Chemical mix-up costing golf course thousands

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A local golf course is losing a lot of green because of a major mistake on its greens.

Members of the Blue Ridge Golf Course received a letter in June informing them the course will be closed for more than two months because the chemicals used to treat the greens killed the grass.

Instead of birdies and eagles, all you’ll see are geese on the fairways at the Harrisburg course.

“It’s been a ghost town around here,” Blue Ridge’s head golf professional Jeffrey Breiner said.

Course workers say they are tired. “It’s been a tough couple of months to come to work because we want to be here. We want to be busy interacting with the golfers,” Breiner said. “It’s just taken a toll on everybody. It’s just not the same without anybody here.”

Earlier this summer, chemicals were sprayed to protect the grass as part of routine course maintenance. However, the very next day, the chemical company called saying it was a bad batch and told employees not to use it, but by that time, it was too late.

“You can’t hide the mess,” Breiner said.

The chemical company mixed the spray with an industrial herbicide by accident. It’s used to control weeds, but instead it killed a lot of the grass.

Course officials say the same batch was distributed to dozens of courses in the area.

“They get on the greens and they just pick the ball up and go to the next hole. It’s mainly become a practice area,” Breiner said.

We wanted to see what golfers thought about the bad grass, so we waited and waited, but no one ever teed off.

“We’ve been here since 1932 and this has never happened here before,” said Breiner.

It’s a double-bogey that’s costing the course hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“We’re on average doing maybe 20 rounds of golf where we would normally be doing 120-140 rounds of golf a day,” said Breiner.

That adds up to nearly $7,000 lost per day.

“We’re down 90 percent in phone calls. Phone barely rings any more right now, so until this problem gets fixed and the word gets back out there it’s going to be a problem,” said Breiner.

Until then, course employees will keep answering questions.

“That’s been the hardest part of this whole process is explaining it over and over every day, 20 times a day to everybody. That’s been the hardest part,” Breiner said.

The country club is working with the manufacturers and the chemical company to fix the damage and hopes to reopen in October.

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