100 Clubhouse Dr
Ocean Pines, MD 21811
Call Us Today
  • banner sub 1
  • sub banner 11
  • sub banner 9
  • sub banner 10
  • banner sub 2
  • banner sub 3
  • banner sub 4
  • banner sub
  • banner sub
  • banner sub

Homegrown Talent to Lead New Golf Academy at Ocean Pines

Matt Ruggiere(Feb. 8, 2023) Ten years ago, a junior golfer named Matt Ruggiere could be found at the Ocean Pines Golf Club most mornings, his car headlights pointed at the driving range as he practiced chipping just before class.

This March, Ruggiere will return home to lead a new Golf Academy at Ocean Pines, offering lessons to players of all ages and skill levels.

Ruggiere grew up in the South Gate area of Ocean Pines and played golf for Stephen Decatur High School. He also toured the Mid-Atlantic region on junior golf teams.

He said the Ocean Pines Golf Club is still a favorite, because of the Robert Trent Jones design.

“Ocean Pines was always my home course. The design is just spectacular,” Ruggiere said. “I do think it’s one of the most challenging in the area, so being a competitive junior and having a place to play and practice, I felt like I always had an edge over kids that came from other courses. That helped me a lot when I started competing.”
Right after high school, Ruggiere moved to Colorado to teach snowboarding.

“I think being up there and away from golf for a couple of months was what really drove me to realize my passion for golf,” he said.

He moved back to Ocean Pines the next summer to refocus on golf, and then went to Florida for five years to tour the southeastern United States and West Coast as a competitive golfer. He played in several U.S. Open qualifying rounds and built up his professional resume working at courses like the LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida, and the Indian Peaks Golf Course in Boulder, Colorado.

After suffering from a nagging wrist injury several years ago, Ruggiere decided it was time to transition from playing to teaching.

“Through playing, the competition, and some of the networks and friends I made, I really found my passion in teaching and coaching,” he said. “I got the ball rolling with that and kept pursuing it.”
Ruggiere created the www.ruggieregolf.com website that helped brand his teaching program. A few months ago, he messaged Ocean Pines Golf Director Bob Beckelman about bringing that program to the community where he grew up.

“For me, it was perfect timing,” he said. “I already had the backbone of the website ready to go, and I couldn’t wait to get started in Ocean Pines.”

Ruggiere’s name was brought up during recent budget meetings, and the Association started heavily advertising the new golf academy this month.

“My family’s been telling me there’s a little bit of buzz around town, which great to hear. My aunt and uncle in Virginia were even sending me pictures!” he said. “My finance, Lindsey, has also been super supportive.

Matt Ruggiere Teaching Picture“It’s just really exciting to be able to go back and be the face of the instruction program, because I have great memories of growing up and playing in Ocean Pines,” Ruggiere continued. “Hopefully, I get some juniors who have the same passion that I did, and I can help them grow and pursue their goals.”

The academy officially starts on March 7, but players can start booking private and group lessons now.

That includes an eight-week spring and summer program for juniors and women, and a spring break clinic for junior golfers on April 6-7.

“I think the game of golf has so much to offer. It’s a sport where you can always push yourself, whether you’re a junior just learning to play, or whether you’re 80 or 90 years old,” Ruggiere said. “It’s also just a great way to get outside, enjoy nature, and spend time with family and friends.”
Ocean Pines General Manager John Viola said he's excited to welcome Ruggiere back.

“This young man is a homegrown talent, and I remember seeing him play as a junior golfer and being very impressed,” Viola said. “It's just a great story, and we think Matt is going to be a fantastic addition to our team and to our Golf program.”

For more information and scheduling for the Golf Academy at Ocean Pines, visit www.ruggieregolf.com, or call 386-846-3505 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..