Small town's vandalized golf course gets help from Ryder Cup staff

The 1,400 people in Wheaton, Minnesota, weren't sure how they would repair their vandalized golf course. Then Ryder Cup officials heard their story.
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We still don't know who trashed the first green at Wheaton Golf Course in August.

But now we know who's putting up the money to fix the damage.

First the backstory

Fewer than 1,500 people live in Wheaton. It's the biggest town in Minnesota's smallest county (by population) – out where South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota come together.

Wheaton is not too small to support a golf course, though.

However it suffered a setback late this summer. One morning they found that someone had left doughnuts on the first green. The kind you make by whipping a pickup truck around in circles.

If you can point the authorities toward whoever did this, a $5,000 reward could still be yours.

Help Rydes in

The Traverse County sheriff's office spread the news of the vandalism and reward.

The sheriff's office says their plea for help was heard by organizers of the Ryder Cup, the big international golf tournament now underway at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska.

They alerted the PGA of America, which has a charitable arm called PGA REACH.

This week a check for $5,000 was handed to Sheriff Trevor Wright and the Vice President of Wheaton Golf Course, Tom Frisch.

But that's not all.

Not surprisingly, a small town golf course like Wheaton's has no groundskeeping superintendent with expertise at restoring a vandalized green.

So the superintendent of grounds at Hazeltine, Chris Tritabaugh, has agreed to provide guidance to the course managers in Wheaton on techniques to rebuild the damaged grounds, the sheriff says.

By the way, even though they're using a temporary replacement hole on #1, Wheaton Golf Course is open for business this weekend.

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