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Costly repairs underway at Swinomish Golf Links after vandals heavily damage 16 greens

A popular golf course heavily damaged by vandals in Skagit County is now temporarily closed while crews replace more than a dozen greens. (Photo: KOMO News)

SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. -- A popular golf course heavily damaged by vandals in Skagit County is now temporarily closed while crews replace more than a dozen greens.

Roll by roll.

Green by green.

A transformation is underway at Swinomish Golf Links.

As soon as a row of new sod is put down, crews pull it into place.

They then trim each of the edges.

It’s a process they’ll have to repeat 16 times due to the extensive damage vandals caused at the course last month.

"7-10 days...we’re hopeful we can get all of the replacement and repairs done," Dallas Widmark, Lodge General Manager for the Swinomish Casino and Lodge.

If that timeline seems quick, it is.

Employees made the difficult decision this week to temporarily close the course after vandals sprayed a grass-and-weed-killing compound called Glyphosate on 16 of the course's greens last month and spelled out a swear word on the 11th hole.

Damages could climb to more than $400,000, Widmark told KOMO News. About one-third of that will likely be in lost revenue, he added.

"Historically, in this part of the state, this part of the country, your golf season is really Memorial Day through Labor Day. And the fact that it happened when it did and being closed essentially 1/3 of the summer maybe more it’s incredibly impactful," Widmark said.

The clubhouse and the driving range will remain, Widmark said.

So golfers like Jeff Yoder can continue to take lessons.

"I was angry. Wondering why somebody would do that to the golf course. I don’t know what they’re trying to prove, but it just seemed to me like a stupid move," Yoder said about the damage caused by the vandals. "It’s a good course. People that work here are good to work with."

Some of the greens will require new drainage systems, Widmark said.

Crews will try to salvage what they can, he added.

The hope is to get the course back open in early July after the new greens have been watered and given time to settle, Widmark said.

"I really think we’re going to do everything we can to turn this into a positive," Widmark told KOMO News.

It's a setback Widmark wishes would have never happened.

But he and his crew are already making plans for a big reopening, that could include a free day of golf for the entire community, he said. Donations could be collected to give to various charities and fundraisers that host their golf tournaments at the course.

"The support that we have received from the community has been amazing," Widmark said.

The course does have insurance, so that could cover some of the cost for repairs, Widmark said.

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is still offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case.

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