E.A. Sports Today

Wert takes PGA post


Cider Ridge director of golf leaving to become Mid-Atlantic region manager of the PGA Junior League

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Doug Wert, Cider Ridge’s director of golf the last three years, is leaving the Oxford course later this month for what effectively is a dream job that marries his passions for assisting his fellow professionals and junior golf.

Wert will become the Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager for the PGA Junior League program serving the Middle Atlantic, Tri-State and Western New York sections of the PGA of America.

He will remain at Cider Ridge for another week or so as Honours Golf, the management company that oversees the course’s operation for the City of Oxford, searches for his successor. He will continue to reside in Oxford so his sons can remain in the city’s school system and base his Junior League operations out of the D.C. area.

“It’s huge for me,” Wert said. “I love working with kids and junior golf and the other thing I really enjoy is assisting my fellow professionals with being successful as well. It’s just something that’s always been a passion of mine.

“Now being a member of the Quarter-Century Club of the PGA (25 years of service), it’s been my life. I was very happy with Honours and Troon; the only thing that would’ve pulled me away would be an opportunity to work for the PGA of America. The last 7-8 years or so I’ve been looking at positions in the PGA and something came up that was the perfect fit. This new opportunity marries all the things I’ve learned over the last 25 years with all the things I am passionate about.”

Wert is the eighth director/pro/manager of Cider Ridge since the course opened in 2002. Honours officials say a search for his successor is underway and they currently have identified six to eight potential candidates.

Evan Godfrey, Honours’ regional operations manager, said Thursday the change is unrelated to any other issue at the golf course.

“This is something that Doug has had his eye on for quite some time,” Godfrey said. “He’s always made it known to me the only thing that would lure him away from the opportunity with Honours and Troon would be an opportunity to work with the PGA. This just happens to involve another passion of his, junior golf. It’s amazing how things work out.”

PGA Junior League Golf is a nationwide initiative open to boys and girls aged 13 and under that emphasizes team play in lieu of individual competition and helps transition youth golfers into existing junior programs. The Mid-Atlantic region Wert will oversee covers parts of seven states and Washington, D.C. With some 4,000 participants, it represents more than 10 percent of players in the program, with the largest concentration in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

“My challenge is to grow it in West Virginia and (Western) New York,” Wert said. “I’ve already had conversations with executive directors in two of those sections.”

Wert came to Cider Ridge with managerial experience from TPC Southwind in Memphis, the Penn State golf courses in State College, and Oakcreek Country Club in Sedona, Ariz. He is a member of the PGA Adjunct Faculty. He also is a former Texas high school golf teammate of PGA Tour veteran and 2015 U.S. Senior Open champion Jeff Maggert.

During Wert’s tenure at Cider Ridge, officials said, memberships have increased 30 percent, rounds increased 11 percent and overall revenue improved 8 percent. He also launched several youth programs to grow the game including the PGA Junior League, Nike Junior Golf Camps and Troon Junior Club. Cider Ridge also was to be the host site for the Calhoun County Golf Tour’s version of the Drive, Chip and Putt Challenge.

“It’s been a team effort,” Wert said. “I want to say a huge ‘Thanks’ to this awesome team here.”

CIDER RIDGE PROS/GOLF DIRECTORS (2002-date): Steve Ridge, Jon Samuelson, Lonnie Reece, Scott Moore, Lamar Carter, Casey Smith, Ed Joseph, Doug Wert.

Cover photo: Cider Ridge director of golf Doug Wert (R) presents Danny Edwards a commemorative bottle of wine after the former PGA Tour winner won the SunBelt Seniors Tour event at the course in June 2015.

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