The work to get Deere Run ready for the John Deere Classic begins long before the first round of the tournament. One of the biggest transformations occurs off the course, as crews turn the TPC golf cart garage into a media center.
“You know, it’s a pretty big process,” said assistant golf professional Mitch VanZuiden. “Stuff gets moved everywhere right now.”
Crews spend hours clearing out the garage, tearing down charging batteries from the ceiling, wheeling out cabinets, and driving away dozens of carts.
This year, the one-day transformation took place on the Fourth of July holiday.
“It is pretty much all done on this Friday, it doesn’t matter if it’s Fourth of July or not. This Friday is the big tear-down for us,” said VanZuiden.
The tops must also be taken off every golf cart that will be used during the tournament.
“It’s because you can’t have a cart on the course that the golfers can see the tops go by, so it’s a line of sight thing. PGA requires us to take all these tops off,” said cart chairman Arkie Lovell.
Lovell leads a crew of current and retired John Deere workers, who say they have fun even during the three-and-a-half hour process.
“These two weeks, it’s all about the community and nothing else. We just happen to have a golf tournament going on, and it’s just a way to give back,” said Lovell.
Once the garage is empty, another crew comes in to lay down carpeting. Tables, computers, printers, and scoreboard monitors eventually fill the room as well, making the cart room almost unrecognizable by the end of the day.
During the tournament, media from across the country use the center to conduct interviews with players, follow the leader board, file stories and even eat lunch. A lot of behind-the scenes work, though, goes into making that possible.
“It’s one of the more fun days, actually, ” said VanZuiden.