Vandals have poured herbicide over a Whangarei bowling green then walked all over the pristine surface.
Each day the damage becomes more evident as the grass dies away to brown patches then black spots on the green canvas. The attack has been described as a "kick in the guts for club members" by Onerahi Bowling Club president Ian Bowick.
"It's upset everyone at the club and this comes after five burglaries at the clubhouse since last December. It's like a personal attack on the club members," Mr Bowick said.
"At least with the burglaries you can fix up a window and that's it. The green is the club's greatest asset and every day we look out and see the damage."
He said the older membership were very upset as the picture of the damage became clearer. Mr Bowick is not sure when the vandals hit the green but a member first noticed something off about the surface on April 8.
Noted in the greenkeeper's diary: "Very strange brown patches with footprints all over the green. Strange very strange."
As the damage has revealed itself over the last few weeks it seems at least two people were involved as there are two different sized footprints.
He estimates it will cost more than $2000 to fix, leaving the club well out of pocket.
The club's greenkeeper for the last 12 years Bill Burgess has spent hundreds of hours working on the green to make it one of the best bowling surfaces in Northland. He returned from a holiday in the South Island to the news the green had been vandalised.
"It's simple if you don't have a green you don't have a club," Mr Burgess said.
A special type of grass was required for the green and was not cheap. Mr Burgess started repair work on the green this week. He said it was difficult to tell how deep the herbicide had penetrated so it would be difficult to tell just how well the green would recover.
As black spots revealed themselves Mr Burgess was racking off the top soil, sweeping it away and re-grassing.
Police had been notified and had been to the club to photograph the damage.