Area Golf: Wawro new director of golf at Cragun’s
43-year-old switches over from Grand View to Cragun's
Jack Wawro has a new home in the Brainerd lakes area golf world.
The 43-year-old is the new director of golf of Cragun’s Legacy Courses in East Gull Lake, replacing Chuck Klecatsky.
Wawro is no stranger to golf in the lakes area, having worked at Grand View Lodge the last 20 years including as its director of golf.
“He’s a fantastic addition,” Cragun’s general manager Eric Peterson said. “His enthusiasm and excitement for the project we have going and his experience in the past he had with Grand View is something that will bring a lot of energy here.”
The Legacy Courses offer new challenges for Wawro as the course is going through a $10 million renovation of its golf course designed by Tom Lehman. When all is done, Cragun’s will feature 45 holes of championship golf designed by Lehman’s team.
“It was the first thing that got me excited about the job,” Wawro said. “The ability to expand and put Tom Lehman’s name on that design is really exciting for me. Everyday there is something new going on and I’m able to work with Eric (Peterson) and Tom Lehman as well as our superintendent Matt McKinnon and be hands-on with the process. I’ve never seen a golf course be built before. Being able to see how this process happens and the decisions you have to make is super exciting.”
Along with expansion, Wawro takes over as tournament director of the CRMC Championship, which is a PGA Tour-Canada (formerly known as the Mackenzie Tour) event the Legacy Courses will host.
“As a golf professional that’s an exciting thing to take on,” Wawro said. “I’ve always been fond of hosting events and obviously this is a bigger scale then I’m used to and I’m excited to see what it takes, but I think long term it’s going to be great for Brainerd, great for Cragun’s and great for Minnesota.”
The goal is to have Lehman’s 18, which is part of Cragun’s expansion project, done by August 2022 to host the first official CRMC Championship, as the event was canceled in 2020 and 2021.
“We hope to have it open by then, but the truth of it is with the 27 we have open, we’ll have a really, really good 18 going from the white (course) to the blue (course),” Wawro said. “So either way we will have a very difficult golf course for the tour pros.”
It was bittersweet for Wawro leaving Grand View Lodge for Cragun’s with all the relationships he built at his old job.
“All the people I worked with and the members, I have so many memories and they are so awesome,” Wawro said. “I owe a lot to Eric Peterson who hired me and that’s another thing that drew me to Cragun’s. But it’s really hard to change. You know, bittersweet is the saying, but it’s really true because those guys are a part of my family. I’m very grateful for the opportunity they gave me out of college and how they took care of me over the years.”
Peterson said hiring Wawro was an easy decision, having worked with him at Grand View.
“I hired Jack back in 2001,” Peterson said. “It was a really easy hire for me, that's for sure. With the golf course expansion and the CRMC Championship kicking off in 2022, he’s going to bring a lot of that organization and sense of urgency to get things done, which he’s always had, and growing what we are doing here.”
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.