DEERWOOD — Jamie Alderman’s professional career has come full circle in a way.
The 41-year-old new head PGA professional at The Lakes Course at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge began his career at The Lakes Golf and Country Club in Westerville, Ohio.
“I did six months at the Lakes and six months at Loxahatchee Club in Jupiter, Florida,” said Alderman. “I did that for five years and got burnt out because I was going from busy season to busy season.
“Then I wanted to get to a place that was year round. So I happened to know a friend from a club called Treyburn Country Club in Durham, N.C. I really liked it and thought I would spend the rest of my life in North Carolina.”
A dream deal landed in Alderman’s lap and moved him to Baltimore where he helped host the USGA Senior Open at Caves Valley Golf Club. Prior to the Senior Open that year, a caravan from Windsong Farm Golf Club paid a visit to Caves Valley. The group of men consisted of John Harris and Jim Lehman. They were in charge of finding the head professional for the new private club that was then under construction in Independence, Minn.
Alderman arrived in Minnesota after the 2002 Senior Open and served as director of golf for eight years before leaving after the 2009 golf season.
“I took a year off and got married and tried to get a job, but nothing worked out,” said Alderman. “In March of 2011, Greg Snow left here and Ruttger’s found me because I was unattached. What they did was sent an e-mail to me wanting to know if I was interested. I sent back my resume and Ruttger’s management called me back, asking when I could come run.
“Right now I’m learning what things work and what changes might need to be made,” said Alderman. “I’m just sitting back and watching and listening. It’s almost like I’m a guest and I’m trying to act like a guest and see how things work. I’m evaluating the cart personnel and the pro shop personnel. What are the duties of the starter and ranger? How does the range work?
“Then I’ll step in and offer suggestions going forward on things that I would like to change. It’s a little early for me to know it all and I don’t want to be a know-it-all.”
Alderman said helping with the transition has been the existing personnel that remained despite the departure of Snow, who became director of golf at Olivia Golf Club.
Alderman said there are things he’d like to implement, like offering divot tools on the first tee to players to help keep up the golf course, which was a pleasant surprise for him.
“The biggest surprise in my first six weeks has been the golf course,” Alderman said. “The golf course is better than I could ever have imagined. The layout is great. There are no homes on the golf course so it’s a lot of elevation, trees and water. There are dog-leg rights, lefts, short par 4s, long par 4s and reachable par 5s.
“Just the flow and the layout is as good as it gets. It reminds me of Treyburn because of the elevation and all the trees. Very seldom do you get a golf course without homes.”
Don’t expect Alderman to play golf as much as Snow did, but he hopes to play the course with members and resort guests to hear feedback on the course and pro shop operation. If and when he picks up the clubs expect the former Wright State University player to shoot at or near par. Alderman said he tried the mini tours for two years out of college before joining the club professional business.
For now, with the spring not cooperating as every area course would like, Alderman said everyone is making him feel like he’s on vacation.
“Because of the aura of northern Minnesota,” said Alderman. “I call it northern Minnesota because coming from the Cities it feels like Northern Minnesota. Everyone is so laid back and not in a hurry with great family values.”
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.