johnson is popular among Adams Highlanders. Carly Ortwine, an Adams sophomore and member of the girls’ varsity golf team, will also attend the tournament. 

“I am most excited to see Dustin Johnson play here in Detroit,” said Ortwine. 

The upcoming tournament boasts an impressive lineup, giving spectators a glimpse of the professional leagues in the Motor City. As the Rocket Mortgage Classic tees off in less than two weeks, stakes are high and fans are excited to see the results of the tourney. The PGA’s inaugural visit to Detroit will be an un‘‘fore’’gettable experience.