Back for More with Reilly Smith, First Tee of the Quad Cities Junior Course Reporter

9 07 2011

Day One at the John Deere Classic started off great with perfect weather. Throughout the day we watched some of the pros tee off. I was amazed at how far and fast the golfball would go. Also, we learned some very interesting facts about the “ins and outs” of some golf clubs. We interviewed club maker Rusty Estes about the new styles of golf clubs. He said that wood drivers and clubs are long gone; that they will never come back. We found out that longer putters are coming into style instead of shorter putters. Rusty said that the pros like the longer putters better than the shorter putters because they have more control. What I found interesting was that the technology for making clubs hasn’t really changed in the 20 years that he has been making golf clubs.

As the day went on we watched more professionals play and walked some of the holes as we were watching. I talked to volunteer Chris Nowack and asked her a few questions about what it is like to volunteer at the John Deere Classic. To become a volunteer all you have to do is sign up on a website. She told me that she has to get up everyday at four in the morning to be able to get to the Classic by six am. She works a lot of hours everyday from 6 am-2 pm. Chris said that she likes to make sure that everyone that she helps out has a great time and good experience. She told me that she likes to help out because she thinks it’s a great event and that it is good to support the Quad Cities.

I also was able to interview a photographer by the name of Greg Boll. He said that he has been taking pictures for 25 years; first with the Quad City Times and then stared working with the John Deere Classic a few years ago. Greg told me that the third hole is hazardous, with a hard walk up the hill (and that’s why he now has a cart). He says that he is very happy to take pictures of golf because not a lot people like to do it. His favorite hole to take pictures on is hole 18 but only if it has a good crowd along with it. Boll also told me that the best thing about working and taking pictures at the John Deere Classic is that he gets paid very well.

It was a very good and successful day at the first day of the John Deere Classic. So far the leader of Day 1 of the John Deere Classic is Kris Blank with the score of 63. He birdied the last five holes and is eight under par. We all had fun, and my partner, Claire, and I had great experience and wish we could do it again next year. Good luck to the pros for their second day of the John Deere Classic!


A Day at the John Deere Classic with Reilly Smith, First Tee of the Quad Cities Junior Course Reporter

6 07 2011

Today, I got the experience of a lifetime. After winning a contest through the First Tee Program of the Quad-Cities, I spent the day at TPC at Deere Run as a Junior Course Reporter. I was able to meet some pros, volunteers, and many important people at the John Deere Classic. With my press pass, I was able to go “behind the scenes” to places where normal ticket holders could not enter (even my dad!!).

The day started off sunny and hot. I was able to get my press pass and off we went. My dad, partners, and I went to the driving range first to watch the professionals warm up. While I was there, I got to meet some of the reps from various golf companies and ask them a few questions about their occupations and new golf gear. My partner, Claire, and I were able to meet up with pro golfer Brady Schnell and his father, also a pro golfer. During the interview, we learned interesting, great tips, and advice from both of them. Their advice was to always have a good grip, stance, and to find something that your comfortable with each time you hit a golfball. I learned that Brady didn’t start golfing until he was eight, but didn’t really get competitive until he was a freshman in high school.

At ten o’clock, we got the chance to join in on a couple of press conferences with professionals Zach Johnson and two time winner of the John Deere Classic, Steve Stricker. Claire and I were fascinated by how a press conference works. Some of the press would just blurt out questions to the pros. Claire and I waited very politely to be called on. We didn’t get to ask any questions to Zach Johnson, but we were able to ask one question each to Steve Stricker. I asked a question that made the press room laugh at the answer from the pro. It was, “Do you have any family members that golf? If so, have any of them ever beat you?” He responded that his wife, daughter, and his brother-in-law all golf. When he said that his wife came close to beating him, the whole room erupted in laughter. Steve Stricker also said that his brother-in-law, Mario, had beat him once before.

After the press conference, I got the chance to see the pros in action. My dad and I walked some of the amazing and beautiful holes at Deere Run. When the day was done, we stopped by a local favorite ice cream shop, Whitey’s. We found out that during the week of the Classic, they sell around 5,000 ice cream goodies at their stands around the golf course. It was a very fun and interesting day, and I can’t wait to go back.

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

6 07 2011

Today I learned that golf is not just professional, but family oriented as well. If you ask most golfers, you would get some answer related to “my dad got me started” or “my family is here today”. I think that is a great thing. Golf is also professional in that a player may not have had the best round and they have to go to a press conference and act like they are not upset. I had the privilege of talking to many people about this golf tournament. One thing for sure is that family is most important whether it is the family of volunteers or the golfer with kids ¬- family is family.

I was allowed the chance to talk with Brady and Curt Schnell. Brady is playing in the Classic this year and has been Nationwide and Dakota’s Tours. Curt is a professional golfer that is currently a teaching professional. When I talked with the two of them today I was able to learn about how Curt was able to teach Brady some of his tricks. Brady started golfing at age 8, but didn’t really get into it until he was a freshman in high school. He said his dad has given him a lot good advice but the best would have been “Work on your short game.” In the past Brady has had a large local following called the “Brady Bunch”. He said it is comforting to be around people that he knows.

Curt Schnell is very proud of his son. He had an opportunity to play in the Classic two years ago but turned it down to caddie for his son. He said that he is very excited that Brady is following in his footsteps, but is most excited that Brady made the decision to work so hard on his own. He has competed against Brady on the Dakota’s tour. I asked him what I should work on as a beginning golfer and he replied “Grip, set-up, and alignment”.

The highlight of my day today was the Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker press conference interviews. I had the wonderful opportunity to sit in on the two press conferences. I did not get to talk with Zach Johnson, but I got to ask Mr. Stricker a question. My question for him was “After having a tough hole, how do you prepare mentally to keep going, knowing you are so close to your third title here?” He replied, “To block that hole out and mentally start over.” Mr. Johnson stated that John Deere has done a “great” job creating and running this tournament, and that it is great to play here.

My comrade and I did a little math, here are some fun facts! For promotion of Deere, the company put $2,432,000 of equipment by the entrance. The cheapest piece of equipment is a kids’ gator for $400. The most expensive was a tractor/planter for $505,000. This is the only place you will see this array of tractors at a tournament on the PGA tours- FedEx Cup.

All in all, today was very fun learning about all the different facts about golf and that family is most important. I can’t wait to see and learn more tomorrow.