SILVIS, IL Paul Grogan's yeoman work at TPC Deere Run, site of the annual John Deere Classic, has resulted in the facility being named "Operation of the Year" by the PGA TOUR, it was announced today.
Grogan, who was hired as golf course superintendent in spring 2006, undertook a major bunker reconstruction project in 2007-2008 that alleviated persistent drainage problems in the course's bunkers. Following the project, bunkers that previously took many hours to drain following a major thunderstorm now drain in less than an hour.
"Paul Grogan has done just a fantastic job as the golf course superintendent at TPC Deere Run," said Clair Peterson, tournament director for the John Deere Classic. "Over the last three years, he and his staff have made significant progress in terms of improving playing surfaces, drainage, and the overall aesthetics of the property."
Since Grogan arrived, he and his staff have made it a priority to clear underbrush in order to increase sunlight and airflow, resulting in healthier turf. The clearing of underbrush also benefits golfers at the semi-private course, who may find it easier to find errant shots, and for tournament spectators, who benefit from better sightlines and easier of movement around the course.
Grogan has embarked on a long-term tree replacement program, part of which was prompted by major thunderstorms in 2008 that resulted in major tree damage on the course.
"It's a good honor and we have a good staff," Grogan said. "We have a lot of guys who have been here for many years and who take a lot of pride in the place. We've made the place more golfer-friendly."
So golfer-friendly that Grogan can speak the words every golf course operator loves to hear: "We've got golfers who play here and come back over and over again."
The award, given annually to courses in the Tour's TPC network, is based on such categories as tournament performance, adherence to environmental standards, course conditioning, safety, and financial strength.
"We had a pretty good year," Grogan said. "We had a very good tournament, a good safety year, and we were substantially under budget."
In May, TPC Deere Run is hosting the 2009 NAIA collegiate championship, one of several tournaments and charity outings on its schedule this year. "We'll be in tournament mode right off the bat," Grogan noted, with some 180 players in the field.
This year, Grogan said, his work at Deere Run will emphasize more of the same.
"We're going to keep on working on our detail work and make sure we get people to come back," he said.
The Tournament Players Club Deere Run opened in the year 2000, when it hosted the John Deere Classic for the first time. Designed by D.A. Weibring and Chris Gray, the course is one of 29 facilities in the TPC network, 19 of which are owned by the Tour.