Wisconsin native and LPGA Tour hopeful, Carly Werwie starts her 2015 on the Symetra Tour and talks in this exclusive piece.
Ask any athlete or coach that has spent time playing, or should I say, surviving the minor leagues of their respective sports, they will tell you that the life of a professional athlete is usually far from glamorous.
It’s a grind and a hassle, but as professional golfer Carly Werwie says, “(but) not many people can say they get to chase their dream job.”
A dream job is what it is for the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and all the top golfers on the PGA and LPGA Tours, but getting to that point can be mentally, physically and financially draining.
Werwie, a Kenosha, Wisconsin native and two-time Wisconsin state high school champ, is starting her third full year on the Symetra Tour, which is basically one-step below the major leagues of women’s golf, the LPGA Tour. Werwie parlayed a successful high school and junior golf resume into a spot on the University of Wisconsin women’s golf team where she became one of the top college golfers in the country.
That’s the thing about professional sports, high school and college success doesn’t always translate to the professional level, but in this country where more than 20,000 athletes compete at the minor league and semi-pro level, there is always hope.
In fact, Werwie is showing improvement each and every year, and that is usually what athletes not playing at the top tier of the sports are always looking at. Werwie told me she made some big changes for 2015 after making it to the final stage of LPGA qualifying in 2014 and making 9 of 18 cuts during the season.
The Symetra Tour begins this week in Mesa, Arizona with the Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club. It’s the first of 21 events this year on the Symetra Tour calendar and Werwie is in the field.
“I moved to Arizona this winter to help prepare my game for the 2015 season,” said Werwie. “So far I’m happy with the move and feel I’ve made good progress in my golf game. I also started to work with a golf fitness trainer, Damon Shelton, at Method Athlete in Scottsdale. I’ve seen improvements in my swing in terms of strength and flexibility, and now it’s a matter of time for the results to show in tournament play.”
Unlike some professional athletes, even those at the top of the pay scale, Werwie says she has no problem getting motivated.
“My 2014 was motivating to me. I chose this word because I lowered my scoring average and had my best finish as a professional with a T16 at Stage 2 of LPGA Q-School. Even though my season didn’t have great finishes in Symetra events, I saw changes in my game that were not present the previous year. My putting improved tremendously my last five events, and that really pushed me to stay motivated at the end of my season and for Q-School.”
Werwie also finds motivation in the fact that she is a golfer that hails from a state that isn’t known for producing a great number of professional women golfers.
“Being a golfer from Wisconsin (can be) a lot of fun because everyone always seems surprised when I say where I’m from,” adds Werwie who is a Wilson Golf staff member and a great spokesperson for Wilson golf equipment. “I’m proud to be from Wisconsin and to play golf at such a high level. I think a lot of people underestimate golfers from the north. I do know if it’s cold while playing, I have an advantage from playing one too many cold rounds growing up and in college!”
With status on the Symetra Tour, Werwie is embarking on a busy 2015.
“I will be playing almost a full schedule on the Symetra Tour for 2015. I have full status and will be able to get in every event, but I might take a week off here and there depending on how I feel throughout the season with all the traveling we do. I plan to play in the U.S. Women’s Open Qualifier as well.”
Playing in the U.S. Open would be a career highlight for Werwie, but this year, she will play in an event that will also mean a great deal to her.
At the end of July, the Symetra Tour will roll into Milwaukee, a short drive from Kenosha and Madison, for the PHC Classic. 2015 will be the first year a Symetra Tour event comes to Milwaukee.
“I am beyond excited to have an event in Milwaukee, which is quite close to home! It will be a lot of fun to have family and friends at the tournament. I think it also shows that Wisconsin wants to be a part of professional golf on the women’s side of the game. Wisconsin has so many fantastic golf courses, and it will be a great experience to play at Brown Deer Park (Golf Course)as a professional in a professional tournament. Being able to play in a new Symetra tournament in Milwaukee is a wonderful addition to growing professional women’s golf on the Symetra Tour. I feel proud that my state is helping not only myself, but my fellow competitors as well with a new event to allow us another opportunity to grow the Symetra Tour and pursue our dream of earning an LPGA card.”
Werwie will have family and friends watching her when the Symetra Tour comes to Milwaukee, and she feels blessed for the support they have given her over the years.
“I look up to my parents and have a very close relationship with my sister,” adds Werwie, who started playing golf at the age of four. “They have been an incredible support system throughout my whole life and golf career. Whether I have a good round or a bad round they are always supportive. My parents have done a lot to help get me to where I am today. My hard work and determination comes from seeing all that they have done to give me an opportunity to go after my dream of playing on the LPGA Tour.”
While qualifying for the U.S. Open and playing well in her hometown event would rank high on Werwie’s list of goals, the reason she is traveling to places like Beaumont, California, Battle Creek, Mich., and Mayetta, Kansas, this year, is to earn her playing privileges on the LPGA for 2016.
“My 2015 goals are to earn my LPGA card; preferably through Symetra but otherwise through Q-School. (Another goal is) to be in contention for winning, and to truly enjoy this golf season because not many people can say they get to chase their dream.”
The Symetra Tour bills itself as “The Road to the LPGA Tour.”
Werwie is in action this week in Mesa, at the Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club.