Every month, a new edition of Golf Digest magazine would arrive at the Port Ludlow Golf Resort pro shop.
And every month, Mark Wurtz would grab it off the shelf in his father’s office, take it home and dig through each article.
“I was 10 years old and I read everything,” Wurtz said. “Dad would get so upset, because from those articles, I would try one (swing tip) one week, and do something else the next.
“It always intrigued me what those great players were doing with their games and what they were thinking.”
After spending more than two decades as a touring professional, including two stints on the PGA Tour (1994-95, 1998), Wurtz, 48, has entered the next phase of his professional life — as a full-time golf teacher.
Wurtz has found a home at Meadow Park Golf Course in south Tacoma, and he gives lessons at Madrona Links Golf
Course in Gig Harbor.
“You’ve got to keep it really simple,” Wurtz said. “You can’t give a person too much information — one backswing thought and one downswing thought. And if you can limit it all to just one thought, even better. The swing only takes 11/2 seconds to make.”
A Yakima native, Wurtz grew up in Chimacum. His father, Ted, was a longtime head professional at Port Ludlow.
In 1982, Wurtz went off to play at New Mexico, and he turned professional four years later.
And he played all around the world — on the Golden State mini-tour in California (late 1980s), the Asian Tour (1990-91) and the Canadian Tour (1990-92) before earning his PGA Tour card for 1994 through qualifying school.
Wurtz bounced back and forth between the PGA Tour and its developmental-level tour. His biggest win came on the Web.com Tour (then called the Nike Tour) at the Shreveport Open in 1997.
He spent the following season on the PGA Tour — his final one on that tour — before spending the rest of his touring career on the Web.com Tour. He lost all status in 2007.
In all, Wurtz won 15 professional tournaments.
“I made a decent living,” Wurtz said. “The PGA Tour was such a nice place to play — big audiences, and I got to play the best golf courses in the United States. The endorsements were pretty good. I met a lot of good guys but it went by so fast.”
While on tour, Wurtz hooked up with legendary Mac O’Grady as his swing instructor. The two lived in La Quinta, Calif., in the offseason.
“I learned a lot under him — what science says about the golf swing and what physics say about it,” Wurtz said. “We watched a lot of video together.”
After Wurtz lost his tour card, he relocated to Port Townsend, and he was the head professional at Discovery Bay Golf Club for one year in 2011.
And after he went back to live in the California desert, he was contacted last winter by Jason Follen and Ryan Welborn — former mini-tour colleagues of Wurtz’s in the 1980s who now co-own the Foley’s On the Green restaurant at Meadow Park — about teaching opportunities in Tacoma.
Wurtz plans on being a full-time instructor in the area until November before returning to La Quinta, where his two children go to school. He has plans for joining the 50-and-over Champions Tour in 2015.Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@ thenewstribune.com