The Yellowknife Golf Club was the victim of what its president is calling “intentional vandalism” over the weekend.
What appears to be a wheeled vehicle of some sort broke through the fencing which separates the club from Highway 3, knocking over several trees near the ninth hole and very nearly doing some major damage to the brand new green at the eighth hole.
Shaun Morris, the club’s president, said he was notified about what happened on Sunday and went out to see the aftermath for himself first-hand.
“They drove in from the highway and there are about four spots where they tried to get in,” he said. “They broke through the fence close to the fairway at the ninth.”
The first thing which went through Morris’ mind when he saw the tracks at the eighth green was the new material beneath the snow. All 18 holes had new greens installed near the close of the season and it wasn’t a cheap venture.
“I cleared the snow away at the eighth and had a look,” he said. “All they did was pack the snow down and thankfully, there was no damage. The club just spent around a half-million dollars to get the new greens put in and that would have been an expensive fix.”
As for what did this, Morris said he knows it wasn’t a snow machine.
How can he tell? By the tracks left from whatever did the damage.
“No sled could do the damage that I saw,” he said. “We always keep things well-marked for sledders — we put up fencing around the greens because sleds will do some kind of damage, no matter what. But this was a very large truck or some kind of loader that did it and you can tell it was intentional vandalism. You don’t try multiple times to find a way in with a large vehicle.”
There has been some internet speculation about a loader doing what happened and in a weird twist, Yellowknife RCMP issued a release on Monday afternoon about a front-end loader found abandoned and crashed in a ditch in Dettah just before 2 a.m. Sunday morning. The loader had been reported stolen by a business on Franklin Avenue, police stated.
Morris wouldn’t speculate on whether that was the vehicular culprit in question but he did say a report on the damage at the golf club has been filed with Yellowknife RCMP.
As for the clean-up, Morris said the worst of it will have to wait until the snow begins to melt.
“It’s pretty tough to walk in the snow on the course right now,” he said. “Our staff will have better access to it once things thaw out but it’s just really disappointing to see. We always try to keep as many trees as we can around the course and that spot at the eighth and ninth is now just wide open.”