Big course, little details

A closer look at what goes into maintaining TPC Deere Run

SILVIS, Ill. - The Agronomy team at TPC Deere Run has been preparing for this week's tournament since the end of last year's. The little details that go into maintaining a 120 acre gold course may be surprising.

"People are coming out to enjoy our property and they enjoy it in different ways, said TPC Deere Run Superintendent Alex Stuedemann. "Whether it is Jordan Spieth and Ryan Moore and Bryan Harman or my college buddies coming in to play 18 holes."

A lot of what they do at the course is crunched down to tiny numbers. Much of their 120 acres of golf course is mowed by walk mowers. The greens are cut down to exact numbers. 

"We may go out there and say well the greens could be a little quicker today," said Stuedemann. "Let's go down five more thousandths, 0.095 of an inch, and we have equipment and and staff that can set up equipment to do that."

Staff measure the quickness and moisture of a green to precise measurements. They tests clean, dry golf balls for their distance by  hand. They could take more than 200 moisture measures from different spots on the green before they decide to water it. 

"When we fertilize we're going out at five hundredths of a pound of a nutrient," said Stuedemann. "We're applying products that can fit into an eye dropper that are covering an acre of turf."

TPC Deere Run is almost 400 acres total, with 120 of that being the gold course itself. The rest is preserved forest and prairie. 

The agronomy team at TPC Deere Run wins environmental awards in the region every year, and won a national recognition as a Environment Leader in Golf in 2016. Stuedemann says a lot of that success comes from their precise measurement, and only using what they need to maintain a beautiful course.

In addition, they are committed to preserving the natural environment they have in Silvis. 

"We're not trying to maintain turf and golf property line to property line," said Stuedemann. "Yes we host a PGA tour event but but that can all be done in that context of preserving what we've been given."

With the John Deere Classic at hand, all of the small details come into place. 

"We're just ready to go and attack whatever's presented to us," said TPC Deere Run Superintendent Alex Stuedemann.

Studemann and his team of about a dozen have been planning all year. He says it's all about organization,and about working to improve from tournament to tournament. 

"It's not so much thinking about what's happening in an hour, it's more it's more about what's happening next month," said Stuedemann. "Where were we successful? What really hit the homerun? And then that kind of goes into the next conversation of on 'OK, we've got to up our ante'."

There is a low that goes into the agronomy and maintenance of a course like TPC Deere Run. Now that the tournament is upon us, the team is looking at finite details. 

"Now we're just looking at the little details, the things that are maybe not fully impactful on on the players per say but on the overall presentation of the golf course."

That can be anything from mowing the green a hair shorter, or putting extra dye in the ponds to make them pop on the national broadcasts. 

They also bring in volunteers from all over the nation who want to be a part of what they do at TPC Deere Run. Some even come from across the globe, including one from Australia for this 2017 tournament. They stay for about two weeks. 

"We try to be phantoms out there," said Stuedemann. "Nobody knows how the golf course gets maintained but you could see upwards of 5000 hours out of hour staff maintaining this golf course, but at the end of the week we're not even tired. We're so happy and take so much pride in not only what we've done to make a pretty golf course but to see what the community gets."

Then, it's some basic maintenance but mostly watching the magic happen. 

"Once the tournament's here we've done what we can do, we're not going to change it. so to be able to sit back and see all that happen in front of us is for me the most rewarding."

We will have more about what Stuedemann and his team does throughout the JDC tournament. Lynn McGraw and Ed O'Neill. O'Neill spoke and said it's about encouraging participation in city government.

"When you move down the trail and you have people with 2-3 kids who have baseball games and other obligations, you have to have something that's going to draw them in."

 


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