Nearly 2,000 volunteers sign up for a front-row seat at Detroit's PGA Tour stop
Detroit — In preparation for the first PGA Tour tournament to be held in the city, thousands of volunteers gathered for training Friday and Saturday saying their service is worth a front-row seat to the showcase.
Nearly 2,000 golf fans are getting a behind-the-scenes experience as volunteers for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, set for later this month. Volunteers from Metro Detroit spent their weekend picking up their uniforms and training to aid 156 of the top golfers during the world-class event.
The organizers of the Rocket Mortgage Classic anticipate as many or more than 100,000 fans during the event, set for June 25-30 at the Detroit Golf Club.
Each year, more than 100,000 volunteers help orchestrate more than 120 PGA Tour-sanctioned events nationwide. Officials said with the help of the volunteers, the tournaments generated more than $180 million for charitable causes in 2017-18.
Dennis W. Archer, former mayor of Detroit, serves as the tournament’s volunteer general chair, saying the "volunteers are the life and blood of the event."
"Throughout the season for our professional golfers, this is our first time here in the city of Detroit," Archer said. "I have always supported projects and events that help enrich the culture of this great and vibrant city, and bringing a PGA Tour event here is certainly another opportunity to highlight the energy and enthusiasm of Detroit."
The tournament will feature 156 of the world’s top golfers — including Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson (and perhaps Tiger Woods?) — competing for a share of the $7.3-million purse over four days and 72 holes, from June 27-30.
The tournament requires volunteers for admission sales and will call, information, caddie services, fan zone, clubhouse services, laser operators, marshals, media center services, merchandise, player registration, practice facility and scoreboards.
Volunteers work a minimum of two five-hour shifts over the course of tournament week. Volunteers receive a Rocket Mortgage Classic volunteer uniform, parking, meals and tickets to the event. There was a $75 fee to participate for all adult volunteers.
The volunteers picked up their uniforms and received training this week at Detroit Mercy.
"I’ve attended and volunteered at several events over the years and this year, I'm volunteering to marshal for three-and-a-half days as the sidelines police," said Martin Welch, 70, from Bloomfield Hills. "We get a five-day pass to the event, but I just like watching from the view, it's a front row seat to the action."
Jason Langwell, executive director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, said the tournament relies heavily on volunteers, who also get a unique perspective during the event.
“Volunteers play a critical role in creating a captivating and exciting event of this size, as they are quite literally the face and soul of the tournament," Langwell said in an email.
"Our 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."