Make A Reservation

Check-in Date




Golf Course Architecture: The History of the Legacy Courses
Golf Course Architecture: The History of the Legacy Courses


Cragun’s Resort is proud to be the home of two of the “Best Golf Courses in Minnesota” as ranked by Golf Digest – Dutch Legacy and Bobby’s Legacy. Golf Digest ranked the Dutch Legacy five stars, the highest rating a golf course can receive, and Bobby’s Legacy was awarded four and a half stars.

Having a great golf course doesn’t happen by accident, and it’s not based solely on the site’s natural environment, as some people may think. Great golf course architecture is a marriage of science and art. The golf course architect must have a thorough understanding of the physics of golf, a special eye for design beauty and a complete understanding of the golfer’s experience.

Cragun’s Resort was lucky enough to work with Robert Trent Jones, Jr., one of the great practitioners of golf course architecture, to design Cragun’s Legacy Courses. Over the years, Jones has built a reputation as one of the world’s most prestigious and accomplished golf course architects. Jones is renowned for designing courses that hold a golfer’s interest and make them think.

Two mutual desires harmonized in the design opportunities and challenges presented by the Legacy. Dutch and Irma Cragun had the desire to sculpt from an extraordinary piece of property a world-class golf course, while leaving the pristine environment of woods, waters, wetlands and wildlife virtually intact. Indeed, the Cragun’s wanted to create more than a great golf course – they wanted to establish a natural preserve worthy of Audubon Signature Sanctuary status and avoid housing and condos along the fairways.

In the Legacy Courses, Jones saw the opportunity to challenge all his skills as an environmental golf course designer who creates world-class courses with maximum playability. The result is a rare golf course project that combines northwoods beauty, golfing challenge and natural preservation in a distinctive harmony.

The Legacy courses are set in a 1,000-acre wooded sanctuary and surround 104-acre Stephens Lake. Some of the amenities include 1450 feet of bridges, a calming waterfall and spectacular greens surrounded by such natural hazards as wetlands, water and bunkers.

The Dutch Legacy course was named after the first traceable game of “colf” in 1297 played in Holland. The Dutch Legacy course was designed to bring out the thinker in each golfer, with flexibility allowing enjoyment by golfers of all abilities. The front nine features a blend of par threes, fours and fives. The back nine has eight of nine holes winding among wetlands and marshes. At least 5 sets of tees are positioned on each hole.

Bobby’s Legacy course is named after its master designer, Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Bobby’s Legacy features some elusive and shorter par fours that blend with long, more difficult par fours and fives. Many of Bobby’s holes are among the most difficult at the Legacy and will provide the biggest challenges. Bobby’s features more split fairways, more multiple tees and it’s a lot more target golf than Dutch’s. A waterfall cascading along a green challenges all the shots in the golfer’s arsenal. The blend of low lying areas near numerous wetlands, elevation changes and dramatic lake vistas weave together for signature Legacy Courses beauty.

For a shorter golfing experience, Jone’s created the Legacy Par 3 course. It’s a unique, reversible par 3 golf course inspired by the classic St. Andrews in Scotland. The reversible 9s direction alternates daily and is ideal for novice, family and group play.

Find more information on these great Brainerd golf courses and stay and play Brainerd golf packages.