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Building From The Ground Up: A Tournament Director’s Tips And Tricks For Reimagining Spaces

6-minute read July 14, 2022

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Getting ready to take on a home improvement or renovation can seem like an overwhelming endeavor, especially if you’ve never tackled a big DIY project before. Luckily, you don’t have to go in blind.

As the official build sponsor for the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic, Rocket LoansSM got the chance to meet with Brittany Jeanis, the Rocket Mortgage Classic Tournament Director, about what it takes to build an event space from the ground up – and how homeowners can apply the same skills to their home projects.

Meet The Rocket Mortgage Classic Tournament Director, Brittany Jeanis

Brittany Jeanis worked in the professional golf space for over six years before she became Tournament Director for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. She’s currently just the 3rd female Tournament Director on the PGA TOUR – a title and responsibility she does not take lightly.

“As the Tournament Director, I oversee and lead the operations side, the fulfillment side of our business – which includes the build, vendor management, tournament services, business affairs and volunteers. I also oversee our media and marketing team as well,” Jeanis told us.

The first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic begins July 28th at the Detroit Golf Club, but before any of the pros touch the course, Jeanis is responsible for getting a massive-scale build put together in just 2 and a half months. This build includes all the structures fans see and interact with throughout the tournament, from drink tents to areas for fans to take a break and sit in the shade.

“It's a large responsibility to host a tournament this size on a global scale,” Jeanis said. “It can sometimes be overwhelming, and I think it’s important to keep in mind that that's okay.”

How To Navigate A Home Transformation, Rocket Mortgage Classic Style

In her time overseeing the massive outdoor build for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Brittany Jeanis has learned a lot about transforming spaces. She shared a few of her best tips and tricks with us to help homeowners that might be attempting to do big renovations of their own – from building a new patio to turning a spare room into a home office.

1. Come Up With A Vision

“Starting from a blank slate, whether you’re at Detroit Golf Club or you’re starting a renovation at your home or in your backyard, I think it’s all very similar in nature,” Jeanis said. “You have to come up with your vision.”

That means that before you can start building anything, you need to know how you want the end result to look. If you’re adding a deck or porch to your home, think about the type of wood you want to use. What will the railing look like? How much space should it take up?

Jeanis says the process for coming up with a vision for the Rocket Mortgage Classic build is not so different from starting a big project in your own house or backyard.

“The overall management of the areas is very similar to when you're at home. Think of a room in your house and you want it to be your office space. What do you need for that office space? You need a TV; you need a monitor, and you probably need a desk. What are those things that come into play?”

2. Put Together Your Budget

Once you have a good idea of what you want to accomplish with your project, it’s time to tackle the budget.

“On any scale, you have to figure out what your budget is, what you can afford, and then how does that come into play,” Jeanis said.

According to June 2022 data from HomeAdvisor, a DIY home renovation could cost you anywhere from around $3,911 – $20,980, though your costs could be much higher or much lower depending on what you’re doing. With such a big range, it’s important to think about everything you want to accomplish and get cost estimates for materials written down. If you’ll be working with contractors, get multiple quotes to determine where you can get the best service for the lowest cost.

And most importantly, remember things won’t always cost exactly what you predict. It’s a good idea to leave some breathing room in any budget in case of changing plans and circumstances.

“We’re experiencing supply chain issues,” Jeanis told us as an example. “Some of our yarn for carpet comes in from overseas. That ended up causing a bit of an impact a few months ago, and we had to pivot and look at a new product. And fuel – everyone is aware of what's happening with fuel right now. We can’t run a golf tournament without generators and temporary air conditioners, which require diesel.”

It's important to be able to shift your budget to accommodate for situations like these. So, before you dedicate every last dollar that you’ve set aside to a specific purpose, remember to make room for things to go wrong, too.

3. Get Organized

When you have a solid budget in place, you can finally start putting wheels in motion and getting your project off the ground. If you’re working on a tight schedule like Jeanis is with the Rocket Mortgage Classic build, she says it’s important to keep organized if you want to stay as productive as possible.

“We work 2 and a half months for the build. Obviously, we work year-round for the tournament, but for the build that’s when things really start to pick up. You really have to have that domino effect of, as soon as this vendor is done, these 5 come, and then the other 4, and then the other 3… and so on and so forth,” Jeanis explained.

“Timelines are our number one priority when hosting an event. They're important to us and to our vendor partners that are coming out here, whether its carpet or scaffolding or air conditioners, gas…. I mean, you can go down the list. We work with 120 partners.”

With 120 partners, there is a lot to keep organized, from supplies to installation schedules. Jeanis shared with us some of the numbers. To put the build together, they needed 20 trucks of scaffolding. 20 trucks of lumber. 80 tents. 1,500 seats. 186 rolls of carpet, amounting to about 230,000 square feet. That’s a lot of carpet.

While you likely won’t have the receipts for 186 rolls of carpet to keep track of, it may be wise to keep your own project organized down to the numbers, too. It’s a good idea to get in writing everything that you need to accomplish. That means keeping a record of purchases, scheduled work and anything else you may need to reference.

“We use an excel spreadsheet, it’s as simple as that,” Jeanis said. “You work with the dates that everyone is comfortable with, and you’re flexible where you need to be in order to meet that goal.”

4. Be Ready To Pivot

As Jeanis mentioned earlier, things don’t always go as planned. Just like the roadblocks she and her team ran into with yarn and fuel, homeowners are likely to hit a few bumps of their own on their home projects.

“Things are going to get crazy. They’re going to get chaotic; they’re going to get stressful. Some things are going to go really well, and some things are going to go really bad,” Jeanis told us. “But that ends up being my favorite part of the job.”

“I know my team really embraces that, because when we get to Sunday and that champion holds that trophy, and we're out there with Rocket Mortgage and all our partners here at Detroit Golf Club, it makes it all worth it.”

If your own project experiences a setback – like improperly wired kitchen outlets, appliance shipping delays, whatever it may be – don’t panic. It happens to the best of us. The only thing you can do is be ready to pivot, make some calls and fix the problem the best that you can.

5. Take A Deep Breath

“When you become overwhelmed, I think its natural. It’s going to happen. You just have to work on destressing and doing what works best for you. Whether it’s going for a jog, reading a book, maybe a nice patio to enjoy the beautiful Michigan weather,” Jeanis suggested. “There’s a variety of ways I personally destress a little bit.”

Transforming any space can be stressful, whether it’s your bathroom or an entire golf course. Jeanis says one of the most important parts of the process is remembering to relax and remind yourself that you took on the project for a reason.

“It’s easy to get stressed when something goes wrong or a wall doesn’t go up in time, the paint color doesn’t match the way you thought… but you still have to think of what the long-term goal is. And that's a space that you decided to change for the better, or you just wanted to have a new experience inside your home. You really need to enjoy that process, because when you get to the finish line, you’ve got a new place you can be excited about that you want to show off to your friends.”

The Bottom Line

While the scale of the project might be a little larger, the Rocket Mortgage Classic build isn’t so different from the types of builds homeowners take on in their own houses and yards every year. We asked Jeanis if she had a final word of advice for homeowners tackling their own projects this summer.

“Have fun with it,” Jeanis said. “You've really got to enjoy the process.”

Ready to put your home improvement plans into action? A personal loan is a great tool to help you pay for your plans. Get started today with Rocket Loans.

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