In the midst of preparation for the John Deere Classic, which will be held at the Silvis, Ill. property from July 11-14, the club is giving instructors and prospective students for new turf and landscaping programs that will start at Eastern Iowa Community College this fall an inside look at all that golf course management involves.
In addition to all of the immediate needs involved with preparing the golf course at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. for this year’s John Deere Classic, which will be held July 11-14, the club’s course-and-grounds team is also taking steps to help ensure it will have needed turf-management talent for the future, reported OurQuadCities.com, the website of stations WHBF/KGCW/KJLB in Rock Island, Ill.
Eastern Iowa Community College (EICC) is preparing to start new turf and landscaping programs at its Muscatine, Iowa campus this fall, OurQuadCities.com reported, and TPC Deere Run is allowing the college’s instructors and prospective students to get an inside look at all that’s involved with golf course preparation and maintenance as it prepares for this year’s tournament.
“Over the last ten years, a lot of students [are] turning away from this industry,” Alex Stuedemann, TPC Deere Run’s Director of Golf Course Management, told OurQuadCities.com. “It’s been very difficult to find talented, eager people.”
So Deere Run, like other area businesses that deal with turf and landscaping, has taken an interest in supporting EICC’s new program, OurQuadCities.com reported.
During the John Deere Classic, instructors and students are on site, looking at all of the work being done on the grounds, as a way to help introduce and gain interest in the new turf and landscaping programs.
In the process, OurQuadCities.com reported, they’re having their eyes opened and gaining a deeper understanding of how the discipline involves much more than just cutting grass.
“Irrigation, soils and then you have the chemical aspects, so there’s a lot of different components,” said Shane Mairet, who will be one of EICC’s new Turf and Landscaping Management program’s instructors.
Added another instructor, Megan Mills: “You need to have good soil nutrition, and you have to know exactly what plants need and from there we go into the customer-service aspect.”
While turning the course into tournament-ready conditions might look like an art, it’s really a science, Stuedemann noted.
“Plumbing, electrical, a lot of hands-on items…but there’s also a lot of science integrated into what we do, whether that be soil science, plant physiology, disease vectors, insects,” he said.
OurQuadCities.com’s report focused on TPC Deere Run’s success in attracting grounds crew member Cody Hull into the profession. “I used to watch [the tournament] on TV,” Hull said. “I’ve always been interested since I was a kid, when I was doing private landscaping.”
Hull started as an intern at Deere Run this past spring and now has a full-time position on the club’s grounds crew, OurQuadCities.com reported. Already, he’s learned how there’s so much more involved in what goes into maintaining the course.
“I thought it was just mowing the greens,” he said. “No—we’re testing the moistures, looking at the fullness of the greens [and] looking at the ball speed.”
Getting an education to match his hands-on experience previously would have been difficult for Hull, OurQuadCities.com reported, because the nearest school with a program similar to the one EICC is starting would have been more than an hour away. But now, he says, “Count me in [for EICC’s new program]. I want to be the first one in. This is really what I want to do, and I can stay home here and use scholarships.”
A video report on TPC Deere Run and EICC’s new program can be viewed at https://www.ourquadcities.com/news/local-news/eicc-tees-off-new-course-meeting-needs-of-landscapers-and-golf-courses/