Swinomish Golf Links targeted by vandals

Updated: July 2, 2018

Vandals damaged the greens at the Swinomish Golf Links in Anacortes last month. A total of 16 greens were damaged at the course plus a swear word was spelled out in the grass.

Employees believe the vandal or vandals picked their targets here carefully. The greens closest to the clubhouse are covered by surveillance cameras and were not hit.

“It’s stupid. I don’t know why people vandalize. It doesn’t make sense to me,” said golfer Walt Matye. ”Very disgusting.” Just like graffiti and that, there’s no point. It doesn’t accomplish anything except make matters worse,” added his cousin, Marshall.

The vandals trespassed on the 100-acre course overnight and sprayed some type of grass-killing chemical on most of the greens, investigators told KOMO News. A swear word was also left behind on hole 11.

“It had to be a very involved process. One that was thought out. And for them to have access to the course by either driving or bringing this stuff with them is something that was well planned out,” said Chairman Brian Cladoosby, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community.

If the chemical damaged the soil, it’s possible the course may have to temporarily close until expensive repairs can be made, employees said.

“These individuals knew what they were doing. They know golf. They know the peak season. They know that the majority of the income produced by golf courses in the northwest is right around Memorial Day to Labor Day,” Cladoosby said.

Right now, this course is still playable. Employees have drastically reduced rates for players because of the damage left behind.

“It just takes a few people to ruin it for the majority of the people to have a good time,” said Marshall Matye. “I guess the only thing they think about is themselves.”

The course does have insurance, employees said. But it’s possible the damage could climb to more than $500,000, they added.

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

Anyone with information about what happened can call the Swinomish Police Department’s TipLine at (360) 588-2770. Callers can remain anonymous.