Tom Werkmeister described it as cautiously anxious to do better.
That’s the current state of his golf game.
Werkmeister, one of Michigan’s most successful amateur golfers of the last 20 years and a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member, turned professional just over a year ago and embarked with a goal to make it on the PGA Tour Champions.
Call it a work in practice with the cautiously anxious thing going on.
The Grandville resident showed some back-home flash earning medalist honors at the recent U.S. Senior Open qualifier at Battle Creek Country Club. He shot 69 and will be in the starting field of the Senior Open for a second consecutive year. This year’s championship is June 27-30 on The Warren Course on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind.
“I had a good round finally,” he said. “I don’t know if having very little confidence helps sometimes, but I played well and made a few putts. It was nice.”
Werkmeister spent most of the winter in Naples, Fla., working on his game.
“And I didn’t really play well,” he said. “Then this season (on the Champions Tour) I missed the first five tournaments (in qualifiers). I just played poorly. I was kind of wondering what was going on, but since I came back home a few weeks ago the game has started to come back. I’m starting to find some of the confidence I had lost. I’m rejuvenated and excited to play in more qualifiers and see what the summer brings. The winter did help me keep my short game, my wedges, sharp. I’m ready for it all to come together.”
He has a Champions Tour qualifier in Iowa the day after Memorial Day and will play in the Michigan Open Championship in June at Grand Traverse Resort. In 2013 he was the first amateur to win a Michigan Open since 1975.
“Pro golf has had its ups and downs for sure, but I’m still enjoying the journey,” he said. “I’m disappointed my results have not been better, but I keep telling myself it is a process and it takes a while.”
Werkmeister qualified for and played in four Champions Tour tournaments last year, including the Senior Open.
“I didn’t expect to have crazy success right away, and I knew it would be tough,” he said. “I also didn’t really know what to expect. I had to do it, and now I want to keep doing it.”
He has plans in place to make the trip overseas with some other senior professionals and earn his way into the British Senior Open, which has a qualifier on Monday of the tournament week (Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club, Lancashire, England, July 22-28).
“Really looking forward to trying that, and having the experience of playing over there,” he said.
He said he has a two-year contract with his current sponsors, which will end this year and it will get reevaluated.
“I plan to keep trying this,” he said. “A lot depends on my results obviously, but I travel around and have played with guys who are in their mid-50s and still doing it. I still have some more years of good golf in me. I’m going to keep playing and see what happens. That’s my goal. I’ve been given this opportunity and I want to keep going.”
He said he keeps up with his former amateur competitors through phone calls and scores via the GAM website.
“I miss the guys and all the GAM tournament people and volunteers,” he said. “I saw some of them at the qualifier, which was great. I loved amateur golf. I like this though, too. It’s a process, and I keep telling myself that.”