APPLETON - Few people have the talent to compete on the PGA tour, one Fox Cities resident is trying to make the excitement of tournament golf accessible to every player. Tour founder Matt Werner played golf in high school at Appleton West and his love of the game has continued through his adult life.
"I'm a competition junky I just wanted to create something for everybody to play in," Werner said. That's why Matt Werner founded the Fox Cities golf tour. Eight events are scheduled for the inaugural season with tournaments across the Fox Valley, including a tournament championship. The players will compete for prizes that include Visa gift cards. If you decide to play you just have to sign up a week ahead of time on the tour’s website, foxcitiesgolftour.com.
While Werner would love to see players play all eight events, it’s not a necessity. "You don't have to play in them all but the more events you play the more points you earn. Then at the end of the year there will be prizes and awards based on your performance for the whole season," Werner said.
One of the things that makes the Fox Cities Golf Tour different is it's not just for low handicappers or local pros it's for every player regardless of their skill level. “If you just like getting out there and playing on the weekends and you shoot in the 80, 90's or even 100's there isn't really a lot for you to do so I thought I'd create something that's for everybody," Werner said.
To make sure everyone has a chance to win the tournament field will be divided into divisions so players can compete against golfers of similar skill levels. Tour Director Matt Werner explained the way the tournament will be divided. "It's set up so it's all flighted, it's all handicapped. You don't have to have an established handicap to start you can just sign up tell me what your average score is and I can get you into an appropriate flight."
Just because the tournament is flighted, that doesn't mean collecting the top prizes will be easy.
Stacey Gassner is the head golf professional at Reid Golf Course in Appleton, site of one of this summer’s events. Gassner thinks players will find playing in an individual tournament format a fun challenge. "Everybody tells me how great their handicap has gone down. You can't compare it to tournament golf,” Gassner said. “As soon as you start playing tournament golf then you'll find out how good of a player you are under pressure."
Gassner added that the biggest concern he’s heard from people is whether the tour will survive after similar ventures in the past have floundered. He has faith though that the Fox Cities Golf Tour will be different. "I think that as Matt gets started and people start playing in it and if it's run like I expect Matt to run it, buzz will be everywhere and I think you'll get a lot of people to play in it."
"I would just say if you ever thought about or wanted to or had the intrigue to get out there and play on a competitive level no matter what your skill set is give it a shot," Matt Werner said. That shot may even find the bottom of the cup and earn players some prizes.