Rocket Mortgage Classic trophy 'a whole different realm' for creator

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Danny Lee tees off on the 10th hole, with the trophy in the background.

Detroit — Brian DuBois has made some interesting trophies before, and he specializes in creating custom furniture.

But this project — building the trophy for the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic — was among the most special assignments he can recall.

"This is like a whole different realm for me," DuBois said earlier this week, before the PGA Tour tournament got under way Thursday morning at Detroit Golf Club. "When someone wins it, I can say, 'Oh, yeah, I made that.'

"It's a bigger 'Ahhhh' moment for me."

The trophy for the Rocket Mortgage Classic isn't your typical championship fare. It's not a cup, or made of glass. It's definitely unique, the red ring of the Rocket Mortgage logo serving as the golf ball, on a tee, and all that on a heavy base. It combines three important elements — golf, sponsor's logo and a metallic theme that screams Detroit.

Brian DuBois

DuBois, who lives in Ferndale and has his shop in Hazel Park, received the assignment earlier this year, hired by Rossetti. Rossetti's team, specifically Kelly Deines, gave DuBois a concept, and he did the rest.

The end result was a trophy that weighs about 50 pounds, stands about 2 feet tall, and features a steel base — the bulk of the weight — as well as an aluminum tee, with the ring being hollowed-out aluminum. He didn't want it to be too top-heavy.

The whole process, which took about a month, involved engineering, fabrication, welding, painting, and a little bit of outsourcing for some milling.

"I think it came out great, obviously," DuBois said, with a laugh. "You know, the trophy design is a lot different than your typical other designs you see out there. It's a little bit more artistic, it has a little more creativity to it — kind of like a trophy and a sculpture.

"Kind of like a treasured emblem of victory."

The Rocket Mortgage Classic trophy.

DuBois, has worked with Quicken Loans before, making conference tables, and those downtown Detroit bike racks you see, commissioned by Bedrock. He's done some work on exhibits for Detroit's auto show. His art and designs are sprinkled throughout Metro Detroit, and in the city, like at Dilla's Delights, the organic doughnut shop on John R.

Still, this was a different animal. The previous trophies he's designed were on a much smaller scale, like for the Fowling Warehouse in Hamtramck.

This trophy could become a sort-of symbol of Detroit, and seen my millions of people across the country, should the trophy presentation be aired on CBS come Sunday night.

"It was a really good opportunity for me," DuBois said.

DuBois grew up in River Rouge and earned an undergraduate degree in architecture from Detroit Mercy. He attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, earning his Master of Fine Arts degree in 2011.

It's that Cranbrook connection that might've gotten him the guy. Rossetti's Deines also is a Cranbrook alum, though they weren't there at the same time.

DuBois, 43, finished two of three weeks ago with the first trophy — he built two, one for the champion, and one for the tournament to keep and put on display. Quicken even sent a film crew to do a short documentary, so he had one done, and one in the works. In that regard, he laughed, it was very cooking show-like, with one cake all ready to come out of the oven, while you stir the ingredients for camera's sake.

And for the most part, the whole process was smooth sailing, with very few re-dos or start-overs or slip-ups. There were tweaks, as there always are, but he always was prepared. That's part of the job. In a way, it's like chess.

"Sometimes I like to think a couple steps ahead," DuBois said. "It's cheap insurance."

The trophy will be on display on the first and 10th tees throughout the four days of play at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, before being presented to the inaugural winner Sunday.

For more on DuBois' work, you can check out his websites,, and

Twitter: @tonypaul1984