Elea Navarro was among 7 recipients chosen to receive a scholarship from the Auggie Navarro Scholarship Foundation. She received a $10,000 scholarship courtesy of the Wichita Junior Golf Foundation. Elea and her Kapaun Mount Carmel teammates also placed first at the Kansas 5A regionals. Congratulations!
Growing up in a pair of boxcars on North Broadway, Auggie Navarro never envisioned himself making a living whacking a little white ball around manicured fairways and greens.
But when his dad got a maintenance job at the original Crestview Country Club course, Auggie started caddying there. Thus began the Navarro family’s three-generation association with Wichita’s golf scene, a connection that’s produced champions, teaching pros and, since 2013, a scholarship program for high school golfers.
Navarro competed against greats such as Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino during his career.
“I was a good golfer and golf gave me everything I have,” Auggie said before his death in 2012. “What more can a guy ask for?”
Auggie’s father, Antonio “Tony” Navarro, was a Mexican immigrant and trackman for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad, which gave some of its workers boxcars to live in. The boxcars stood on North Broadway, across from where Savute’s Italian Ristorante now sits. Tony, his wife, Angela, and their 10 children lived in two of them.
Tony later took a job at Crestview, then located at what became Wichita State University’s Braeburn Golf Course. Asked if he had any children who could caddy for the club’s golfers, Tony replied, “Boy, do I have kids.”
Auggie and five brothers lugged members’ clubs around Crestview for 90 cents a day. The boys walked or hitchhiked four miles to the course at 21st and Oliver.
A member named Godfrey Hartwell often asked Auggie to be his caddy. Hartwell also allowed Auggie to use his clubs to hit balls on the course, breaking the club’s rules against caddies playing there. When Auggie was 17, Hartwell lent the teen his clubs to play and win his first event, a local caddy tournament that earned him a spot in a national caddy tournament in Ohio.
“That’s how he fell in love with the game,” said Auggie’s son, Rick Navarro.
Auggie went on to play golf at Wichita North High School, where he met his wife, Donna. Their children say Donna’s mother, proud of her Dutch heritage, tried to dissuade her daughter from dating Auggie.
Auggie won state and local events as an amateur during the 1950s. After working at area manufacturing plants, he was hired as an assistant pro at MacDonald Golf Course, working with head pro Tex Consolver for four years. In 1962, Auggie took over as head golf pro at Sim Golf Course, a job he kept until his retirement.
He became a member of the South Central Section PGA, winning tournaments in Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas during the 1960s. In 1982, he tied a U.S. record low golf score by shooting 14 below par 57 at Sim. The next year, he began playing Senior PGA tour events, cracking the top 100 money winners.
Midway through a 1988 senior pro tournament in Florida that included Arnold Palmer and other well-known players, Auggie was on top of the leaderboard. The next day, a local Miami newspaper carried a story with the headline, “Who the heck is Auggie Navarro?’”
In the article, Auggie tried to explain: “I guess you wouldn’t call me a household name. I’ve been a golf pro at Sim Park, a municipal course in Wichita for 20 years. I run the pro shop and the concessions, handle the carts and have a junior program there. I guess you’d say it’s day and night difference from Palmer and guys like that.”
Keeping golf in the family
Auggie’s brothers also continued to play golf, sometimes joined by their father, Tony. Auggie’s brother, Frank, became a go-to golf club repairer in the state.
Auggie, Donna and their three children lived a block from Sim Golf Course. Donna helped run the pro shop and concession stand, and the kids all learned the game.
“I played it from sunup to sundown,” said Gary Navarro, who played at Wichita North, winning his first state championship in 1966. He earned All-American honors in 1973 while playing for WSU.
Rick, too, played golf at both North and WSU.
“One of the reasons we excelled at golf was because Dad had us playing with the gang when we were in junior high,” Rick said. “The gang” was a group of about 30 men who would tee off at 10:30 in the morning at Sim.
Both Gary and Rick went on to work as golf pros at local golf courses — Rick at Crestview and Tallgrass Country Club, Gary at Wichita Country Club. First Gary and then Rick helped Charles Koch with his golf game, which eventually led to both leaving their golf careers to work in the oil industry. Rick, Gary and their sister, Deborah, now work for MV Purchasing, which markets petroleum products.
A third generation has kept the family legacy going. Rick’s son, Chase, was ranked fifth in the state while in high school at Kapaun Mt. Carmel. In October, Gary’s daughter, Elea, helped her Kapaun girls golf team win a state championship on the same Salina golf course where Gary won his first state championship. Elea will be a senior this year at Kapaun. Rick also is helping coach his 12-year-old daughter, Kaydance.
