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Latenight joyride rips Quesnel golf course

Police investigating damage done to greens, fairways
The wrong kind of long drive happened at the Quesnel Golf Club, in the early hours of July 7. Anyone who can help identify those who did vehicular damage to some of the greens and fairways is asked to contact police. (Facebook photo by Quesnel Golf Club)

The Quesnel golf community is seeing red after what happened to their greens.

Sometime after midnight and before 3 a.m. on July 7, a vehicle tore ruts and ripped gouges in fairways and greens on the Quesnel Golf Club’s (QGC) course.

“They rammed their way onto the golf course and went joy riding,” said Kathy Gook, the club’s head pro and director of golf. “They had to work kind of hard to get onto the golf course, and they decided to go race around. Yeah. It wasn’t nice.”

It’s an extraordinary kind of vandalism because unlike a broken window, which gets replaced, or an incidence of graffiti, which gets painted over, this wasn’t breakage, it was injury. Grass varieties are living things. Soil contains a microscopic ecosystem. Oxygen, water, roots, insects, microbes…all of it plays a role. Unlike the floors and walls of most recreation facilities, a golf course is a living, breathing organism. The staff and volunteers of the QGC must now go back to earlier than square one in spring; they have to help heal a wound.

Brenda McKeown is the head of grounds-keeping and now has to carry out this effort.

“She does a great job and has a fabulous crew. They are the ones who have to go out there now and try to repair all that,” said Gook. “They made damage out there. It’s not meant to have big tires spinning out. The doughnuts don’t work well on our grass. I know our grounds crew is very disappointed. They put a lot of work and passion and dedication into getting the course up and into better condition all the time. Something like that takes the wind out of their sails, in the morning when they saw that.”

Sadly, it’s not even the first time. It happened about this same time last summer, too.

It is unknown if the same people were responsible both times, but there are clues in this latest case to help police narrow down who it might have been.

The QGC is located on Blackwater Road between Yargeau Road and Paradise Road. Anyone who has information about vehicles acting suspiciously in that area, around Bouchie Lake Hill, during the early hours of July 7 is asked to call Quesnel RCMP or Crime Stoppers.

The golf course is a locally owned business, so this damage hurts on that level, but it is the kind of business that operates in partnership with many other community initiatives.

There is a junior golf program housed there that is developing the next generation of golfer and coaching the sport side of this lifelong healthy activity.

There are also many not-for-profit organizations that rely on golf tournaments for revenues. The Child Development Centre fundraiser tournament is this very weekend, and will have to endure the damage, since that kind of impact on grass and soil cannot be healed so quickly.

The club is encouraging the police investigation but Gook said they would take a different approach if the people who did this decide to identify themselves.

“If they step forward, maybe we can show them all the care and effort it takes to repair something like that,” instead of the experience of the legal system.

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