Detroit Golf Club Plans Professional Golf Tournament – in 1910

Detroit Golf Club Plans Professional Golf Tournament - in 1910
Detroit Golf Club Plans Professional Golf Tournament – in 1910

The Rocket Mortgage Classic is not the Detroit Golf Club’s first attempt to attract a professional golf tournament to the city. On June 2, 1910, the Detroit Free Press breathlessly reported:

A golf match among the professionals located in Detroit and Michigan for a substantial purse, is a probably [sic] attraction at the Detroit golf club in the near future. Several prominent club members are behind the project, which fact [sic] should insure its success. All members to whom the subject has been mentioned are highly enthusiastic over it and heartily endorse the plan.

That such a match would prove both interesting and instructive to the club members in general is beyond question. The professionals located in Michigan rank high in their class in America, and a match among them would be worth going several miles to see, as the golf game as played by the pros is of the highest class.

Detroit Free Press, June 2, 1910

I have not been able to find another reference to the effort, so I assume that it never materialized.

The same article mentions the excellent conditions at Detroit Golf Club, and the expansion to the club house. The article, however, predates the creation of the club’s current two Donald Ross-designed courses (1913) and the Albert Kahn-designed clubhouse (1916)

The Detroit Golf Club course is in fine condition and is now one of the best golf links in the country. Also, the club house has recently been added to, a special room for ladies having been built and the dining room extended, which makes it one of the most complete country club houses in the west.

Detroit Free Press, June 2, 1910

The proposed tournament was apparently part of an effort by the Detroit Golf Club to attract the Western Golf Association Tournament in 1911. A professional tournament would have showcased the club. The Western Open now is the BMW Championship on the PGA TOUR. For many years, the Western Open was considered a “major” golf tournament.

A large delegation of members is going to Minneapolis in July to compete in the Western Golf Association tourney, and while there will make a bid for next year’s tournament to be played here. Though it’s a bit to early to say, it is believed they will land this tourney for Detroit in 1911. If so, it would mean a big boost for golf locally.

Detroit Free Press, June 2, 1910

Ultimately, the bid was lost to the Kent Country Club in Grand Rapids. The Western Open did not return again to Michigan until 1922, when it was contested at Oakland Hills Country Club.

Now, more than a hundred years later, The Rocket Mortgage Classic becomes the first PGA TOUR tournament held in the city of Detroit. The Rocket Mortgage Classic is June 24 – 30 at Detroit Golf Club.

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