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Amber Campbell kicks the ball to the cup on the new Footgolf course at Cragun’s Legacy Courses Friday. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

Area Golf: Get your kicks at Cragun's

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Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

A foot wedge has a whole new meaning at Cragun's Legacy Courses these days.

Footgolf arrived in the Brainerd lakes area June 22 and while it hasn't taken over the Par 3 Course at the East Gull Lake resort, it's been a seamless incorporation on Cragun's reversible nine-hole course.

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When talking about footgolf, consider the mechanics of soccer, kicking a ball with precision and skill, combined with the concepts, rules and beautiful backdrop of golf.

Players tee off from the tee box just as they would with golf, only the target is a 22-inch cup, about the size of a manhole cover. Cragun's placed one cup in varying spots on each of its nine holes. Some are tucked away on a side of a hole in the rough, others cut into the closely mowed fringe or apron and one, the ninth or first depending on which direction the course is playing, is right on the green.

The game was introduced to Cragun's owner Dutch Cragun, director of golf Eric Peterson and golf course superintendent Matt McKinnon at a golf course owners meeting last February in Orlando, Fla.

"It had to grow on me a little," said Peterson. "It's been embraced by everyone here, but the staff was kind of hesitant at first. The junior members out here have embraced it. They're starting to play footgolf occasionally between rounds of golf for a little break."

Players use official soccer balls. They can be rented at the Par 3 Clubhouse for $5 or players can bring their own. Cragun's has an assortment of colored soccer balls to mimic miniature golf balls.

The cost to play footgolf is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Players can play along side golfers or they can take up a four-person tee time and play in procession with golfers playing the course.

"You wouldn't want to put this out in the middle of your championship course where players are paying $100 to play, but this is great for the Par 3 Course," said Peterson. "People can enjoy the same atmosphere as our golfers.

"We use the Par 3 course for juniors, beginners and families from the resort," said Peterson. "Guests are offered a complimentary round of golf within their lodging stay, but now we also offer a free round of footgolf. We're seeing more families doing footgolf because everyone can do it. It goes really quick. You play right along with the golfers. They intermix just fine because they're following the same course."

With its reversible nature, the Par 3 Course offers two different layouts with the red course playing as a 1,281-yard par 35 and the white course measuring 1,113 yards and playing as a par 34.

Soccer cleats are not allowed on the course, but there is a footgolf official dress attire that is not strictly adhered to at Cragun's and that's a golf cap, collared shirt, shorts and Argyle socks. As with everything there is an official American FootGolf League (AFGL), founded in 2011. There is also a North American FootGolf Alliance (NAFGA) governing body for the sport created in 2012.

"It's just another way to get people out here and enjoy the outdoors," said Peterson. "This works really good for learning the game of golf, too, because you have the same concept and maybe people who would never try golf, but play soccer, will come out here, enjoy the scenery and maybe try golf."

Players can use a golf cart, but the Par 3 is walkable. For more information on footgolf, visit www.footgolf.net or try it at Cragun's, which is one of six Minnesota courses to incorporate it into their golf ammenities.

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Jeremy Millsop
My career at the Brainerd Dispatch began May 11, 1999 after graduating from North Dakota State University. My areas of emphasis includes local high school sports, Central Lakes College, the lakes area golf mecca and once a year I dabble in the NHRA when the Lucas Oil Nationals come to Brainerd International Raceway.
(218) 855-5856
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