The morning of April 9, Brian Macmillan, the golf course superintendent at the Port Jefferson Country Club, walked out onto the green of the village golf course and smelled something like gasoline. Five of the greens at the course had been hit with the substance.
The five holes, namely numbers 8,12,13,14 and 17, had been vandalized between the hours of between April 8 at 7 p.m. and April 9 at 7 a.m. with a substance suspected to be gasoline of some type. The unknown perpetrators had released the substance in random patterns at each of the greens near the holes. Macmillan said he suspected the perpetrators did not do it by accident since each site of vandalism was specifically the greens instead of the grasses between. He added he had no notion why a person would commit the act, but suspected it was an intentional act to hurt the country club.
“This was pretty intentional and aggressive,” the golf club superintendent said. “Ninety-eight percent of the people in the club wouldn’t have anything to do with their motive.”
Suffolk County police was contacted that morning, and Macmillan said they arrived very soon after they had been called. While police have been in contact with the country club asking questions, the superintendent said they have not received any updates on the ongoing investigation.
While the holes were sectioned off for the day when the club learned of the vandalism, they have since become playable again.
Port Jefferson village trustee Stan Loucks, the liaison to the country club, said each hole had taken excessive damage. The village has since contacted seven different golf course renovation and construction companies to find a person to schedule repairs. Currently the cost to the village is unknown, and they hope it will be covered under insurance for the course.
Suffolk County Police said the damage is estimated to cost $10,000.
Loucks said April 15 the village had contracted out to East Northport-based Delea Sod Farms to handle the repairs, which would start April 22 and should take two to three days.
“This was pretty intentional and aggressive.”
— Brian Macmilla
Macmillan said the substance permeated through the ground a foot and a half down. Repairs will require removing the damaged grass as well as the impacted soil below it. He added the country club has a nursery green used to replace portions of the holes that are damaged through heat stress and disease, though he said he had not expected to use it for a situation such as this.
Loucks added the village will likely use extra sod from holes 14 and 17. The impacted holes will be unusable during repair but will become playable again afterward, with the affected areas sectioned off during play.
The country club has been running with a new owner for just over a year. After a 15-year partnership with Port Jefferson village, Lombardi’s on the Sound handed ownership of the club over to Danfords in March 2018.