Auggie helped start the Wichita Junior Golf Program, which introduces the game to area youth ages 9 to 17. The only cost to participants is a $25 enrollment fee; instruction, golf course fees and equipment are provided.
His children continue to support that effort and also started a college scholarship program in Auggie’s name, raising about $455,00 through an annual golf tournament held the last nine years. Four $1,000 scholarships were awarded in 2013. Since then, 31 scholarships worth $10,000 each have been given to golfers who played in high school or a recognized junior golf program in Kansas.
This year, the tournament became a pro-am event in which 32 golfers competed for a spot in the Wichita Open, part of the PGA’s developmental tour.
Article By Amy Geiszler-Jones
The 9th Ammual Auggie Navarro Pro-Am Invitational was a huge success, with this year’s tournament being the first year played as a Pro-Am. The change was well received by the players, which featured professionals competing for an exemption to play in the Wichita Open Benefiting KU Wichita Pediatrics, a Korn Ferry Tour event. The winning professional was Will Grimmer, who posted a round of 63, earning the exemption.
This year, our very first auction raised $11,077.35. All 8 trips were purchased, with a 3 year price guarantee and no black-out dates. Unaudited net proceeds for the 9th Annual Auggie Navarro Pro-Am Invitational were $82,382.65. The new grand total of proceeds to be given away rose to $446,382.65. In addition, we agreed to another 2 year term with Roy Turner to kick off the Wichita Open on the Sunday before the Open begins.
SAVE THE DATE FOR NEXT YEAR’s EVENT – June 12th, 2022.
The Flight winners were as follows:
1st Flight with a score of 54: Andres Gonzales (PGA Professional), C. Novascone, J. Storey, B. Lampton and E. Johnsen.
2nd Flight with a score of 58: Grant Bennett (PGA Professional), G. Joerg, R. Hubbell, N. Dooling and C. McDonald.
3rd Flight with a score of 61: Adam Ball (PGA Professional), R. Horn, T. Stinnett, T. Buckle and S. Stinnett.
Womens’s Flight: Trent Roman (PGA Professional), Joann McCormick, Andrea Johnsen, Tina Lichtlin, Paula Hoose
Special congratulations to Craig Robinson for his hole-in-one on hole #8 which won him a 2021 Audi from Walser Auto Campus / Wichita.
Walser Auto Campus– Wichita awards it’s 1st Hole-in-One to Craig Roberts for his ace on #8 Crestview CC North Course.
Shortly after the Marathon golf event I gave Cory Novascone (The First Tee – Program Director) checks collected by MV Purchasing. The event raised a grand total of $23,000 & change. These funds will allow kids under the age of 17 to play free golf all summer at the 4 public golf courses. The web site will remain open www.wichita.golf for donations until we raise $25,000. Please contribute.
MV Purchasing partnered with The First Tee once again to host Marathon Golf, which raises money to allow kids under 17 yrs of age to play golf for FREE at all 4 public golf courses.
On March 19th, the 3rd Annual Marathon Golf Event was held at MacDonald Park GC. As of today, the event raised $22,000.00 with more checks coming in.
The event is broken into 2 catagories:
1. The 1st catagory, players can play sun up to sun down. These players get sponsors that will pay the player for the number of holes he or she played on that day. Corey Novascone & Eric Johnsen played 109 holes. Others played 105 holes.
2. The 2nd catagory, a team of 4 players can pay an entry fee to play 18 holes. The low score wins the traveling trophy seen below & bragging rights for the year.
This year my team won the traveling Marathon Trophy by scoring -10. My team consisted of my nephew Kyle Wright & Dale Goter (photoshop far right). Just in case you couldn’t tell he wasn’t standing next to me. LOL
If you care to contribute then please contact Rick Navarro at 316-648-6200.
Thanks to all of you that made this event a success!!!
On the ride to Salina Municipal Golf Course on Monday for the first day of the Kansas Class 5A girls golf championships, Gary Navarro let it slip to his daughter that Salina was where he had won his state championship.
He couldn’t hold back the tears on Tuesday when he watched his daughter, Kapaun Mt. Carmel junior Eleanor Navarro, earn a state medal and help the Crusaders win their first team state title since 2016.
“Oh man, it was emotional,” Gary Navarro said. “The tears were flowing.”
“I’ve never seen him get like that,” said Eleanor, who shot a 36-hole total of 157 to finish tied for 12th overall. “It’s funny seeing him like that, but it was cool because I could see that he was super proud of us and super proud of me.”
To understand why Gary Navarro was so emotional, you first must understand how important the game of golf is to him and his family.
