GRANDVILLE, Mich. — Many golfing legends have played on the PGA Champions Tour, and now Grandville native Tom Werkmeister is hoping to join that list.
Coming off his victory at the Michigan Amateur Championship in June, Werkmeister announced it was his final tournament as an amateur. Werkmeister will turn his attention to the professional ranks and begin pursuing a spot on the Champions Tour, which is for players age 50 and over.
“I feel like I had to win and keep winning to make me believe that I can compete at the next level,” he said.
Werkmeister turns 50 in March, allowing him to compete for a spot.
“It’s like the timing is right to do this and I don’t want to, in 10 years, think, ‘Well, I wish I would’ve tried it,'” said Werkmeister.
The idea to make the jump to professional golf came last August when Werkmeister won the Golf Association of Michigan Championship. It was the final major state championship for his trophy case, which is when it all clicked.
“He’s just got a great mind for the game and a great mind for playing under pressure,” said Mike Boogaard, Werkmeister’s coach and part-time caddy. “He probably has the best eye-hand coordination of any player I’ve been around.”
In November, Werkmeister will begin a difficult qualifying process. First is the regional stage from Nov. 14-17 at a location yet to be determined. If he gets past that, he will compete in the final qualifying stage from Nov. 28 – Dec. 1 at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.
The top five players earn full exemption status to the Champions Tour.
“The only obstacle I see is having to learn to win at that level,” said Leslie Werkmeister, Tom’s wife. “Maybe getting a year or two under his belt, getting exposed to that situation and then I think he’s just going to step right into it and do what he does best — put bullseyes on people’s backs.”
As Werkmeister refines his game, he will continue to work at MCS Marketing in Jenison.