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Manahan takes over the helm at The Wilderness at Fortune Bay

May 1, 2024

TOWER— When The Wilderness at Fortune Bay opens Friday, May 10th, there will be a new manager at the helm in Bill Manahan.


Manahan, who most recently worked at the Cloquet Country Club as its general manager, also worked at the Black Bear Resort Casino golf course in a similar capacity. He replaces Joe Wisocki, who was terminated in January due to his ongoing legal battles with the Willmar Community Golf Club.


“I’m excited to be here,” said Manahan at a Director’s meeting this past month. “Things are going really well and the staff is looking forward to a great 2024 season as the course made it through winter very well.”


Manahan thanked his staff for their hard work prepping for the season, especially his grounds crew, under the leadership of Superintendent Trevor Rintala. Manahan reported that the course will be in better shape than 2023 and far better than 2022 when the course was under different leadership.


Manahan said the grounds crew has been sprucing up the course by trimming trees, working on bunkers, fertilizing the greens and fairways, etc. Meanwhile, his pro shop staff have been busy answering the phones to book individual foursomes as well as group bookings.


“There are already over 10,000 rounds booked for the year and that number keeps going up,” said Manahan, who lives in Barnum, but will be renting an apartment in Virginia until he can find a permanent housing solution.


While Manahan’s staff will continue to work hard filling the tee-sheet for 2024, he is also encouraging non-golfers to stop by The Wilderness Grill to try out some of Chef Mitch Kerfeld’s culinary creations.


“He has a lot of creativity and talent that will resonate with our guests,” said Manahan of Kerfeld, who is entering his second year heading up The Wilderness Grill.  “We have a Mother’s Day special lined up, so if you haven’t made plans for mom yet, stop out and spend it with us.”


The Wilderness Grill will be open Wednesday through Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The patio grill will still be open Mondays and Tuesdays and will feature burgers, brats and hot dogs.


Manahan’s golf experience dates back to the late 1970s and aside from his stints at the Cloquet Country Club and Black Bear, he also served as the General Manager and PGA Head Golf Professional at Grand National Golf Club for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe from 1995 to 2004. He is a graduate of Rochester Lourdes High School and attended the University of Minnesota before transferring to the Rochester Area Vocational School to receive his degree in Banking and Finance.


“Bill has fit in very well with the staff at The Wilderness at Fortune Bay,” said Tribal Chair Cathy Chavers. “His vast experience at other well-known golf courses across the state is invaluable and we feel he will be the perfect manager to lead his team.”


Aside from booking smaller groups, The Wilderness at Fortune Bay will also be hosting a number of larger tournaments during the 2024 season, including the upcoming City Auto Glass Walleye Classic tournament, the Dave Tomassoni fundraiser for ALS, UMD Alumni group and the annual Indian Summer Classic.


“Those events will give us a chance to showcase our course and the entire Fortune Bay property,” said Manahan.

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