Experiencing the John Deere Classic with Claire Benisch, First Tee of the Quad Cities Junior Course Reporter

5 07 2011

If I learned anything today, I learned that golf is universal. People from all walks of life enjoy golf. From the police officer checking credentials to the young girl who can hit the target in one shot, golf brings everyone together. The beautiful day started with a long walk from the shuttle bus drop off all the way to the driving range.
When I was chosen by my coaches through the First Tee Program to interview professional golfers, volunteers, board members, and any other personnel at the John Deere Classic, I wondered who I could talk with to get a good idea of what it is like to be involved in the John Deere Classic. Why not start with the Chairman?
Brian Kardell is this year’s Chairman. This means he is in charge of the volunteers, workers and other tournament duties. He told me that it was an honor to be working with all the wonderful people and, to be Chairman of the Classic has been a goal of his for many years. He has been on the board for eight years and has spent long hours since October of 2010 working on the details. His family is involved in the tournament as well. His three boys work on the range all week and his wife is a standard bearer. He enjoys playing golf himself with his regular golf game every Saturday, as well as playing golf with his family. He has a nephew that will be playing this year in the Classic and when I asked him what it would be like if his nephew won this tournament he replied, “It would be the coolest thing in the whole world.” I have also met and talked with his nephew and I would agree.
As I watched the players at the driving range, I had a chance to talk with a security guard to get his thoughts on this tournament. Mark Vanklaveren, a Silvis police officer, has a paid position to check credentials. Even he, as a police officer enjoys playing golf on a semi-regular basis. He enjoys watching all the golfers come and go and loves working this tournament. He will work about nineteen hours this week, keeping the golfers and officials safe.
One of the highlights of my day was when at the Kids Clinic; a young girl named Kelly Lent was allowed the opportunity to try to smash a window with a hit of a golf ball. On her first try, she smashed it right through. When it was the pros turn to try, it took more than three shots for each of them to smash through. No wonder they were as amazed as I! The professionals operating the clinic were Brad Faxon and Scott McCaron. They demonstrated how to properly hit a golf ball, but made it look easy and fun. Brad has been golfing for twenty eight years and they have known each other since 1995.
I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully it will be another gorgeous day filled with me meeting more people involved in this tournament. I have been to this tournament since I was eight years old with my Dad, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to find out more from the inside.




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