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Get ready for 125,000-plus people in town



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Keith Aldridge stands still, but only for the picture. These days he is busy preparing Indianwood Golf and Country Club for the 2012 US Senior Open. (click for larger version)
June 22, 2011 - It is still over a year away, but folks over at Inidanwood Golf & Country Club are busy getting ready for the 2012 US Senior Golf Open slated to take place at the Orion course the week of July 9 thru 15.

"We are in the thick of it," said Keith Aldridge, Championship Director and Vice President of Operations at Indianwood. "It takes a tremendous effort to plan something this big when you consider all the logistics."

Logistics means taking care of such things as: Where will people park? Will there be shuttle service? Who is selling beer, wine, spirits, concessions and a myriad of other details that need to be handled when professional golfers, international media and over 100,000 extra people all converge to one location.

"We're well into planning," he said.

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According to Aldridge, this week tickets for the event go on sale on-line at www.USSeniorOpen.com.

"The USGA (United States Golf Association) is very bullish on Michigan. The last two majors we hosted we had 125,000-plus people they expect more people," Aldridge said, adding, "The USGA estimates the US Senior Open will have a $30 million to $35 million impact on the local economy . . . it will be a nice shot in the arm for Lake Orion."

Indianwood was selected to host the 2012 Senior Open in November of 2007 planning has gone on ever since.

This week, Aldridge has planned meeting with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department for upping law enforcement presence during the open and a meeting with Orion Township Parks and Recreation for parking options. "We are also working with Lake Orion Schools to use buses for shuttle rides from parking areas to the country club," he said.

One of the daunting "logistics" Aldridge is working on, is filling out the vendor list finding who will offer what during the open. He has added a layer of difficulty to his task because he is trying to fill out that list with local vendors. "We would like this to be a positive for the entire area," he said.

Already signed up are Andiamo's (for catering and concessions), Powers Distributing (beverages), Great Lakes Wine & Spirits (wine and liquor), Motorola and Morel corporations.

"I want to reach out to the community," Aldridge said. "People can contact me directly not if they want to volunteer but if they want to be sponsor or have other questions."

Speaking of volunteers, Aldridge said over 2,500 will be needed, and the person in charge of finding and coordinating volunteer efforts is Championship Coordinator Susan Brown.

"We have 300 volunteers officially signed up and another couple of hundred waiting in the wings for me to contact," Brown said.

Indianwood members will chair the different volunteer committees. Currently, Brown is soliciting other area private country club members to help marshal around the holes. If members of the community wish to volunteer, Brown said they can register on-line at www.USSeniorOpen.com or e-mail her questions to SBrown@IWGCC.com

Aldridge can be contacted by calling 248-693-9100.

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Indianwood Golf and Country Club is no stranger to hosting a major open. In 1989 and 1994 U.S. W omen's Open Golf Championships won by Betsy King and Patty Sheehan, respectively. Indianwood was opened in 1925 and was co-designed by Scottish course architects William Connellan and Wilfrid Reid (Reid also designed the famous Olympic Club in San Francisco).

Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: don@dontrushmedon.com
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