E.A. Sports Today

A Shur(den) thing

New Cider Ridge pro all about visitors to the course having a good experience; comes to Oxford course from World Golf Village

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — When Lee Shurden was a young assistant pro at Limestone Springs he often heard his members talk about their positive experiences with the course at Cider Ridge. Then he had the chance to play it a couple times and discovered all they were saying was true.

Beginning Monday Shurden will have a Cider Ridge experience every day as the facility’s new director of golf and clubhouse manager. He will be the ninth man in charge in the course’s 15-year history and replaces Doug Wert, who left in September for a management position with the PGA junior program.

It’s Shurden’s first opportunity to run his own facility and that was one of the most appealing aspects for the 31-year-old Mississippi native to leave the courses of the World Golf Village.


“It was the right time for that move and little closer to home; it’s definitely an opportunity,” Shurden said Sunday as he prepared for the first day at his new post. “I’m somewhat familiar with the area having worked at Limestone and know there’s a lot of golf in Birmingham, a lot of good golf here and it’s somewhat underrated.

“I think there’s a stronger golf community in Birmingham than people give it credit for and the position Cider Ridge is in it has a chance to really be successful. Everyone I’ve talked to talked about how much they love this course. It’s a gem of this community, not just a place to play when they pass through or they need a reason to play when they pass through.”

Shurden has been an Honours Golf guy his entire professional career. He spent the last five years as the head professional at the WGV’s Slammer & Squire and King & Bear courses in St. Augustine, Fla. He spent two years before that as the assistant at Limestone — his first full-time gig after graduating from the PGM program at Mississippi State – and also helped Cherokee Ridge through a period of managerial transition.

He did internships at Kelly Plantation in Destin and Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club in Gulf Shores as well as Des Moines (Iowa) Golf & CC, which just hosted the Solheim Cup.

It was during his time at Limestone he learned about and appreciated Cider Ridge.

“I think it’s a great property, the views from the hills are absolutely gorgeous, especially this time of year,” he said. “It’s the same thing at Limestone and I forgot how much I missed it. When I came up to talk about the position (at Cider Ridge) I came over the hill and said I forgot how nice an area it is.

“It is a beautiful piece of land where you can do a lot of things. I think it’s always been a great reflection of what an Honours property should be.”

He has played the course “probably a half dozen times” and described his success on it as “a fair fight. We’ve traded barbs.”

No barbs here, unless they’re the good-natured kind that come after a friendly round.

“At the end of the day golf is a game that’s meant to have fun when you play it,” Shurden said. “The main thing I want out of a club I am in charge of is the people enjoy their time there. Whether it’s coming to lunch, hanging out in the grille to watch a football game or play a competitive round, we want that everyone out here has the best time we can provide for them.”

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