Located in Silvis, Rock Island County, the course at TPC Deere Run lies on the north bank of the Rock River, where it operates as a member of the Tournament Players Club network of private and public golf facilities.
Designed by Illinois native D.A. Weibring, this layout has hosted the John Deere Classic since the year it first opened for play in 2000, with Paul Goydos posting the course record of 59 in the first round of this PGA Tour event ten years later.
Before the course was built, the 385-acre property had gone through a number of different uses – from farming to coal mining to horse and cattle breeding – and each of the holes have been named to reflect the rich heritage of the land.
D.A. Weibring has been quoted as saying: “It has all the things I think you’d like to have in a golf course. There are elevation changes, great views and scenery, hardwood trees. You have the Rock River complemented with small ponds and deep ravines… and best of all, there’s no real estate.”
I feel like there’s a signature photograph for almost every PGA event, an image that reflects either the spirit of the course or the spirit of the region where the event takes place. The John Deere Classic holds a bit of both. While the mow lines along the side of No. 17’s green go a long way in showcasing the performance capabilities of machinery from course-and-event sponsor John Deere, I see beyond the cosmetics. I appreciate the look but those short grass falloffs and collection areas will be beautiful to me, no matter how artistically mown.
TPC Deere Run, even more so than most within its brand, is designed for the purpose of challenging professional golfers, an ever-difficult task during an era of competitive golf I increasingly refer to as “post-architecture.” Technology rollbacks not forthcoming, the elements of course design that an architect can use to make PGA players do that which they hate most — thinking about shots — are limited. You can grow the rough, you can speed up the greens, you can add hundreds of bunkers...but one design element continues to thwart them better: shortgrass runoff areas, like the ones most dramatically seen here at Nos. 13, 14 and 17. The latter two earn extra points for their respective roles as drivable par four and reachable par five; going for the jugular comes with the risk of ending up at knifepoint yourself, at the bottom of such a gathering area.
Having failed in my long approach to No. 17, I found myself in the rare situation where both I and Bryson Dechambeau were in equal trouble.
Unfortunately, I could not say the same throughout the majority of the round. TPC Deere Run apparently requires other strategies to keep the professionals at bay (if a -4 cutline can be referred to as “at bay”)...strategies less manageable for the average hack.
A frequent offender would be the tree-lined fairways. Why am I inclined to challenge the considerable second-cut on a dogleg right if a tree at the elbow hangs over my line to the green? I found myself considering this conundrum several times after having made rare, quality tee shots. The best / saddest example of this phenomena occurred at No. 4, where — as an astute golf course architecture aficionado — I decided that going left of the centerline tree would be optimal over going right. After all, why would anyone try to draw around the trees infringing off the tee to the left to a skinner slice of fairway, if there wasn’t ample reward? Needless to say, I was disappointed to learn that the wide-open right side of the fairway was the correct answer. It made little sense...almost as little sense as having bought a yardage guide at the pro shop and not looking at it before teeing off (dammit).
I tend to reflect more kindly upon water hazards than the majority of “woke” golfers. That said, the few ponds at Deere Run are among the most tacked-on that I’ve ever seen. It seemed ironic that I began No. 2 with a spectacular vista of the Rocky River, and ended with a greenside bathtub seemingly dug by the John Deere variant of the Bobcat mini-earthmover. The tractor on an island off the left of green No. 18 seemed almost as natural to the landscape as the pond it was sitting upon. It’s only fair that I recommend a replacement hazard since I’m complaining so vehemently: If Nos. 2, 10 and 18 featured shortgrass falloffs akin to the holes praised a few paragraphs ago, I’d celebrate them accordingly (as a note in case you suspect bias: I didn’t lose any balls to water).
I did lose several balls to the dense rough, but I take no issue with the cut. The fairways themselves are plenty wide for a reasonable drive. My playing partner, a local, suggested the dense turf was maintained at similar weight throughout the year. Wearing a Dubsdread shirt, he claimed Deere Run featured the thickest he’d ever played. Its thiccness fell somewhere between Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion and, if I interpret the subtext of Ms. B’s “WAP” verse correctly, it will swallow Titleists in a similarly emphatic fashion.
