TERRE HAUTE — Carrie Werneke sat in a golf cart last summer at Rea Park watching intently as a match progressed for the Terre Haute Women’s City Championship that pitted her granddaughter, Gennifer Marrs, against Cara Stuckey, the eventual winner.
One would think it would have been an easy matter for Carrie to think back to a bygone era when she herself was hoisting trophies emblematic of the nine city titles she claimed during a period from 1956 to 1990.
In addition, Werneke also won 24 women’s club championships at the Country Club of Terre Haute between 1953 and 2000.
Carrie got her start in golf in 1948 after meeting Hubert “Budd” Werneke, who was the starter-manager of the Stadium Golf Course. Budd proved to be an excellent teacher, and Carrie was certainly an adept learner as she quickly grasped the fundamentals of the game but not before a couple of early setbacks.
A bone condition in her right leg necessitated surgery in 1949, the same year she graduated from Wiley High School. Carrie and Budd were married in 1951 and a second surgery was also required in 1951.
Although a solid player in his own right, once shooting a 70 in the city Interclub match at the Phoenix Country Club course, Budd was content to help Carrie become one of Terre Haute’s premier players. Through the years, Carrie Werneke has not been content to limit her golfing prowess to Terre Haute’s fairways and greens. In 1967, she was runner-up to Alice Dye in the Indiana Women’s Golf Association Championship.
It was back in 1988 when Carrie shot an 83 in the women’s Western Golf Association National Senior Championship during the first round, which placed her in fourth position at the Lakewood Country club in Point Clear, Ala. She then added an 88 before the remainder of the tourney was cancelled when a huge storm rendered the course unplayable, and she ultimately finished sixth.
In 1987, Carrie won the Indiana Women’s Senior Amateur Championship played at Delaware County Club in Muncie. She would also place second when the tourney was played at Country Club of Terre Haute.
One of Carrie’s best rounds was a 73 in the Indiana Senior Women’s Amateur played in 1995 at Sultan’s Run, a round that would earn her medalist honors. She ultimately finished third in that competition which was also won by Alice Dye who had a reputation as one of the best female golfers in the United States.
The long-driving Werneke recalls playing in an exhibition at Rea Park featuring the late Patty Berg back in the 1950s. Warren Artz and Mike Kaperak filled the foursome. Carrie remembers shooting a 43 when Berg scored a 39, and she recalls, “My score wasn’t the highest in the foursome.” Carrie also recalls serving as president of the Indiana Women’s Golf Association in 1968 and 1969.
Carrie and Budd Werneke are the parents of two daughters, Jane Roots and Susan Anderson. Susan played golf on the South Vigo team back in the late 1970s and is the mother of Gennifer Marrs.
These days, Carrie and Budd get great satisfaction from watching Gennifer develop into the strong player she has become. Carrie indicated, “There is more pressure in watching her play than there was when I was competing myself. It’s been very satisfying watching her improve her course management skills and develop as a player.”
Gennifer attended North Vigo where she not only earned four letters, but also earned three gold medal awards as she played the number-one position for three years.
Gennifer is now a senior and a member of the Indiana University Golf Squad. She will earn her third varsity letter at the conclusion of the current season. It’s axiomatic to understand how Gennifer’s interest in golf has blossomed through the years.
Carrie Werneke recalls playing to a six handicap during her competitive days and scoring a hole in one on Allendale’s 10th hole. Werneke is far from hanging up her clubs at the age of 75. She is currently a member of OLGA, which stands for Old Ladies Golf Association. This group plays tournaments throughout Indiana. Carrie has two wins to her credit in these competitions.
Carrie Werneke has always demonstrated the character, skill and sportsmanship of a truly outstanding golfer.
The Terre Haute Women’s Golf Association doesn’t have a Hall of Fame, but if and when they do, this writer would be the first to nominate Carrie Werneke as a charter member.
Many local golfers were saddened to learn of the death of Maynard Davison, who for many years was the secretary-treasurer of the Rea Park Senior Golf League. A number of years ago, Maynard also coached Honey Creek High School golf teams. He was always an asset to the Terre Haute golf scene.
• Congratulations are in order for Ernie Maesch, who captured the Idle Creek Club Championship recently. Denny Taparo was the winner in the net division, whereas Jim Roberts was the senior club champ.
• At Hulman Links, Bill Doan Jr. has been playing some top flight golf this fall. He recently accompanied his “hunt” to some regional courses such as Iron Horse in Tuscola, Ill., and Stone Creek in Champaign, Ill. Both courses have been popular sites for Terre Haute golfers.
• Tim Tennant is up to his par-busting ways again at the Elks Fort Harrison course. A short time ago, he threw a 65 at his playing partners. Others posting some excellent scores include Tim Clements, Bo Lantz and Floyd Shassere.
One of the consistent age shooters at the Elks would have to be Harold Isles, who is also one of the most improved players on the northside course. Recently, Nick Meneely fired a career best 72 on the Fort Harrison layout.
Mac McCalister made a notable comeback after quadruple bypass surgery. After a three-and-a-half month convalescence, Mac fired a first time back 76 to put his playing partners on notice.
• Hulman Links Pro and Director of Terre Haute Golf Jon Holloway advises that the men’s city tournament traveling trophy has done just that, “traveled” to parts unknown and unauthorized.
Because the trophy will be extremely expensive to replace, Jon would like for anyone who has information in regard to the trophy’s whereabouts to call him at Hulman Links, phone (812) 877-2096.
• Tip of the week — Golfers sometimes fall into the habit of hitting “at the ball” instead of swinging “through the ball”. If you swing at the ball, the tendency is to relax your muscles, which may occur before contact and produce a mis-hit. Swing through the ball and watch your shotmaking improve.
That’s about it for this season, although I’m sure there is plenty of golf yet to be played. So remember to “Keep your head down and your shoestrings tied. We’ll be back in 2007.”
Bob Arnett can be reached by mail at the Tribune-Star, P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN 47808.