Golf: Local golf instructor honored with Youth Development award
Chris Foley loves the chances he gets to give back to the game of golf.
The 52-year-old whose Chris Foley Golf School is located at the Legacy Courses at Cragun’s in East Gull Lake was honored with the Youth Development award through the Minnesota PGA for 2019.
The award is given to a golf instructor who demonstrates a support of junior golf programs at the club level and has proven interest in providing opportunities for juniors to learn and play golf. The award also recognizes someone with outstanding character and integrity.
“It’s always nice to be recognized by your peers,” Foley said. “It was not something I was expecting, but it was very nice. One of my passions is introducing people to the game and introducing kids to the game. I have enjoyed creating opportunities for kids in golf so this award was a nice deal.”
Foley will be honored at a banquet held Friday, Dec. 6, at Target Field in Minneapolis.
When Foley moved back to the Brainerd lakes area in 2012 after spending two years in Colombia, S.C., he dove right back into dedicating his time toward youth instruction in the area.
“From both a personal standpoint and our industry, the more kids that play golf the healthier the game is,” Foley said. “There are so many good things that come from playing golf for kids. Not only just playing the game themselves and developing an interest and passion in the game. All the life skills you learn and the people you meet and encounter through golf can have a lasting impact.”
Foley has never seen work as a burden because it is his passion to teach the game of golf. He says he never dreads going to work, but it is always nice to see players that have gone through his school have success in the state tournament.
“Seeing people like Maggie Haggerston of Pequot Lakes winning a state high school golf championship was quite a thrill,” Foley said. “One year, I had four kids win the state championship. Just on a daily basis seeing kids excited to play and coming back to the golf course. Developing a life long partnership with game.”
He jokes how he now has former golf students having their own children and sending them to him for golf instructions.
Before working at Cragun’s, Foley was at Madden’s Resort teaching from 1997 until 2010. He moved to South Carolina for what he thought was a better experience, but it turned out his family missed the Brainerd lakes area so they moved back in 2012.
He hopes he can spread some of what he has been able to accomplish at his golf school at Cragun’s and bring it to other golf courses in the lakes area.
“I was not happy down there in South Carolina,” Foley said. “My family wanted to be back in Brainerd, so it was a good opportunity to get back here.”
The lakes area is special to Foley and his family. He grew up in Iowa but considers Brainerd home because it is where he raised his children.
“Especially in the summer months, there is not anything like Brainerd,” Foley said. “It’s a wonderful community and we got great support with all this wonderful golf.”
He also has nothing but nice things to say about both the places he has taught golf in the lakes area -- Madden’s and Cragun’s.
“The two facilities I have worked at here in Brainerd could not have been better places for me or their support of golf and youth golf,” Foley said.
Personally, Foley says he never does anything for the awards. However, it’s still nice to be recognized.
“I just try to keep my head down and plug away,” he said. “I’m trying to do the best I can and improve every day and to be recognized is very nice.”
Who: Owner and Instructor at Chris Foley Golf Schools
Where: Cragun’s Legacy Courses, East Gull Lake
What: Named Minnesota PGA’s Youth Development award winner
When: Friday, Dec. 6, in Minneapolis