Detroit — It takes a village to host the PGA Tour in the city.
Officials for the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic this week announced plans to accept more than 2,000 volunteers for the PGA Tour's first-ever stop in the city of Detroit, scheduled for the week of June 25-30 at Detroit Golf Club.
Volunteering is a good way to get into the tournament for free, but also get behind-the-scenes access and up-close interactions with some of the game's greatest golfers.
"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," said Jason Langwell, executive director of the tournament. "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.”
To sign up, fans can visit RocketMortgageClassic.com and click on "Volunteer."
Many positions are available, including: admission sales and will call; ambassadors and information; caddie services; fan zone; hospitality and clubhouse guest services; laser operators; marshals; media center services; merchandise; player registration and services; practice facility; pro-am services; standard bearers; tee refreshments; ticket and credential scanning; transportation; walking scorers; and volunteer services.
You must be 18 or older to be considered for most positions, with the exception of standard bearers, who walk with groups and hold score signs. Those can be 16 and 17, and that's one of the coolest jobs at a PGA Tour tournament. Standard bearers get an inside-the-ropes view of the action, and almost always get signed golf balls from their group at the conclusion of the round.
Volunteers must commit to working two five-hour shifts during tournament week, whether practice days or competition days (June 27-30).
The cost is $75 for adults. Yes, you have to pay to volunteer, but it's a good deal. That gets you tournament apparel to wear, free parking, meals and tickets.
Former Detroit mayor Dennis Archer is the tournament's volunteer general chair.
"Bringing a PGA Tour event here is certainly another opportunity to highlight the energy and enthusiasm of Detroit," Archer said.
Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans — of which Rocket Mortgage is the digital mortgage brand — long has worked to bring a PGA Tour tournament to Detroit, and when his sponsorship contract was up for The National based outside Washington, D.C., he agreed to fund The National for one more year in exchange for Detroit getting on the schedule in its place. The tournament has a four-year contract for Detroit.
The field is unknown at this point, though it's likely to include some big names such as Rickie Fowler, a Quicken Loans pitchman, and Jason Day, a season-ticket holder for Gilbert's Cleveland Cavaliers. Tiger Woods also could be in the mix, given his foundation benefited for several years from Gilbert's sponsorship of The National. The Rocket Giving Fund will be the main beneficiary for the Detroit tournament. Player commitments should start trickling in over the coming weeks.
The purse will be $7.3 million.
Tournament organizers say tickets will go on sale soon at RocketMortgageClassic.com.
This will be Michigan's first regular PGA Tour stop since the automobile industry's collapse brought an end to the Buick Open in Grand Blanc in 2009.