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A behind-the-scenes look at the John Deere Classic

By |  July 1, 2022 0 Comments

Alex Stuedemann, CGCS and director of golf course maintenance for TPC Deere Run is in good spirits. It’s the day before the first tee-off of the John Deere Classic’s pro-am contest and the weather — for once — is just about ideal.

“We’ve had a very weird weather pattern over the last few weeks — very hot with some rain, heavy winds and doing that all in amongst tournament prep can be very challenging for our crew,” he says. “Fortunately, we had a little front move through on Saturday morning and our tournament prep out here at TPC Deere Run has moved into to full charge and it’s warm but dry.”

Stuedemann took Golfdom around for an afternoon ride-along before the tournament kicked off.

This year’s tournament is essentially Stuedemann’s swan song as he’s moving on to become director of TPC agronomy for the PGA Tour in September.

Incoming TPC Deere Run superintendent Jonathan Graham takes in tournament prep with Alex Stuedemann, CGCS, director of golf course maintenance. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

Incoming TPC Deere Run superintendent Jonathan Graham takes in tournament prep with Alex Stuedemann, CGCS, director of golf course maintenance. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

Stuedemann says this move is an opportunity to let Jonathan Graham, a former assistant superintendent and intern of his, have a chance to run the course. He said he’s most looking forward to helping other superintendents at TPC courses grow into roles as others helped him. Graham is currently the senior assistant superintendent at TPC San Antonio.

Graham was in town for the tournament prep, riding around with Stuedemann to learn the ins and outs of running this PGA tour stop.

“Hopefully we don’t scare him away from coming back,” Stuedemann joked to the crew and volunteers before evening maintenance the day before the pro-am tournament.

Stuedemann is quick to share the credit with his crew of 22 and 38 tournament maintenance volunteers for getting the course and grounds ready.

Alex Stuedemann, CGSC, and Jonathan Graham check out the green speeds on the No. 11 hole at TPC Deere Run ahead of the start of the John Deere Classic. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

Alex Stuedemann, CGCS, and Jonathan Graham check out the green speeds on the 11th hole at TPC Deere Run ahead of the start of the John Deere Classic. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

“Our 22 staff and 38 volunteers are knocking it out of the park and getting the golf course prepared for the first day of competition,” he says.

Stuedemann says his plan for the tournament is to watch play on the holes with major bunker renovations, No. 2, No. 8 and No. 13.

“We made significant renovations,” he says, noting he wants to see if the new looks trick the pros on the course.

He said he plans to get a pork sandwich from TPC Deere Run’s “Porkchop Hill” and a Whitey’s cherry bomb ice cream slushy.

After the first round of play, PGA pro Zach Johnson said, “This might have been the toughest this course has played in about a decade.”

And after an afternoon with Stuedemann, it’s easy to see that the famous John Deere slogan, “Nothing runs like a Deere” also applies to the John Deere Classic as well.

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