TPC Deere Run: Great Golf Course, Awesome Media Day Experience

TPC Deere Run Course Rankings:

Golf Digest: #25 Illinois
GolfWeek: #6 Illinois public #4 Illinois public

Designer: DA Weibring (2000)

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend Media Day at TPC Deere Run in Moline, Illinois, to kick off the one month ramp-up to the 2013 John Deere Classic.

Last year’s tournament ended in spectacular fashion, when Zach Johnson hit a 193-yard fairway bunker shot on 18 to four feet for birdie and the tournament win.

Yesterday’s event featured a press conference in TPC Deere Run’s spectacular clubhouse, followed by a tutorial by Zach on his clutch bunker shot and 18 holes of championship golf.

With Sunday pin locations, Zach took a few shots and got one to about 25 feet below the pin. I took one bunker shot from the same spot, and… You guessed it, drew it in to about 20 feet below the pin. Yep, I [sort of] bested Zach Johnson!

Hole 18: Par 4 (476/463/433/381/381)

All kidding aside, what a fantastic event and great golf course!

Rated the number five public course in the state of Illinois, TPC Deere Run has hosted PGA events since 1971, and the John Deere Classic since 2000.

View of the clubhouse at TPC Deere Run

What really surprised me about the course at TPC Deere Run, which does not translate well on television, is the elevation. Almost every hole has significant elevation changes, and the panoramic views on many holes are absolutely beautiful.

The signature hole at TPC Deere Run is the sixteenth, but in all honesty the entire three-hole stretch from sixteen to eighteen is phenomenal. The sixteenth is a short par three to a green resting on the ledge of the Rock River, with two large sand traps in front. Probably the toughest part of this one-shotter is the green, itself. The pull of the river is substantial, pulling putts five feet or more on the way up or down the putting surface.

Hole 16: Par 3 (158/153/140/140/113)

The seventeenth is an outstanding par five. With a tight driving area, the second shot is to an elevated green that is wide open and a green fronted on the right by a deep, craggy bunker. The putting surface runs off in all directions, with a false front that leads to a Sunday hole location just a few paces left of the right-side trap. The bailout here is right, leaving most players with a short-sided flop shot over sand.

Eighteen is a wonderful finishing hole, bringing both birdies and double-bogeys in to play. The drive needs to be long enough to open up a shot at the green, but stay short of the left-side fairway bunkers that became so famous during last year’s tournament. The approach is long, and with a back pin location and water running along the left side of the green, requires a drawn mid-iron to climb the back of the putting surface.

Hole 18: Par 4 (476/463/433/381/381)
Hole 18: Par 4 (476/463/433/381/381)

The great elevation features of the course are apparent from the first hole on – shown here is the tee shot on one, which if at the top of the hill and near the left-side sand traps will leave just over 100 yards to the green.

Hole 1: Par 4 (395/391/375/375/343)

The second is a fun par five, with a highly elevated tee shot that plays toward the Rock River and right beyond a large oak tree. Hit over the left side of this oak tree and find yourself with 175 yards in. If you cut over the tree itself, though, you’re likely to be lost in the fescue.
Hole 2: Par 5 (561/551/510/510/476)

Another strong par three, the third is well uphill, adding an extra club to the expected distance.
Hole 3: Par 3 (186/186/157/139/139)

The fourth is a tough par four. A split fairway allows bailout on the left side of the central tree and sand trap, but can leave a blind shot in to one of the toughest greens to hit on the course. The right side leaves a more direct approach to this narrow, elevated green, seemingly perched against the horizon of the Quad Cities backdrop.
Hole 4: Par 4 (454/448/422/422/355)
Hole 4: Par 4 (454/448/422/422/355)

Continuing a trend of tremendously difficult par fours, the fifth requires less than driver to find the fairway and stay short of the sand traps that end the fairway. The hole is cut out of the woods, with a deep recess in the approach area before heading back uphill to a green that bends around a long, front-side trap.
Hole 5: Par 4 (433/429/411/400/400)

The sixth doesn’t get much easier, but was my only natural birdie of the day. Again hitting less than driver to avoid the fairway traps on the left, the driving area is very narrow. A large tree resides on the left side of the green, and the back of the green falls to a collection area beyond the Sunday pin location.
Glen Turk of Midwest Golfing Magazine teeing off on six:
Hole 6: Par 4 (367/361/337/337/309)

The format for yesterday’s round at TPC Deere Run was a four-man shamble. The twosome Glen and I were set up with did not show, which worked out awesome as we were the second-to-last group in the shotgun start from the thirteenth hole. After the foursome in front of us let us through, we had smooth sailing to play 24 championship holes in just over four and a half hours.
A long par three, the seventh sets up from 228 yards for the John Deere Classic, but a more manageable 160 from the white tees we [mostly] played. Glen and I switched between the blues and whites for the 18-hole tournament, and played all tips for the extra six holes afterwards.
Hole 7: Par 3 (226/226/185/160/160)

The eighth is one of the narrowest driving holes on the course, and leads to one of the course’s smallest putting surfaces. Find the fairway and the approach is not too daunting.
Hole 8: Par 4 (428/382/371/371/348)
Hole 8: Par 4 (428/382/371/371/348)

Ten is a great par five. At 596 yards from the tournament tee boxes, this is a big eagle/birdie opportunity on the Tour, but much less so for amateurs like myself. A great tee shot left 206 yards in to a green that leaves no room for error, with water on the right and a pin location within five or so feet of the pond.
Hole 10: Par 5 (596/581/512/512/486)

The eleventh is a tough finishing hole. With trees lining both sides of the fairway, the driving area undulates severely and the left side leads to a deep ravine within the tree line. The right side is equally as tumultuous, and any tee shot is likely to leave a long iron or hybrid in to this sharply inclined green.
The twelfth is probably the easiest of the par threes at TPC Deere Run, but sets up tough from the tournament tees at 215 yards. The Sunday pin location, however, makes things tough with a steep incline toward the back-left of the green.
Hole 12: Par 3 (215/208/178/178/157)

I unfortunately did not get pictures of the thirteenth through fifteenth holes. The fourteenth is an awesome hole, though, especially, as the course’s only potentially drivable par four green. With highly elevated tee boxes, the fourteenth sets up well for a cut tee shot. In the two times we played it, we actually recorded one birdie and three pars.
TPC Deere Run is a fantastic golf course, and a great tournament location. With just under a month left until the John Deere Classic, to say I am looking forward to watching the tournament unfold is an understatement. Will this be the year of Wisconsin hero Steve Stricker’s fourth JDC victory in five years, or will the local Iowan Zach Johnson defend his title before boarding the John Deere jet to Europe?
Will the phenomenal three finishing holes yield another exciting finish? I sure hope so. What I do know is that if you are in the Quad Cities area, this is a can’t-miss golf course that features fantastic elevation and course conditions throughout all eighteen of its championship holes. What’s even better is that it can be played for as little as $49 on Do not pass it up.
Course Wrap-Up:
Location: Silvis, IL
Yardage: John Deere-7258, Black-7075, Blue-6530, Green-6274, White-5990, Red-5179
Slope/Rating: John Deere-144/75.8, Black-141/74.4, Blue-135/71.9, Green-133/71.2, White-131/70.4, Red-125/70.2
Par: 71
Weekend Rates: $95 (with cart)

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