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TPC Deere Run Is Green in More Ways Than One

Circular, tan and green logo for the Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards

TPC Deere Run is known for more than hosting the John Deere Classic every summer. It's also known as an outdoor classroom, a training ground for firefighters, and for environmental stewardship.

The person responsible for the Silvis golf course's reputation is Alex Stuedemann. He recently won the 2016 Environmental Leaders in Golf Award, from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and Golf Digest.

Stuedemann is always looking for ways to improve, even when facing headwinds.


A man and two women stand and smile as they pose for the photo.
Credit Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News
Todd Hajduk (Center), General Manger of TPC Deere Run, with two employees

Alex Stuedemann's boss, Todd Hajduk, General Manager of TPC Deere Run, says his Director of Golf Course Maintenance Operations is a talker and pretty good at telling people what he and his crew are doing.

And Mark Johnson, Director of Environmental Programs for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, says to stand out, Stuedemann and TPC Deere Run had to get high scores in all nine categories of basic and advanced Best Management Practices. He says Stuedemann demonstrates the skills of a golf course superintendent by installing and buying technology, such as weather stations and soil moisture sensors, then applying it to decision-making. Stuedemann may concentrate on the condition of the golf course's 18 holes. But he also uses science and brains to improve the rest of the property.

The Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards also require community involvement. For example, a high school horticulture class from Amboy helps plant flowers in the spring. And later, United Township students will special build birdhouses to try and attract a certain species of warbler.

Smoke billows up from blackened ground under several trees.
Credit Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News
An area where fire has burned away unwanted or unhealthy plants

A couple of years ago, he wanted to get rid of large areas of unhealthy grass and invasive species. And a conversation with the Silvis Fire Chief turned into the department training at TPC Deere Run while burning the unwanted plants. Stuedemann has also set aside an area to grow plants for pollinators.

He and his employees have built a solid reputation for keeping TPC Deere Run in top condition, especially during the John Deere Classic. Last August, a thunderstorm produced torrents of rain that had to be drained from bunkers. His team also had to re-groom all 78 bunkers before play could resume. (Michelle O'Neill talked with vendors and fans during the downpour and shot this video.)

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor. She does everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever may be needed around the radio station.
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