Judy's lack of size has always made her golfing feats seem the more impressive. For example, when she showed up to register for the 1959 Women's Open in Pittsburgh she was not quite 5 feet tall and weighed 80 pounds. "Don't you mean you want to register for your mother?" asked the surprised man at the registration desk.
But almost as startling as Judy's size is her background. It contains none of the accouterments usually thought essential for success in women's golf. When Judy was 7 and an only child, the close-knit Torluemke family was tragically disrupted by the lingering illness of her mother, Waneta, who developed a malignant brain tumor and died 4� years later. In addition, the family income has always just been barely enough to cover day-to-day expenses, and Mr. Torluemke is not a golf pro with ready access to professional know-how and the best in equipment. Judy's club, the Triple "A," is a sort of workingmen's country club. Noted principally for its vigorous tennis program, which has produced Pro Butch Buchholz and Wimbledon finalist Chuck McKinley, its golf course is only nine holes and 2,800 yards long, has no rough and only three sand traps. It is hardly the place at which to train for the Women's Open on the stupendously long, heavily trapped Baltusrol course. Yet train there Judy did this spring, and at Baltusrol fashioned rounds of 82, 78, 78 and 82 for a creditable 320 and 25th place.
One explanation for Judy's seemingly miraculous play is that she has been well taught, by Green and by her father. Her swing and body turn are smooth and powerful. Another is her ability to hit the ball far. She gets this distance from an absurdly unorthodox grip. Her left hand is turned so far to the right on the shaft that her left palm rests directly on top of it. Instead of pointing toward the target in the approved manner, the back of her left hand faces squarely to the front. Ordinarily this grip would create a boomeranging hook, but Judy has developed such strength in her left arm, wrist and hand that she is able to hit the ball hard with her right hand while keeping the left wrist from rolling over at impact. The result is a high-flying, carefully controlled hook that travels an average of 220 yards.
Judy also is an exceptionally determined player. When she is on a golf course, whether in a championship or just practicing, her freckled face is grim, her back is straight and her stride is brisk. She works hard over every shot and every putt. An example of her terrierlike diligence occurred during the second round of this year's Open. She was even par after three holes but hooked her tee shot into some trees on the par-3 fourth hole and took a 6. Disgusted but not discouraged, she birdied the next hole, an uphill par 4 of 359 yards. Trying too hard for a birdie on the 6th hole (400 yards, par 4) she three-putted from 10 feet for a bogey. Then she birdied the 7th hole. When the round was over Judy had scored a triple bogey, one double bogey and five bogeys, but had also added seven pars and four birdies for a 78. In a field of 83 her score was only one of 18 below 80. Paul Torluemke was so impressed with the excitement his daughter had stirred among the galleries that he now thinks daring golf is the best golf. "That's the only way to play, win or lose," he says. "I'm going to tell her to aim for the birdie every time."
A positive man about his daughter's golf, father Torluemke does not, however, hold a whip over Judy's head. He will often suggest that she put in a lengthy drill on a shot that she is relatively weak on, but most observers agree that it is Judy's own eagerness and determination that leads her to her long hours of practice, not the fanaticism of her father. Paul Torluemke does set targets for Judy and, like any child, she is inclined to go along with him. One such target, and in fact the first, was the British Amateur, a tournament which 10 years ago Torluemke believed was the major event in women's golf.
When I was 6," Judy recalls, "I thought that Queen Elizabeth was the most beautiful woman in the world. So Daddy said that if I was good enough we could go over to Great Britain when I was 16, win in the British Amateur and then be taken to meet the Queen. Well, the excitement about meeting the Queen sort of wore off when I was 10, but we still kept thinking about entering the tournament."
Judy was good enough, but right up to this year there appeared to be no money to pay for the trip. At the last minute Green rounded up two sponsors who donated $600 apiece, and the trip was on. It turned out to be a gloomy one. The championship was played at Carnoustie in Scotland, and the weather was cold and rainy. Judy, who had been right around par in her two practice rounds on the demanding Carnoustie course, drew a bye in the first round. Then in her second-round match with Sheila McKinven she was even after 16 holes, having rallied from a 3-hole deficit after 12. An unplayable lie in a gorse bush just off the green cost her the 17th, and when the 18th was halved Judy had lost. Here she proved that she was very human and still a girl. Coming off the 18th green she burst into tears. The Torluemkes left for home the next day.
After the initial shock, Judy was able to take her British Amateur failure just as she has all her successes, with very little fuss. Nine years of local and national publicity have had slight effect on her. "My best girl friends hardly know I'm a golfer," she says. "When I win something they say 'congratulations' and forget it. I think it's just as well that way."
Her father remarried three years ago. His wife, the former Mrs. Betty Martens, has four children of her own, and the Torluemkes have their own 2-year-old boy. Judy, suddenly, is the oldest of six. The family lives in suburban Ellisville, and Judy, who is now 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 110, drives the Torluemkes' 1959 royal-blue gearshift Chevrolet with a deft and confident ease. With her senior year in high school coming up, she has suddenly discovered that being a good golfer has made her very popular with boys. On her tournament trips she can look forward to winning beaus as well as trophies.
Before this summer's journey to the Northwest, Judy was in an optimistic mood as she sat in the breezy, cool shade outside the Triple "A" clubhouse. This was to be her sixth Girls' Junior Championship and she felt she had an excellent chance to win. Last year she lost the semifinals to Winner Sorenson only after blowing a 3-hole lead with five to play.