Nfld. & Labrador

ATVs, snowmobiles vandalize greens at Blomidon Golf Club

When the snow melted away from the greens at Blomidon Golf Club this week, it revealed a discouraging scene.

Club manager says damage could cost club over $10K

ATV and snowmobile tracks caused significant damage on two greens at the Blomidon Golf Club in Corner Brook. (Andrew Margeson/Submitted)

As the weather continues to warm up, golf enthusiasts across the country are getting ready to tee off for the first time this year.

I'd say about 50 per cent of the green is ruined- Andrew Margeson

But when the snow melted away from the greens at Blomidon Golf Club in Corner Brook this week, it revealed a discouraging scene: long tracks of dirt and mud torn through the grass by ATVs and snowmobiles.

"It's almost like they sat on the green and spun their tires and tread," said club general manager Andrew Margeson.

Margeson visited the course over the weekend to do his regular pre-season check up, when he noticed the damage to the tee-off area on holes 15 and 16. After getting a closer look, he realized it's the worst he's seen in his 10 years with the club.

"I'd say about 50 per cent of the green is ruined … right down to the soil," he said.

ATVs cut through green 'like butter'

While ATVs and other recreational vehicles are not permitted on the course at any point during the year, Margeson said it's not uncommon to see some tire and tread damage on different parts of the course every spring.

"The middle of winter's not so bad because we have so much snow, but as it starts to recede — and these new machines are so powerful — they just go through it like butter," he said.

Margeson spoke with local law enforcement, but there's little they can do without any witnesses, pictures, or video of the vandals.

He said the club will look into "preventative measures" to curb these sort of destructive joyrides next winter, including increasing the number of walk-throughs, installing motion-activated security cameras and erecting a physical barrier.

For now, though, he's focusing on the labour intensive task of re-sodding the damaged greens — something he believes could cost more than $10,000 when it's all said and done.

"Obviously, a green is a little more intense than your home lawn," he said. "It's almost like doing surgery with grass."

About the Author

Jonny Hodder is a journalist with CBC Radio based in St. John's.

With files from Corner Brook Morning