Dow GLBI getting ready to tee off

Hosting 144 of the world’s top golfers, this year’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (GLBI) will be held at the Midland Country Club, July 17 - 22. As the Title Sponsor, Dow and many other sponsors, together with the LPGA, Outlyr Event Management and over 1,200 volunteers have created an event elevating women in sports, carrying with it a $2.7 million purse. A press release listing the field is expected shortly after July 4.

For $10 a day or $25 for the week (kids under 17 are free), the MCC will host a unique two-person team-format tournament and an array of fun things to do including the Eat Great Food Festival, hospitality venues and displays, a suite for veterans, and family-friendly activities. “We try to make this as accessible as possible through a low ticket price and a variety of events throughout the week,” says Wendy Traschen, Dow GLBI Tournament Director. A couple of these are the First Tee youth clinic on Monday, June 17 and a Special Olympics outing on Friday, June 21.

Tickets are available online at, as is a full-schedule of events, television times, and information about free parking and shuttle service from Dow Diamond.

The Special Olympics outing will be held on Fri, July 21 at this year's tournament.
Midland Country Club Head Golf Pro Jim Deiters says he’s very proud of the event and feels fortunate to be a part of it. Despite the approximately 10 weeks of staging work on the golf course needed to host the tournament, sometimes causing interference to regular golf play, the membership is very supportive. Deiters estimates maybe half or more of the volunteer force comes from membership, many playing key roles. “This is the most community involvement I’ve ever seen in my career,” he says.
First tee at the 2021 Dow GLBIIf watching some of the best female athletes do what they love is not enough to entice you, perhaps the community aspect will. “The tournament literally brings four counties [Bay, Midland, Isabella and Saginaw which comprise The Great Lakes Bay Region] together. Everyone offers their skills and expertise, and we find a way to use it,” Traschen says. “Even if you hate golf, you have to be impressed. The women sign autographs, talk with people . . . It’s such a great memory, especially for young kids.”

Unique Youth Pro-Am Caddy Program First of its Kind

The Pro-Am takes center stage on Tuesday, July 18. It’s essentially a charity scramble with four amateurs and one pro, says Gerry Wasserman, Chairman of the Youth Pro-Am Caddy Program and Youth Standard Bearers. Wasserman says participating in this capacity “is a heck of a deal from a kid perspective. They have the best seat in the house.”
According to Wasserman, the “kid caddy” is linked directly with a local or global business leader (or their guest or employee) and a pro golfer and her caddy. “They’re all walking and talking, and the kids get one-on-one interaction during the round. Sometimes the amateurs even let the kid take a shot for them.” In addition to the incredible experience plus food and beverages, kid caddies designate $25 to a club, organization or sport, earn seven hours of community service hours, and get paid $30 plus possible tips.
One of the ways teens can get involved in the tournament is to serve as a standard bearer.
Another way for kids to get involved is by being Standard Bearers. “You’re basically a walking scoreboard paired with an official scorer,” Wasserman says. “We train ‘em up; they’re taught how to change the numbers, how to hold the standard, and things about golf etiquette.” Like the caddies who earn volunteer hours, have access to food and beverages, and designate $25 to a group of their choice, Standard Bearers receive a pink tournament t-shirt, a visor or hat, a weekly Dow GLBI pass for themselves as well as two additional passes.

Rounding up the nearly 200 kids needed for caddying and standard bearing is no small feat. Wasserman says that among the many organizational details required of his job, recruitment is the biggest one. Wasserman tries to get kids from the entire Great Lakes Bay region by contacting school principals, coaches, junior golf programs, scout troops, country club kids and the like. He says, “We have about 25 - 30% from outside of Midland, and there is a pretty even balance of boys and girls.”

For those interested, standard bearers are still needed, and there are some limited opportunities for caddies. Youth ages 13 - 22 are encouraged to go to the Dow GLBI website and sign-up under the volunteer drop-down. Wasserman says, “This program is very unique. It’s a great experience.”

Program Gives $1.5 million to Local Nonprofits Since Inception

Traschen’s team consists of several Outlyr staff members who lead major components of this event. One of these people is Special Events Intern Kiara Peterman who oversees the Community Impact Program. Since the Dow GLBI is nonprofit, all revenue goes back to nonprofits. Peterman says there are two parts of this giving. “Everyday there is a charity that is selected for The Daily Charity Giveback program. They each receive $10 thousand and are able to promote their organization on the course in the Daily Give-back Tent.” This year’s groups include: Great Lakes Bay Pride, American Cancer Society, Bierlein Diabetes Foundation, 211 Northeast Michigan, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and MyMichigan Health Foundation.

Friends of NAMI Midland showed their support for their #TeamUp golfers and drew attention to one of NAMI's causes at the 2021 Dow GLBI.
“The other part,” Peterman says, “is the #TeamUp for the Dow Great Lakes Bay Region grant program where nonprofits apply by outlining programming needs and things they want to do. We pair them up with golfers, and depending on how the golfers do, is how much money they get. Every charity gets $4,500 just for being selected, but there are other opportunities during the week for them to raise money.”

According to the Dow GLBI website, nonprofits are chosen based on STEM education, sustainability, DEI, community resilience, and innovation. Each year seven are selected from each county in the region and another eight are chosen based on services provided across the region.
There are many great venues to watch the Dow GLBI.
A fun aspect of the #TeamUp, Peterman says is “during the tournament, we see charities that have made signs, t-shirts, or hats following their teams and cheering them on throughout the week. Some charities have pins or buttons that are specific to their organization, and they give their players gifts. In the past, we have seen players display these buttons or pins on their hats or their golf bags.”

Traschen says, “Our main goal [of the Dow GLBI] is to make a great impact on this region by coming together, which has been shown by giving back $2 million in the first four years of the tournament. [We have] a golf course that’s ready, food and beverages, and great things for families to do. How lucky are we to have these incredible athletes right here in Central Michigan. Why wouldn’t you want to see these women play?” 

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Read more articles by Amy Hutchinson.

Amy Hutchinson retired from the Midland Public Schools in 2018 after 32 years at Midland High School. During that time she taught Journalism and English, advised the student newspaper Focus, and served as department head of English and World Language, International Baccalaureate Coordinator, and Assistant Principal. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Central Michigan University and was a Gerstacker Fellow at Saginaw Valley State University. She volunteers for Midland County Senior Services and her church, the United Church of Christ. Amy works part-time at Eastman Party Store. She enjoys gardening, golfing, swimming, traveling, and cooking.