Fred Arbanas Golf Course closed after sod mistake costs Jackson County thousands

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LEE’s SUMMIT, Mo. — In the golf business, green grass keeps the money coming in.

One popular Jackson County golf course finds itself with a huge repair bill after a chemical treatment damaged its greens.

Staff members at Fred Arbanas Golf Course were heartbroken to discover the bent grass on all 18 greens had large brown patches — spots where the grass had died — leaving the golf course unplayable. 

“I would describe them as dirty bald spots on the greens,” Jackson County spokesperson Marshanna Smith said.

Smith said the chemical used was meant to help revive dormant grass in the springtime. Instead, the now-former greenskeeper’s error left large raw spots on every green on the championship course.

“Some of the greens didn’t re-emerge after they went dormant in the fall,” Smith said. “We know we had an issue that arrived, and it’s our responsibility to fix that issue. That’s what we did.”

Smith added that replacing the ruined sod will cost the county $28,000. The golf course will be closed until May 3, and it’s anticipated Jackson County’s Parks and Rec Department will lose $85,000 while Arbanas is closed.

Tournaments and outings are moneymakers at courses like this one. Smith said there were none on the schedule that needed to be rebooked or canceled.

“It’s a very hard economic impact on a golf course like this to be shut down,” said Todd Stice, who schedules and manages tournaments for Central Links. “When you’re getting $50-100 per player, depending on what course you’re playing, it’s a big chunk.”

Arbanas’ par three track and practice areas are still open. Stice said he believes the greens will be back to normal by mid-summer.

Fred Arbanas, the golf course’s namesake, died during the weekend at age 82. The former Jackson County legislator was also a member of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Honor, having been named an all-pro tight end five times. 

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