EAGLE MOUNTAIN — A golf course in Eagle Mountain was vandalized with racial slurs over the weekend.
A derogatory term was discovered carved in big letters into the sand trap and more racial slurs carved into the putting green of the sixth hole at the Ranches Golf Club, 4128 E. Clubhouse Lane, along with “disturbing drawings,” according to golf course owner Jeff Harbertson.
The racial slurs were discovered by a Black golfer who was by himself.
Whether the slurs were carved into the green by someone knowing that that golfer would find it or left there at random was unknown Tuesday. But Harbertson said he is horrified by the incident.
“For me, this is very discouraging, it’s very mortifying to me as the owner,” he said. “I am not only disappointed, I’m worried someone is targeting this individual and is really racist.”
Harbertson believes the incident is a hate crime and is working with both police and the city to track down whoever is responsible.
The racial slurs were discovered about 1:40 p.m. Saturday. Someone apparently used their foot to carve the words into the sand and green, he said.
The golf course opened that day at 10 a.m. The hole is located near a road and a residential area. Investigators are trying to determine whether another golfer carved the slurs or if someone ran onto the course from the road and then ran off. The golf course wasn’t very crowded on Saturday, Harbertson said.
“This is a very unfortunate event that will not be tolerated at our facility,” said Harbertson. “The Ranches Golf Club is a semi-private club that welcomes any person who wants to participate in the golf community regardless of race or beliefs. We welcome people from all walks of life. We are working with local authorities to find the culprits who have not only vandalized our course, but who have offended all humanity with their ignorant slurs.”
Harbertson said his course was built with families in mind and to help bring the community together by making golf affordable to everyone. He said one of the first groups who got a membership at his course was a Korean family.
He hopes residents will also use this event as an opportunity to raise awareness to the fact that “this type of stuff happens even in our backyard” and is not just a problem in other states.
“This happens here. We can’t be ignorant to that,” he said. “We’ve got to make an effort to make sure everyone feels welcome and safe.”
The golf course grounds crew has since fixed the damaged green.
The Utah Golf Association also issued a statement denouncing the vandalism.
“The acts that took place at the Ranches Golf Club are deplorable and have no place in our society. We as a golf community stand together condemning the racism and hate that has been displayed,” association executive director Jacob Miller said.
The Ranches is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved. Tips can be submitted by calling 801-789-8100 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.