Vandalism Forcing Golf Course To Close Early

CORSICA, S.D. – In their first season with natural-grass greens, a golf course west of Mitchell is getting ready to turn away golfers. The greens are not up to par, after being heavily vandalized.

Dakota Trails Golf Course workers first noticed 8 out 9 of their flagpoles went missing on August 14, but then they realized, that was only the beginning of their problems.

“The greens started turning brown,” says golf course Treasurer Mike Plooster, which is something they haven’t seen.

“We have a very unique golf course with the lake and the trees, it’s a very nice golf course,” says Plooster.

But now, the holes from a distance look like they’re sitting in the middle of sand traps, not greens.

“It was the same greens that the flags were taken, so we kind of assumed vandalism was the cause,” says Plooster.

Golf course board members sent a sample of the soil to a facility in Ohio to get tested.

“It takes 5 to 7 days to check for roundup, and that’s what it came back as,” says Plooster.

A solution used to kill weeds, was sprayed on all but one of the course’s greens.

“It was definitely on purpose and it’s just disappointing,” says Vice President of the board, Jay Spaans.

Even though the grass may be the wrong color, golfers will still able to tee off through Labor Day. But come Tuesday, the golf course will close for the season.

“It’s 6 to 8 weeks that were losing out on this fall, and another 6 to 8 weeks in the spring,” explains Plooster.

Workers have to re-seed each green, and that’s something they’re no stranger to.

“We had artificial greens, all nine greens were artificial,” says Plooster. “So we had to go through rebuilding them, reshaping them, stuff like that.”

Last July, the golf course, again, shut down early for the transition. But it paid off. Dakota Trails has seen an increase in memberships growing from 90 to nearly 150, making the latest setback a big blow.

“Our [board] members have spent so much time, money, donations, fundraising for the last three years and now we have to do it all over again,” says Plooster.

It’s too early to know the exact amount the damage will cost, but Plooster says it will be at least a couple thousand dollars.

The only hole that was not hit with roundup was hole 9, which is closest to the clubhouse, and can be seen on video surveillance. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the vandalism.

The golf course is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction for the vandal(s).