North Sound News

Skagit County golf course vandalized

A golf course in Skagit County was vandalized so extensively that the business may be forced to shut down.
Officials believe vandals methodically sprayed a grass killing chemical on 16 out of the 18 greens at Swinomish Golf Links. Someone also spelled out an expletive in the grass. The vandalism was discovered by employees over Memorial Day weekend.
The golf course is having the chemical tested. If the chemical turns out to be harsher than a grass killer, it's possible the course may be shut down while extensive repairs are made. Employees estimate repairs could cost upwards of $500,000.
"The one thing that golfers remember the most is the greens," said Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Chairman Brian Cladoosby. "This is a very malicious attack. They planned this out very well and knew exactly what to do."
Cladoosby said it's clear someone went out of their way to cause maximum damage to the course. The property is more than 100 acres, which means someone had to walk throughout the course to reach almost every hole.

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"To have someone do this in one night is just really sad," Cladoosby said.
The two greens that were not vandalized were near the entrance of the course, which is covered by surveillance cameras. To employees, that indicates the vandals had a clear plan.
The course is open while officials await the test results. The course is offering discounts to golfers because of the condition of the greens. The dead grass is one of the first things golfers noticed.
"It's a shame that someone did this. It's going to make people not want to play here and that's sad to see," said golfer Aaron Yost.
Cladoosby said it's not the first-time vandals hit Swinomish Golf Links. Last year, someone wrote derogatory words on a shed by the course.
"This is the second time in two years that someone has done this to our business," he said. "But this is by far a very, very extensive vandalism."
He fears whoever did it meant to destroy the business. He hopes someone out there knows who's responsible and how much damage they caused.
The Swinomish Tribe is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Anyone with information is also asked to call the Skagit County Sheriff's Office.