I’m not sure I enjoyed TPC Deere Run as much as previous reviewers, but I certainly won’t write it off. At less than $75 for a Sunday round during the Summer, it’s perhaps the best opportunity for the meager traveler to play a PGA host, or a TPC representative.
Is the course actually a cut above (lawnmower joke) other TPC chapters? I’ll report back.
This review is rated at *least* PG-13.
Ryan - I want you to park that big John Deere lawnmower… & then bring a bucket & a mop to wipe up my tears. I could go on, but you get the picture - very upset you beat me to using a WAP analogy in a golf course review.
On a positive note, just $75 for your green fee - that’s brilliant - best bang for a buck you’ve ever had?
BB, while Deere Run is a nice opportunity to play-where-the-pros-play, municipals almost always offer the best bang in the States. Although I'd prefer the handful of Donald Rosses that remain in The Man's hands (Manakiki, Shennecossett, Triggs Memorial, George Wright off the top of my head), it's tough to argue that the rate New Yorkers pay for Bethpage Black is unbeatable for what usually appears on World Top 100 courses.
Also, you guys are blowing my cover. At this rate, there will never be a "Hot Girl Summer" reference in subsequent reviews.
Great venue in Quad Cities with huge appeal. Sweeping elevation changes, beautiful setting and perfect conditions. With five different tees to choose from the TPC Deere Run can be an enjoyable experience for all ranges of golfers.
The strength of the course is in the par fours which comprise the toughest handicap holes. Each has a different challenge to overcome from tough driving hole to difficulty on approach shots. All four par threes are strong with shot making being the priority instead of length.
TPC Deere Run is a blast to play. It boggles my mind how low the pros shoot here as I always seem to have trouble. There really are not any weak holes here. Some of the most memorable play right along the rock River.
I've played TPC Deere run a number of times. I live in southern Illinois (St Louis Metro East) so its not a far drive. There is a reason I've traveled up to the quad cities several times to play it. It's simply a great golf course. The scenery, conditioning, layout, and entire piece of property is fantastic. Along with Wild Horse in NE, I find this to be one of the best values in golf. I've never paid more than 100 bucks to play it, and its always been immaculate. We even played it one year the week prior to the John Deere classic. All the grandstands were up and it was kind of a fun experience for us. The finishing 3 or 4 holes are all great. The views of the river on the front and back are perfect for showcasing the beauty of the Midwest. I've played 5 TPC courses and this is my favorite. I hope if you've ever thought about this trip, you pull the trigger. You won't be disappointed.
I only have great things to say about Deere Run. In terms of routing, bunkering, conditioning, and scenery, it’s a world-class golf course. It’s more of a typical modern course, so the green complexes are not for the most part anything unique or spectacular like a Mike Strantz course for example, but D.A. Weibring and his team really built a fantastic golf course overlooking the Rock River.
The best and most memorable parts of the course are #1-#5 as well as #14-#17, almost all of which overlook the river in some fashion. The opener is a tight dogleg left par four with bunkers galore, but #2 is where the course really gets going on a downhill par five that temps the player to attack either the well-protected green or a narrow layup area. #3 is my favorite par three on the course – it’s up a massive slope to a semi-blind green sloping away on nearly all sides, which is not the type of par three usually seen on modern courses. #4 is a spectacular long dogleg right par four with a tree bisecting the fairway, and the stretch finishes with the medium-length par four #5 which plays to a green which heavily slopes from back left to front right.
The course meanders away from the river views, but manages to stay interesting – there isn’t a weak hole on the golf course, really – until it reaches #14, a devilish short downhill par four that tempts the user to attack the green when the smart play is to lay up. #15 is an uphill par four that plays more difficult due to swirling winds coming from the river. #16 speaks for itself as the signature hole of the course, a short par three overlooking the river, as seen on TV at the John Deere Classic. #17 is a great par five: super narrow tee shot, reachable in two shots, all sorts of options when it comes to attacking the green or laying up depending on where the pin is. #18 is a strong par four, but it feels very plain after the previous four holes.
This course is a great asset to the Quad Cities area and in my opinion is one of the better public access courses in the Midwest. While the course gets plenty of publicity due to its being a PGA Tour host, it still feels overlooked or underrated. It’s a very enjoyable course to play and is well worth the trip.
Played October 19, 2013