At just four years old, Carly Werwie— Loyola’s women’s golf coach— picked up her first golf club. Her father, Tom Werwie, drove her to Capone’s Driving Range, a local range in Kenosha, Wisconsin where he used to work while growing up. Carly soon fell in love with the game of golf, a love she shares with her father.
Carly and Tom Werwie compete in the father-daughter Wisconsin State Golf Association (WSGA) every August in varying cities throughout Wisconsin, where both Carly and Tom are from.
“She has always embraced [golf] and has always loved it,” Tom said. “Golf is in her blood.”
Carly is no stranger to success, and her career vouches for that statement. In college, she played at the University of Wisconsin-Madison all four years, and later went on to play three seasons on the Symetra Tour, a golf tournament for women’s golf professionals. Werwie is also a member of the Professional Golf Association (PGA). Now, she’s in her fourth year as head women’s golf coach at Loyola.
Carly credits her ability to play at the level she does to her dad.
“He saw something in me when I was little,” she said. “He’s done so much to get me where I am now.”
Tom said he put her into her first 18-hole tournament, the PGA Junior Championship at Yahara Hills golf course in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2000, when she was 10 years old. Carly played in this tournament every year after and went on to win the tournament three times in 2004, 2005 and 2007.
“I never in my life thought that I would have ever seen that,” Tom said. “It was just amazing.”
As she grew older, Carly continued to surprise her dad in her accomplishments. First, she made it to qualifying school, a rigorous process with varying stages that players pass through to qualify for PGA and LPGA tours. She then played in the Symetra, and in 2008, was named Wisconsin’s Women’s player of the year. Tom said he is especially proud of how she is now teaching young girls to do what she loves and is passionate about.
“It’s a storybook ending for me as a parent, and a storybook ending for her,” he said. “I could never dream of a story that ended up like that.”
Carly and Tom have always been close. When Carly was growing up, they would go hit balls at the driving range, where Carly spent most of her time at and where she could name every ball in the bin, Tom said.
The two would also routinely drive to the golf course after dinner at night, play three holes and then finish the night getting ice cream. Tom noted that ice cream was his driving force, rather than the practice, which was Carly’s. The two said that getting ice cream after playing was a special tradition and memory, one that they have continued doing after the father-daughter tournament every year.
The duo has had great success in the tournament over the six years they have played. Out of those six, they have won four in the open division—Chenequa, Morning Star, Bristlecone Pines, and Wisconsin Dells. In this year’s tournament, they finished
fifth on the leaderboard with an even score. Though they have found success in the tournament, that has never been the primary reason for them to keep competing.
The tournament is a time they can spend one-on-one with each other.
For Tom, the tournament is not so much about playing golf, it’s about the moments in between, he said. He said the bonding time he gets with Carly during the tournament reminds him of times where he used to drive her to and from tournaments when she was younger.
“It’s about the car rides, going to the tournament, playing 18 holes with her,” he said. “Being with her and spending the day together is the part that makes it special.”
One specific memory he has is from when he and Carly drove back from Florida, where Carly had finished playing 72 holes every day for five days straight when she was in qualifying school. They started the 22-hour drive home at 3:30 a.m. thinking they would only drive as far as they could manage without tiring, but never ended up stopping. Tom said that of the entire drive, they never turned on the radio once— they just sat and talked.
The traditions and memories they have created and continued are a part of what brings them back.
Carly and Tom always look forward to when they can sign up for the next year’s tournament.
“My favorite memory is coming up to the 18th hole,” Tom said. “After that putt goes in, she gives me a big hug. That’s my memory.”
Correction: An earlier edition of this piece misspelled Carly Werwie’s name and referred to her as a member of the LPGA instead of the PGA. We regret these errors and they have since been corrected.