The Legacy at Cragun’s
by Larry Berle
For years Brainerd MN was a family beach and lake destination. Then came golf. Cragun’s was one of the leaders in turning Brainerd into a golf destination by bringing in the legendary Robt Trent Jones Jr. in 1998 to design not one but two courses at Cragun’s: Dutch Legacy and Bobby’s Legacy. Today the area calls itself the Brainerd Golf Trail which consists of several courses here in Brainerd.
Today I played Dutch Legacy and it is a treat. It plays through woods, wetlands and around a 100 acre lake. We wound our way through 6879 challenging championship yards but it has 5 sets of tee boxes down to 4841 yards. So all skill levels can come and enjoy this trip through several eco systems. We played 6225 yards. Does it favor long hitters? I suppose most courses do these days, but a thinking golfer can outfox a long hitter any day on this course. You really have to pay attention to your target selections. And you have to pay attention to club selection because the greens are large and the pin placement can make a one or two club difference.
This course boasts six par threes, six par fours, and six par fives. Most courses these days are; Ten par fours, four par threes and four par fives. By far, I prefer this configuration because usually par threes and par fives are the most interesting designs and this course does not disappoint that expectation.
Number fourteen has two greens in two very separate locations. Lo and behold they want you to decide which green you are playing before you hit your tee ball. Damn them!
A couple holes have split fairways but unless you have seen number sixteen before this par five, almost turns out to be unfair, with its split fairways and forced carries.
Dutch Legacy is not easy, make no mistake about it. The slope and rating from the tips is 74.2 with a slope of 149 (average slope is 113 and the toughest slope rating the USGA has is 155.)
In addition they have a 9 hole, par 27 course they call reversible-- for 45 (actually 46) total holes. There is a finishing hole after the finishing hole on Dutch Legacy called the Gamblers hole (in case the game you are playing ends in a tie.)
Golf Digest has awarded it 5 stars and its certified as an Audubon signature sanctuary course.
In addition there are more activities for the family than you can shake a stick at and accommodations with choices from spacious hotel rooms to lakeside cabins.
If you go:
Larry Berle is a golf travel writer who has played the entire Golf Digest Top 100 golf courses in America read more at www.GolfersDreamBook.com