Add vandalism to the list of financial bumps in the road for Gainesville’s municipal golf course.
Rodger Hogan, director of golf at Chattahoochee Golf Course, says vandals trespassed on the course Tuesday night and killed the grass on one of its greens.
An employee who arrived Wednesday morning discovered that a white substance had been scattered on the first hole’s green and tried to wash it off.
"Unfortunately, three days later, everywhere that little white substance was, the grass is dead," Hogan said.
Hogan said the vandalized green still is playable. In fact, golfers kicked off four tournaments on the green this week, but the dead brown grass could take nine to 12 weeks and a goodly sum of money to replace.
Until then, "the ball will roll over it (the green) just like it always would," Hogan said.
Gainesville Police are investigating the incident, according to Gainesville City Manager Kip Padgett, who informed City Council of the vandalism Thursday. Multiple calls to the department were not returned Friday.
"We don’t have any suspects," Hogan said.
Hogan said golf course employees plan to find out exactly what it was that killed the grass on green No. 1, and the course is still trying to find out how much the damage will cost.
The vandalism is an inconvenience in the golf course’s busiest season and comes at a time when Hogan is trying to turn its financial fortunes around.
When Hogan came on board as new director in April, he brought ideas to help bring the course back up to par financially. The course hasn’t turned a profit since its major renovation in 2006, when the city spent nearly $3 million updating the 50-year-old layout.
"It’s just an unfortunate thing," Hogan said of Tuesday’s incident. "The golf course is in such good shape and then to come here and have someone do that ..."
Padgett said the police department has increased its patrols at the golf course and will now go onto the golf course to reduce the possibility that a similar incident happens again.