Great Lakes Bay Invitational set to tee off in July

From July 12-17, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) golf tour returns to the Midland Country Club, with competition taking place from July 14-17. One hundred and forty-four of the best golfers in the world will visit the area, coupled with support from hundreds of volunteers to raise money for 36 local charities. 
 
It’s time to get your tickets online. They’re $10 for daily tickets (Wednesday-Saturday) or $25 for weekly tickets. Monday and Tuesday admission are free during the practice rounds and pro-am. Kids 17 years and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult. All military personnel and veterans can receive one free daily admission ticket each day. General admission parking is $5 a day at Dow Diamond or $15 weekly, with shuttles available.

The Dow GLBI is played with 72 two-women teams competing for $2.3 million purse..The Dow GLBI is played with 72 two-women teams competing in a 72-hole stroke play format with alternating rounds of foursomes (alternate shot) and four-ball (best ball). 
 
“Those women golfers have quite a game, and their finesse is pretty phenomenal,” says Wendy Traschen, Dow GLBI tournament director. “We can’t thank our title sponsor Dow enough. Thirty-six charities will have the opportunity to be paired up with a golfing team. Everybody gets $2,500 per team, so it’s a great opportunity to showcase their nonprofits but also to learn a little bit about golf and the golfers they’re paired up with.”

One of the goals of the tournament is to give back to the community. Thirty-six nonprofits have been paired with a golfing team to raise money for their cause.While the week-long event aims to raise funds for the local community, it also requires lots of local helpers. 
 
“It takes a village to be able to put on this tournament. We have over 1,000 volunteers that have signed up,” Traschen says. “The other thing is that it has a big financial impact in the region. In 2019, $12.7 million was given back to the region. Everything from the building to the food. We’re very proud of working with local businesses in the Great Lakes Bay Region to keep things locally ... especially given the fact that a lot of small businesses have been hit with COVID.”
 
Attendees can enjoy local cuisine while supporting nearby restaurants with Eat Great pop-up events and the Eat Great Trail at the Dow GLBI. At the center of the tournament is the Invitational itself, but Traschen says the event encompasses community events for all ages within the weeklong event, including opening ceremonies, pro-am, junior clinic, putt-putt golf, Special Olympics three-hole challenge, sustainability summit, traditional bagpipers, and closing ceremonies.
 
Despite having the Eat Great Festival canceled in Bay City, attendees can still enjoy local cuisine while supporting nearby restaurants with Eat Great pop-up events and the Eat Great Trail at the Dow GLBI. Trail ticket holders can choose from a variety of menu items at different hospitality zones scattered throughout the country club. For the entire schedule of events, visit the website.

Traschen says she is grateful for the ongoing support from sponsors, especially after a tumultuous year. 

“We’re very proud of the amount of sponsors that have come forward this year who saw the value and the need of these nonprofits who haven’t been able to have their traditional fundraising.”

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at spohn9@gmail.com.
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