Swinomish Golf Links Rebounds From 2018 Vandalism

Photo courtesy Swinomish Golf Links

Swinomish Golf Links wants you to know: We’re back in business.
In May of last year, Swinomish staff arrived at the golf course — located between Similk and Fidalgo Bays, about 20 minutes west of I-5 at Burlington — to discover that vandals had sprayed a grass-killing chemical on 16 of the 18 greens, sparing only those closest to the clubhouse security cameras — Nos. 9 and 18. Lest anyone think the cause of the greens’ sudden demise may have been natural, the vandals even used the chemical to spell out a swear word on the green at No. 11.
“It had to be a very involved process,” Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Chairman Brian Cladoosby told KOMO News at the time. “These individuals knew what they were doing.”
The vandals’ malicious intent was furthered by the timing, with the crime occurring right at the start of the Northwest’s peak playing season. To repair the damage, Swinomish was forced to shut down operations for a month, from June 11-July 11, tear out all 16 of the damaged greens and replace each one with new sod from Moses Lake. The economic impact — including repair costs and lost revenue — has been estimated at more than $400,000. Despite a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, no perpetrators have been caught, nor has any reasoning for the attack been given.
Rather than dwell on the past, though, Swinomish staff immediately started looking to the future. Even while the old greens were still being cut from the soil, course representatives were already planning for a grand re-opening, including free golf to anyone who wished to attend. Local non-profits were stationed at each hole, and golfers could choose to make donations if they so desired.
“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,’” said Dallas Widmark, Lodge General Manager for the Swinomish Casino & Lodge, in a follow-up interview with KOMO upon the course’s re-opening in July.
The event was such a success, in fact — drawing more than 300 golfers — that Widmark says the course plans to make it an annual affair, a way to raise money for local community interests.
In addition, Swinomish is offering Cascade Golfer readers an even better deal — a free round of golf anytime through June 1 (see ad on page 8 of our April 2019 issue for details). Check out the new greens for yourself, and let Swinomish know that they’re appreciated.
Vandals may have shut the course down for a month last year, but it’s only helped raise the golf course’s profile in the region, and strengthened its relationship with the local community.
“I really think we’re going to do everything we can to turn this into a positive,” Widmark says.

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