Ally Challenge is back with fans, special events



The iconic 17th hole at Warwick Hills will be surrounded by spectators this year for the Ally Challenge. Photo by Ben Gagnon

The iconic 17th hole at Warwick Hills will be surrounded by spectators this year for the Ally Challenge. Photo by Ben Gagnon

GRAND BLANC TWP. — The Ally Challenge presented by McLaren will be returning to Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club this month with a full slate of events to complement three days of PGA Champions Tour action.

Entering its fourth year, the Ally Challenge will kick off with Pro-Am pairings on Aug. 25 and 26 and continue with PGA Champions tournament play on Aug. 27-29. Currently, 18 of the top 20 golfers in the Charles Schwab Cup standings have committed to play at Warwick Hills, including defending Ally Challenge champion Jim Furyk and 2019 Ally Challenge champion Jerry Kelly.

“We’re very fortunate to be playing at a course like Warwick with such a long history in professional golf,” said Matt Stepnes, Tournament Director for The Ally Challenge presented by McLaren. “It’s a walk down memory lane for the players. They grew up loving the course and they still love it and the community.”

With spectators back at full capacity for this year’s tournament, organizers have announced the return of fan-friendly activities, including the Fan Zone presented by C&L Ward. This interactive fan destination will be located next to the famed 17th hole at Warwick Hills and will be open Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Patrons visiting the Fan Zone will be treated to several available activities, including the popular island chip shot, which has been renamed as the Bucket Savings Challenge. Presented by title sponsor Ally Financial, the Bucket Savings Challenge allows participants to target “saving” for a vacation, house or car and win prizes corresponding to that savings goal. Ally introduced the savings bucket tools to its online savings accounts last year.

Ally Financial will also be bringing back the Ally Deck at 17 with an upgraded viewing experience, photo ops and giveaways.

Another golf skills event located in the Fan Zone will be the McLaren Bunker Challenge, which will offer golf fans of all ages a chance to sink a shot out of a bunker onto a mini green that will be screened in for safety.

The Bunker Challenge will be hosted by McLaren volunteers and offer prizes for golf fans who sink the shot. Displays along the waiting area for the bunker shot will also highlight various McLaren services, including the McLarenNow telehealth service, which allows patients to virtually connect with a board-certified physician, 24/7, via their phone, laptop or computer with a web cam.

Family Fun Night is also back this year with festivities on Aug. 27 at the 17th hole. Admission to Family Fun Night will be free for all families and will include golf stations, live music and free pizza and soda for kids.

Also returning in 2021 is the Ally Challenge’s Community Concert, which will be headlined by Grammy and CMA-award winning country music group Little Big Town. The concert will be held at Warwick Hills’ driving range on Aug. 28 following the tournament’s second round of competition. Admission for the concert will be included with the purchase of a ticket for the second round.

Once second round play wraps up on Aug. 28, fans will get to see the return of the Ally Challenge’s Celebrity Shootout—a marquee foursome featuring 18-time Major champion Jack Nicklaus, World Golf Hall of Famer Lee Trevino, Michigan State University Men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo and an additional celebrity who will soon be named. The foursome will play a nine-hole team scramble exhibition match to benefit charity.

Andrea Brimmer, Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer for Ally Financial, said that the return of fans and special events is poised to create a lively and inspiring atmosphere for the golfers.

“The players all love the course, and they get excited because they’re not used to big crowds anymore,” she said. “The bigger the crowds are out there, the more they feed off the energy.”

All three rounds of The Ally Challenge presented by McLaren will be broadcast on Golf Channel. To purchase tickets and view more tournament information, visit theallychallenge.com.