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Golf: Replacing divots at Cragun’s raises awareness in course care

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Brainerd Warrior golfer Izzy Olson replaces divots Monday, July 8, at Bobby’s Legacy course at Cragun's as part of an event where golfers help maintain the course. In its second year, the one-day event attracted 10 golfers who wanted to replace divots. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

EAST GULL LAKE -- Nobody swung a club Monday morning, July 8, on Bobby’s Legacy golf course at Cragun’s.

The Bobby’s Legacy course was closed due to green aeration, but that did not stop a group of 10 people, including some Brainerd High School golfers, from taking part in replacing divots on the course.

Kelly Chilsen, assistant golf professional at Cragun’s, led this small group out to the eighth fairway at Bobby’s Legacy course. His cart full of sand and seed parked about 125 yards from the green, Chilsen spread his arms wide to show the amount of unreplaced divots in the fairway. He proceeded to take a shovel of dirt and plop it right on the fairway where there was a divot, to show how to replace one.

“The more dirt the better,” Chilsen said.

Chilsen is new to Cragun’s golf courses and started working there in April. He hopes events like replacing divots in the fairways will bring awareness to golfers that replacing them is important.

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After spending a half-hour putting buckets of sand and seed in the fairway of the eighth hole, half of the group went to the second hole and the other half went the sixth hole. The sixth hole had more divots than any other hole.

“Don’t fall in one of them,” Chilsen teased. “I don’t want to call the fire department over to dig you out.”

Joking aside, the sixth hole at Bobby’s Legacy course is a short par four and, due to the GPS lock on the golf carts at Cragun’s, golfers are not allowed to drive in the fairway. Instead, golfers must stay on the cart path and walk to their ball in the fairway. This makes golfers unlikely to replace their divots on that hole because the sand and seed in their cart is not nearby.

Both of Cragun’s 18-hole golf courses get lots of play throughout the summer. It becomes a problem to maintain the course at a high level when the people playing are not replacing divots. It is also not as fun for the people who hit their ball in an unreplaced divot.

“For those who don’t know if your ball rolls in a divot, by rule, you have to play it in the divot,” Chilsen said. “It also just makes the golf course that much more beautiful and we like to consider ourselves one of the best products there is around Brainerd.”

Brainerd freshman golfer Izzy Olson helped out as one of the 10 people who showed up Monday morning. Cragun’s golf courses are the home course for the boy’s and girl’s golf team at Brainerd High School as well as Pillager High School.

“We get to play this course for free in the season so it’s nice to give back so we can get good conditions when we play,” Olson said about why she decided to participate.

Chilsen thinks the reason for so many unreplaced divots is due to the fact that some golfers are lazy. Chilsen and his group of 10 kept busy going through the fairways on Bobby’s course filling in divots and educating others on the importance of filling divots.

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“I hope people realize there is more to golf than swinging a club,” Chilsen said.

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