Golf tournaments couldn’t operate the way in which they do with out the caddies. And one tent out on the John Deere Traditional is ensuring they’ve all the things they want.
SILVIS, In poor health. — Golf tournaments couldn’t operate the way in which they do with out the caddies. On the John Deere Traditional, there are some very passionate folks at TPC Deere Run making the sport go spherical.
Because the caddies deal with the professionals, the caddies want somebody to deal with them.
That is why the event’s Caddie Concierge, Ron Keener, has made it his mission to just do that.
“It is one thing that I simply take pleasure in being part of,” he mentioned.
In 2018, the John Deere Classic introduced a new Caddie Lounge. That lounge provides caddies the prospect to take a second, seize a chunk, and recharge.
All the meals and facilities inside – over $100,000 price in 2021 – are donated by native eating places and companies.
“We do not need them to return in and really feel like ‘oh, we’re at one other golf course with one other nation membership that is serving us very the identical stuff that comes out of concession stands,'” mentioned Keener. “I do not need that. So we all the time try to give a neighborhood really feel and taste to the entire thing.”
It is one thing he says is drastically completely different from each different event on the tour.
Day-after-day is a brand new unfold – from breakfast with completely different styled potatoes every single day to lunches from new institutions all through the week. There’s additionally an enormous emphasis on contemporary, wholesome meals after the caddies stroll the course all day lengthy.
“The place different tournaments may need bananas set out for the caddies, we now have bananas, oranges, apples, pears, peaches, grapes, strawberries – all the things you may consider,” mentioned Keener.
He is traveled all around the nation to verify tournaments have an area only for caddies. He is been motivated by what he has witnessed at different tournaments, the place caddies had few or no facilities obtainable to them.
“I’ve seen the times as not too long ago as 17 years in the past in Kansas Metropolis the place it was over 100 levels. That they had a snow fence arrange and it was the caddie pen. They weren’t allowed to stroll freely, they needed to keep there till their participant got here and obtained them,” he lamented. “There have been no facilities for them. No meals, no meals, no nothing. So we began doing no matter we may for them.”
In 2009 the PGA Tour’s Champions Tour chose Keener as its Volunteer of the Year. He was acknowledged for making main enhancements to caddie hospitality in West Des Moines, creating a committee that changed into the “Caddie Concierge providers;” a labor of affection which he introduced with him to the Quad Cities.
“The caddies are handled very properly this week,” mentioned Butch Peiffer, one of many caddie tent’s volunteers. “That is good for us locally as a result of it makes them wish to come again. They discuss to their execs and hopefully it makes a distinction for our event.”
On the morning we caught up with him, Peiffer had scrambled eggs, tator tots, ham steaks, doughnuts, pastries, contemporary fruit, contemporary smoothies, bagels and extra set out for the caddies.
“We would like the event to achieve success. We would like our small market to be generally known as one of many higher tournaments on tour and our half is to verify they’re completely satisfied. I imply, our Birdies For Charity does such a fantastic job, we simply wish to be that very same factor to the caddies.”
Peiffer says working within the Caddie Tent is about making folks completely satisfied – one thing he is obtained a ardour for.
“I volunteer. That is their job, you already know. And we’re simply attempting to gasoline them up to allow them to exit and do what they should do. It is not a simple course to stroll and carry that huge bag in your again,” he mentioned. “So yeah, no matter we are able to do to make that higher for them… that is why we’re right here.”
He says the tent makes the caddies so completely satisfied, that the John Deere Traditional has been voted the second finest event for them within the nation.
“However the one method this might work,” mentioned Keener, “Are the native individuals are right here.”
Lots of the eating places that work with the tent do it 12 months after 12 months. One of many common favorites is Recent Blends, a family-owned enterprise with places in Bettendorf and Davenport.
Each morning they ship contemporary fruit juice and smoothies to the tent. It is one thing Keener says means even extra this 12 months, in spite of everything that Covid did to their enterprise.
“Covid hit them onerous… it is family-run with the daughters, members of the family and folks serving to run the 2 shops. Then right here comes Covid, closing the shops and making them anticipate PPP. It is taken a very long time for these small companies to get folks to return again into them.”
He began getting emotional whereas recounting their previous 12 months, noting that via the entire struggles, Recent Blends selected to proceed donating to the Traditional.
“That is the sort of folks you bought on this city,” he mentioned. “There is no method we may run this sort of meals and high quality product via right here with out them.”