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Ron Wrigley: An Escape from the Rigors of Life

By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern

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f one were to ask for a list of some of the most beautiful places in the world, this supposed list might contain places like the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia, the tiny village of Lauter brunnen located high in the Swiss Alps, and Moraine Lake in Banff’s National Park. But, for one long-term Salt Lake resident, not much can beat, in terms of beauty, the looks of a green, lush golf course.

Golf is an escape, a way to break away from the rigors of life, especially from work for Ron Wrigley – a Utah Golf Association member like you and me. For Wrigley, golf has become a channel for which happiness can rush through – a medium that is used for rejuvenation and lifted spirits for the 75-year-old.  

Wrigley said: “It makes you forget a lot of trouble. It is an escape … It puts me in a place that I’m very happy being.”

Three times a week, or possibly even more, one can find Wrigley hitting the links at Glendale, Nibley Park and Bonneville Golf Courses. It’s here, at these golf courses, that he meets with some of his dearest friends to participate in their tri-weekly betting matches.

Wrigley, as well as Mike McGuire, Bob Fitzsimmons and Steve Allred, make up what they like to call the “Old-Fart Group.” This foursome, as well as the rest of the bigger group they play in, love nothing more than to put a few dollars on the line before teeing off. Wrigley loves to “bet against someone” and take something from them.

“I [enjoy] beating somebody, whether for a dime, a dollar or 15 cents,” Wrigley stated. “It’s competition, one-on-one against somebody… and needling!”

Wrigley’s introduction into the game of golf wasn’t the most pleasurable in comparison to others. At the ripe of old age of 10, he was called upon to caddy for his dad at two local courses: Forest Dale and Bonneville. Despite having to caddy, watching his dad – who happened to be a 1-handicap at the time – was the needed foundation for his love of the game.

Yet, the real desire and passion stemmed from his interactions with Utah legend, Vincent “Vinnie” McGuire. The late McGuire, father of Wrigley’s friend Mike, was instrumental in Wrigley’s youth – having been a professional at Fort Douglas Country Club, the Country Club of Salt Lake and the University of Utah Golf Course.

Having the opportunity to caddy at both the old Fort Douglas CC – located on the U of U campus – and the Country Club, Wrigley was constantly being taught by Vinnie McGuire – his true mentor – all the way through his high school years.

 Golf, however, was not Wrigley’s first sporting passion in life; it was baseball. Having played baseball competitively all the way growing up until his sophomore year at Highland High School, Wrigley was faced with a difficult decision; baseball and golf were both spring sports and he could only play one.

His choice … golf. It was simply “because he was better at it.”

Wrigley has three holes-in-one to his name: No.7 at Moab Golf Course, No. 3 on the Pointe at Sunbrook Golf Course and No. 16 at Southgate Golf Course. He also has a double eagle at Bonneville’s No. 12 – feats that most golfers never taste of.  He has also shot his age multiple times; the first came when he was 72 years old.

Family life couldn’t be better for Wrigley. He has been happily married to his dear sweetheart, Margene, for 44 years. He has two daughters who have given him three brilliant grandchildren, and according to him, being a grandpa is the “best thing in the world.”

Wrigley and his darling wife love to take trips to Livingston, Montana (about 60 miles north of the North Yellowstone Entrance) to see one of their daughters and newly-born grandson. He particularly enjoys floating down the Yellowstone River close to their home with his daughter and son-in-law.

Ron and Margene Wrigley own a real estate brokerage, which they run out of their house. They’ve both been in real estate for upwards of 20 plus years; the company is called Wrigley Realty PLLC.

Prior to working in the real estate business, Ron Wrigley was in the Navy, sold lumber at Georgia-Pacific, and worked at Kennecott Copper Mine for 20 years.

Ron, thank you for having a deep passion for the game of golf. Your love for the game is an inspiration to all of us.