Vandalism on the Golf Course

Destructive Vandalism on the Links

Maybe it’s the orbit of the moon, or maybe someone put something in the water, but the refined, civilized game of golf is experiencing a recent crime wave, and in most cases, course officials haven’t seen anything like it before in their location.

Now, no matter what Stacy Lewis might think, Lydia Ko is probably not responsible for any of it, even though she made off with the Swinging Skirts Championship, leaving Lewis in her least favorite spot – second.

Come to think of it, though, one of the four cases of vandalism, all of which took place within a two-day period in April of this year, occurred in Canada, and since Lydia has won the Canadian Open…twice, wasn’t it? Maybe she’s a suspect after all.

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golf cart 1The RCMP in Western Alberta  will be hot on the trail of whoever caused extensive damage at the beautiful Pincher Creek 9 hole course, one of the best in western Canada. Someone drove a vehicle onto the greens, and caused havoc. And, it’s happened twice in the last two weeks. As a golfer, my mind goes to the lifelong admonitions to not even pull a hand-cart across the green for fear of damage. Imagine what a 1990 Oldsmobile Delta or ’55 Buick would do. It reminds us how fragile course conditions are.


Another man drove on to the course at Madera County’s Riverbend Golf Club in California. They caught him, and he’s out on 25,000 bail. And what was his reply when they asked him why he did it? “It was just something I’ve always wanted to do.”

The amount of damage done to Blush Hill Country Club in Waterbury, Vermont has not been totaled yet, but it includes the theft of a $2,000 cart, plus all the damage it did on the way out. Golf carts seem to be a new target. After years of hot-wiring Chryslers and pick-up trucks, vandals are going after something they may see as more whimsical. Besides, you can take a golf cart off-road. It’s a new kind of joyride.

The Spring Creek Golf Center of Whitewater in Wisconsin has had a major issue with its carts. In fact, officials arrived at the course in the morning to find almost the whole fleet damaged. Parts of them were left on some of the greens, and some were found in the water hazards. Soda machines and other pieces of equipment were vandalized as well. The course set a reward for the capture of the guilty party, and the community chipped in to quadruple it. The worst of it for the course, however, are the doughnuts the intruders made with the cart on several of the greens. golf cart 2

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Golf courses are open pieces of land, with tailored features for fairways and greens. I guess that’s an open invitation for someone with a destructive bent, who believes he or she can’t be seen or detected. The fragility of greens can be seen by no more than the impression a ball leaves from a six iron. They’re like egg shells, and a modern automobile could utterly destroy them. Maybe it’s a swipe at what vandals think is an aristocratic game, and they’re thumbing their nose at the well-off. If so, they haven’t been paying attention. Golf has become a game for the entire public.

golf cart 3I’m sure that these and other courses will respond with greater security measures, and in some cases, the cost may have to be passed on to the golfer. There has always been an element that can’t stand anything picturesque, artistic or healthy to remain unmolested, and it hurts for those of us who appreciate the beauty of this game played outdoors in nature.

I hope they all get caught, and get a very large book thrown at them. Meanwhile, it’s good to keep our spirits up. It occurs to me that Lydia Ko might not drive yet, so she’s in the clear, no matter what Stacy Lewis says. And, I hate to keep using the name Vandals, because every time I look it up, I get the University of Idaho Vandals golf team – and I don’t think they did it, either.

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