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Pros get picky on the practice range

You can call them picky or simply precise, but either way, many of the professional golfers at the John Deere Classic have a specific routine during practice.

On the Deere Run driving range, picking up golf balls is a nearly continuous process. Workers drive the cart from around 5:30 a.m. until late afternoon, when all of the golfers have teed off.

Thousands of balls are collected and cleaned, before volunteers sort them by brand.

“Different pros play different balls, and we want to give them what they’re brand is, what they’re sponsored by,” said Grant Wurst, a second year volunteer at the JDC.

Golfers at Deere Run can choose from nine different types of balls, including Taylor Made, Callaway and Nike. Course advisors say the most popular pick is Titleist V1X, with almost 80 percent of the pros choosing those balls.

“If you watch them a little bit, if they have one that’s wrong in there, they’ll throw it at us,” laughed Harlan Pedretti, a course advisor at TPC.

Balls are then bagged into sacks of about 36, and tables are constantly refilled throughout the day.

Still, volunteers and workers say the practiced routine gives them a front-row seat to the action.

“It’s definitely really cool, because if you’re a golfer, you look up to all these guys out there. They’re kinda your idol, so just being around them is probably one of the cooler things,” said Wurst.

“I worked for Deere for 40 years, and now I have a real job,” laughed Pedretti. “Is there any better place to call your office?’

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