A changing of the guard at Deere Run

As Alex Stuedemann prepares for a new challenge with the TPC Network, a familiar face returns to the Quad Cities to take his place.


Alex Stuedemann and Jonathan Graham
Alex Stuedemann(left) and Jonathan Graham (right) have strong connections at TPC Deere Run. Stuedemann will soon move on to director of agronomy for the TPC Network, leaving Graham to take the reins. Photos by Scott Hollister

Minnesota might be where Alex Stuedemann, CGCS, was born and raised, but if the director of golf course operations at TPC Deere Run is being honest, the Quad Cities are now his home.

For nearly 15 years spread over two different stints — the most recent run began in early 2014 — Stuedemann and his family have lived in Moline, Ill., as he oversaw maintenance at Deere Run and prepared the course for its annual appearance on the PGA Tour schedule during the John Deere Classic (the 2022 version wrapped up just last week).

As any turfgrass manager with a long tenure at a property will tell you, that kind of longevity breeds a familiarity and an institutional knowledge that pays dividends in everything from day-to-day maintenance and tournament prep to project work, such as the major bunker renovation project that Stuedemann and his team wrapped up this spring. It’s a security blanket that creates comfort and security, and Stuedemann has reveled in that during his time at Deere Run.

That time, however, is nearing an end, and in recent weeks, Stuedemann has spent more time sharing that knowledge with others than he has benefiting from it himself. In September, he’ll begin a new adventure as the director of agronomy for the PGA Tour’s TPC Network of facilities, turning the reins at Deere Run over to former first assistant Jonathan Graham.

Aerial view of Ghost Creek golf course
Stuedemann and Graham watch stimpmeter readings on the 11th green at TPC Deere Run.

“This golf course and this community are parts of our life, parts of our family. They’re really a part of the fabric of who we are,” says Stuedemann, a 23-year GCSAA member. “I know what I’ll miss most are the people here who have been a part of our lives for so long. But we’re not really going anywhere. Those people are all friends and they’re still going to be there for us. We’re still going to live in Moline, so that won’t change.

“I’ve always thought that you can’t grow if you’re not a little scared, a little anxious. Life can get pretty boring otherwise, so I’m definitely excited about this new opportunity.”

In his new role, Stuedemann will replace Dennis Ingram, CGCS Retired, who recently retired after more 25 years at that post. He’ll be working with courses and superintendents across the 32 facilities that make up the TPC Network on matters of tournament prep and agronomy, in addition to more day-to-day operational needs. He will also dip his toe into PGA Tour tournament prep at courses outside of the TPC world, as needed.

“The way it was put to me was, ‘Alex, you've got 23 years of varied experience. It's time to share that with more entities than just Deere Run,’” Stuedemann says. “That was really gratifying to hear, so to be able to do that ... was just such a great opportunity that I couldn't pass it up.”

For Graham, who spent the bulk of the week at this year’s John Deere Classic on property riding shotgun with Stuedemann, the opportunity to return to Deere Run, a place he had worked for four years prior to his current time as the senior assistant superintendent at TPC San Antonio, was also an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“This is a move that gets us back closer to our family, which is really important to me,” says Graham, a 10-year member of GCSAA. “And to come back to a golf course that I love and know really well just made it a no-brainer for me. I’m really excited for the opportunity.”

Scott Hollister is editor-in-chief of GCM.