Lakes area golf enthusiasts will not have to travel far out of the area to see some of the world’s greatest golfers in action this weekend.
The 2012 U.S. Senior Open will be played at the Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Lake Orion from tomorrow, Thursday, July 12 through Sunday, July 15, and plenty of tickets are still available for the major championship tournament.
“This is our greatest milestone ever,” said Keith Aldridge, the tournament’s director. “It’s the biggest tournament we’ll get and we’ve had an absence of professional golf in southeast Michigan.”
Participants scheduled to play at the Senior Open include a slate of golf’s greats, including Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Hale Irwin, Bernard Langer, Tom Kite and Fuzzy Zoeller.
The par-70 course measures 6,862 yards. Olin Browne is the defending Senior Open champion.
Tickets are priced at $40 for admission on Thursday through Sunday for adults, while children 17-years-old and under are admitted free with a paying adult.
There will also be a practice round today, Wednesday, June 11, with tickets priced at $20 and all retired and active military personnel receiving free admittance with a military ID.
Gates open one hour before the first tee times, which are at 7:30 a.m. today through Friday and at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets can be purchased either online at www.2012ussenioropen.com, by calling 248-693-OPEN or at Kroger grocery stores in southeast Michigan. Tickets will also be sold at the door at Indianwood the days of the event.
Parking is free for spectators at Friendship Park on the corner of Baldwin and Clarkston roads, where there will be shuttles running continually to take them to and from Indianwood.
The Senior Open will help fill a void of major professional golf that has been missing in southeast Michigan the last few years.
The Ford Senior Players Championship was last played at the Tournament Players Club in Dearborn in 2006, ending a 16-year run at TPC-Dearborn.
Then in 2009, the final Buick Open was played at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc, as the PGA Tour has since left the state of Michigan off its regular tour schedule.
In the past, if lakes area golf fans wanted to see a major championship, they would have to go to Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, which hosted the 2004 Ryder Cup and the 2008 PGA Championship.
But this year’s Senior Open is a moment that Indianwood and its owner, Stan Aldridge, have been waiting years for.
Indianwood hosted two U.S. Women’s Open championships in 1989 and 1994, with the latter coming after the United States Golf Association called Stan Aldridge in 1993 and asked him if his club would host the tournament.
“They took the event away from (Butler National) because it didn’t admit minority or female members,” Keith Aldridge said. “(Stan) said yes and requested a future senior event. David Fay became the executive director of the United States Golf Association at the 1989 Women’s Open and he’s had a soft spot for Indianwood.”
Then in 2007, after the Senior Players Championship left the TPC-Dearborn, Stan Aldridge finally received the call he was waiting for. He was asked if his club would host the 2012 Senior Open, completing a resurrection of Indianwood that began with his purchase of the club in 1981.
Keith Aldridge said that for the last three years the Indianwood crew has been getting the course ready. He has been working on lining up vendors and doing logistical work the last 18 months.
“We moved some tees back and pushed some fairway bunkers in the landing area,” Keith Aldridge said. “The fans are in for a great experience. There are no trees, so it’s wide open. You can watch eight holes of golf from the bleachers at the No. 14 green.”