Leaderboard – Dutch Cragun
Eleven years ago Dutch jumped into the golf industry with both feet. He hired world renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. to design his Legacy Courses. Following his philosophy of using the land as it is with minimal disturbance, Jones’ triumph at Cragun’s Legacy Courses is the creation of world class golf courses that have earned the designation and elite status as an Audubon International Signature Sanctuary. Cragun’s Legacy Courses have been named among the “Best Environmental Golf Courses in the World.”
As the popularity of Dutch’s courses grew, he began to look for a way to give back. Dutch, a Reserve Corporal in the Korean War, looked for a way to recognize our Veterans who have risked everything for our country. The standard Memorial Day speech is nice, but Dutch wanted to show the gratitude he felt for the sacrifices they have made.
Seven years ago the town of Brainerd gave a hearty reception to Veterans returning to Camp Ripley with a reception following at Cragun’s. A tradition was then started, Dutch opened up his courses to Veterans and their families on Memorial Day. Veterans golf free and their guests golf for only $35. What if a Veteran didn’t or couldn’t golf? Dutch had a solution for that, free fishing tours on Memorial Day! Don’t golf or fish? The Clubhouse is open for Veterans to have lunch and enjoy some camaraderie with fellow Veterans.
The response from the Veterans has been great. The event is steadily gaining steam and now Tuesday has been added as there were 100 more Veterans golfing in 2008. Dutch was able to show his appreciation to 330 Veteran golfers this year.
We don’t always take the time to recognize the people who keep us safe; Policemen, Firemen and Veterans. Veterans go through everyday life under the radar. Dutch’s generosity shows the gratitude that Americans feel but don’t often show. Dutch has received many cards from his golfers on Memorial Day. The overwhelming message is “Thank You Dutch!”, but as Dutch says, “the gratitude goes both ways”