Gary’s father, Auggie Navarro, is a Wichita golf legend. He was one of 11 siblings who lived in a pair of box cars parked at Broadway and 29th Street. Auggie would hitchhike 11 miles to Crestview Country Club to work as a caddy, which paid 90 cents per 18 holes.
The members took a liking to Auggie and taught him the game. He proved to be a natural and soon developed into one of Wichita’s best golfers, winning the City Match Play, Medal Play and 4-ball titles all in the same year in 1956. He spent close to four decades as the golf pro at Sim Park and helped develop Wichita’s junior golf program before his death in 2012.
Auggie passed on his love for the game to Gary, who was a two-time individual state champion at North and an All-American at Wichita State. That tradition was continued with Gary passing down his passion for the game to his daughter, Eleanor, and all Gary could think about on Tuesday afternoon was how proud his father would be.
“When Eleanor was born, he got her up and going and grandpa helped her start golfing,” Gary Navarro said. “I know he would have really loved seeing her today. He would be so proud that she hung in there.”
While Eleanor Navarro was born into a family of great golfers, birdies aren’t handed out for your last name. She had to fall in love with the grind and put in the work on her own.
From Kansas.com – By Taylor Eldridge: https://www.kansas.com/sports/varsity-kansas/other-varsity-sports/article246599783.html
The 9th Annual Auggie Navarro Golf Outing will now be turned into a Pro-Am event, but this is not just your ordinary tournament.
Only 32 PGA golf professionals will be allowed to team up with our Auggie player amateurs. Korn Ferry Tour & South Central Section golf pros that are trying to qualify for a spot to play in the 2021 Wichita Open will have an opportunity to win one exempt spot in the Wichita Open during the Auggie Navarro Pro-Am. The golf professional with the lowest score on June 13th Auggie Pro-Am will win the exemption spot for the 2021 Korn Ferry Wichita Open which will begin on June 17-20, 2021 at Crestview CC (North Course).
Three Checks were presented by LPGA Pro Katherine Kirk and Tournament Director Rick Navarro at the 8th Annual Auggie Navarro Golf Tournament.
The First Tee of Wichita received a check in the amount of $30,000.00. These proceeds will be used to fund three $10,000 scholarships to deserving seniors from The First Tee. Tom West (Founder of The First Tee) and Rick Navarro have agreed to name a golf teaching room within The First Tee practice area located at MacDonald GC after Auggie Navarro.
The Wichita Jr. Golf Foundation received a check in the amount of $20,000.00. These proceeds will be used to fund two $10,000 scholarship to deserving seniors from The Wichita Jr. Golf Foundation.
The Auggie Navarro Endowment received a check in the amount $11,545.00. These proceeds will be used to build a cash base for the endowment so that one day Auggie Navarro Scholarships can be funded from the interest paid off of the principal.
This summer marked the 2nd Annual Marathon Golf event held at MacDonald Park. The City of Wichita closes MacDonald Park so we (The First Tee & MV Purchasing & friends) can play all day to raise money to pay FREE GREEN FEE’S for kids 17 years & under at any of the 4 public golf courses in Wichita.
This event has spun into 2 forms of raising money:
- Playing golf from sunup to sundown is one form. Each player gets sponsors that are willing to pay them for the number of holes played in one day. This event is comprised of individuals from The First Tee & their friends.
- The 2nd format is a scramble which is sponsored by MV Purchasing / The Auggie Navarro Foundation. Teams contribute $1,000 – $2,000 in order to participate.
Between the 2 groups (The First Tee & MV Purchasing) raise approximately $20,000 each year & contribute to the City of Wichita for Kids under the age of 17 to play for FREE.
Junior golf rounds have increased in the City of Wichita due to this program.
LPGA Professional Katherine Kirk gave the players in the 8th Annual Auggie Navarro tournament a surprise visit and assisted Rick Navarro in awarding the net earnings from the event, which totaled $61,545.00. She also spoke about her experiences on the LPGA and her recent event at the ANA Inspiration Tournament. The current Auggie Navarro College Scholarship Recipients that attended this year’s event as volunteers got an opportunity to have a photo shoot with the local celebrity.
In September, Katherine participated in a skins game prior to the ANA Inspiration & won $30,000.00 for the charity of her choice. In the actual ANA Inspiration Tournament she had played her way into playing in the last group but putts wouldn’t drop and she scored a final round of 73. Her total score for the event was 9 under par which placed her in a tie for 7th place. The following weekend she took a break from the LPGA to come to her home town here in Wichita, KS. with her husband Tom Kirk.
Auggie Navarro Scholarship Foundation
8301 E. 21st, Ste. #370
Wichita, KS. 67206
Save The Date
The Auggie Navarro Pro-Am Invitational
SUNDAY, JUNE 12th, 2022
Crestview Country Club, North Course