Every summer, the greatest golfers in the world invade Akron for the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.
For fans who normally get to watch PGA players on TV, the event is an opportunity to get up close and personal with players. Aside from following players around the iconic 18-hole South Course layout, fans also have opportunities to watch players practice on the driving range or putting green, or grab an autograph.
This year’s event will be held June 29 through July 3.
Typically, the Bridgestone is held in August. However, it was moved up this year because golf is returning to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro from August 11 to 14. The Bridgestone is expected to move back to August next year.
Often ranked among the top courses in the country, the historic Firestone Country Club also includes a West and North course, for 54 holes in all, though the professionals play on the South course.
The country club’s roots date to 1915 when Harvey Firestone bought 1,000 acres of farmland south of the Firestone tire and rubber plant. He envisioned a community of homes, churches, schools and shops for employees of the company, and the neighborhood became known as Firestone Park.
Work on the country club itself began in 1929. Over the years, it has hosted three PGA Championships, the World Series of Golf, the American Golf Classic and now the Bridgestone tourney.
Last year’s champ was Shane Lowry.
The list of professional event winners at Firestone over the years reads like a roll call of the greatest players in history. It includes the likes of Tiger Woods,
Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson and Lee Trevino.
The 7,000-plus yards layout was originally designed by Bert Way, then re-designed in 1960 by Robert Trent Jones. In 1985, a Nicklaus-affiliated company came in for yet another redesign of the course.
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