Golf course reopens nearly 2 months after vandals destroyed greens

Swinomish Golf Links reopened Wednesday - nearly two months after vandals destroyed most of the course's greens. The damaged forced the course to temporarily close for four weeks so that crews could replace the greens. (KOMO Photo)

ANACORTES, Wash. -- A popular golf course in Skagit County is back open nearly two months after vandals destroyed most of the course's greens.

The damage forced Swinomish Golf Links to temporarily close for four weeks so that repairs could be made.

It sure felt good Wednesday for long-time golfer Suzanne Knutson to be back on the course

"Feels great to be back, yes," Knutson told KOMO News before teeing off on one of the holes.

It’s a little different from her last visit.

In May, vandals sprayed a grass-killing compound on most of the greens at Swinomish Golf Links.

"I was sick to my stomach," Knutson said after hearing about the vandalism.

Crews spent the past four weeks replacing all of the greens with a newer type of grass from Moses Lake.

"Not bad, actually. Right, girls?" Knutson said as she looked over at her friends. "We’re all doing great!"

In honor of the course’s reopening Wednesday, about 300 golfers like Margaret Campbell played for free.

"It’s great. Our home course is back!" Campbell exclaimed.

Non-profit organizations were invited to collect donations at the start of each hole.

The La Conner Sunrise Food Bank serves more than 150 families each week.

"Donations is what keeps us alive," said Ken Baker, a driver for the food bank. "It’s a great day to be out here. The weather is excellent. The course is in great shape. The greens are growing."

"We got such a tremendous amount of support when this happened that we felt that it was important to give back and say 'Thank you' for the support that we got," said Dallas Widmark, Lodge General Manager for the Swinomish Casino & Lodge.

The course will likely hold a similar event each year to give back to the community, Widmark said.

Damage from the vandalism will likely top $400,000, Widmark said. Insurance may cover some of the loss, he added.

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

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