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Local John Deere Distributor Event Proves Memorable

Posted On: July 19, 2016 by ClubProcure in: Agronomy VGM Club

Local John Deere Distributor Event Proves Memorable

VGM Club and Van-Wall Equipment invited superintendents across Iowa to participate in a two-day event at The Harvester on July 12 & 13.

"Where in your life do you meet better people than on a golf course?" - Doug Ruffridge, Superintendent at Oskaloosa Golf Club.

Doug is right. VGM Club reps meet and discuss with folks across the golf industry every single day. Face to face. It is here that we hash out a program that works for your club. It is also where we develop relationships and forge deeply rooted ideas about the people in our industry like Doug's. "Where in your life do you meet better people than on a golf course?"

Local John Deere distributor, Van-Wall Equipment, along with us at VGM Club, brought a few of those people mentioned above to the Des Moines area to show our appreciation. Included below is a synopsis of the two-day event. 

Group Day 1

Day One

Superintendents, Van-Wall sales reps and VGM Clubbers Shawn Krusey and Mike Woltz gathered at The Harvester in Rhodes, Iowa Tuesday afternoon. After enjoying a lunch provided by the staff, the participants headed out to the course. A few (OK, a lot) of lost tee shots later, the group was thankful the format was a shamble. After shooting 79, Matt Reifert, superintendent at Whispering Creek Golf Club, won the day and new John Deere outerwear.Action Shot

After golf, the crew headed to Prairie Meadows to clean up for a dinner shared at AJ's Steakhouse. Don Van Houweling, President and CEO of the Van-Wall Group, was seated at the head of the table. He quieted the group and began sharing the humble beginnings of Van-Wall Turf Equipment.

"I told Jon [Francis], our Golf & Turf Sales Manager, that I wanted to make a go of this. I said, 'I don't care how we do it, but I want to make it happen.' We wanted Van-Wall Turf Equipment to be the best parts provider, the best service provider and sell the best equipment. So we began by hiring great people like Joe [Blaker], Nate [Canier], and Travis [Dykstra]. It all begins with great people."

Dinner"There is no place I'd rather be than here with you today." - Don Van Houweling, President and CEO of the Van-Wall Group

If you were around Don that day - that quote should sound familiar. He meant it.

At Don's request, the group went around the table and shared stories of their beginnings. Meticulously, Don asked each individual follow-up questions. He listened attentively to each answer. The rest of the group did too. Where in your life do you meet better people than on a golf course? The stories were fascinating. The superintendents shared many commonalities - have you ever met a super who didn't work hard? One who didn't love their craft? Neither have we.

For Mike Burton, Superintendent at Dubuque Golf & Country Club, this was certainly not his first customer event. Mike is a second generation superintendent, and is happily celebrating his 50th year working in the golf industry. Our host, Joel Randall, was showered with praise from his fellow superintendents for the condition The Harvester was in that day. This summer is Joel's ninth year as head superintendent of The Harvester, and has been a member of the maintenance crew for 16 years.

Jon Francis added to Doug and Don's thoughts when asked about the evening, "For most that have been in the golf business all our lives, we will never taste fame and fortune. It is the places we go and the life long friendships we make that make this crazy business an enrichment and too rewarding to ever think about doing anything else... It is at these events that we get quality time with a few very important people, and for that period of time, there is no people more important than the ones that are there!"

The group separated after dinner - the ones feeling lucky tried their hand at the casino - while the others headed to the bar to continue sharing stories. (Unlike earlier at golf, the winners of the night is open for interpretation)

Day Two

Group Day 2 The next morning everyone headed to breakfast and back out to the course to play a best shot tournament. After a tough duel, Shawn Krusey's group pulled out the win in a playoff. The superintendents in Shawn's group won handheld Stihl blowers from Van-Wall.


"Our team played awesome, although I still saw we left a few out there. What a great way to end the event! Over those two days it was crystal clear why we [Van-Wall, VGM Club, and superintendents] work so well together. Collectively we have a lot of great people who work incredibly hard. I'm proud to be a part of it." - Shawn Krusey, Midwest VGM Club Member Development Rep.

Reflecting on the two-day event – Mike Woltz, Agronomy Contract Manager at VGM Club - had this to say, "These events are special to us. They offer a chance to get a pulse on members, non-members, and suppliers alike. We get to better understand them as individuals. Ruff [Doug] is right, being in this industry you get to meet a lot of really wonderful people. This two-day event Jon and the guys at Van-Wall put together successfully gathered a few from around Iowa." JD Mowers It's about the people. A successful partnership, a successful customer appreciation event; they all require great people to flourish. This is why the VGM Club and Van-Wall partnership works. It's also why VGM Club and Van-Wall enjoy offering events like this to our mutual customers from around the great state of Iowa, and will continue to do so.

"Where in your life do you meet better people than on a golf course?"

RangeVGM Club members receive special pricing and rebate opportunities on all new equipment purchases. For more information on who your distributor is, how to take advantage of this opportunity, or any other questions about the John Deere program; visit their supplier page on VGMClub.com or contact your VGM Club rep.