Golfers on one Wiltshire course have enjoyed an almost uninterrupted winter of play after a mile of drainage piping was laid in the autumn.
Hamptworth Golf and Country Club, between Salisbury and Southampton in the north of the New Forest, closed its course on just seven days in four months.
That is ‘astonishing’ considering the rainfall that has caused countless matches of football and rugby to be called off and badly affected many golf courses.
In the four months from November to the end of February approximately 14 inches (355mm) of rain fell on Hamptworth, but the drainage work proved successful.
Indeed, January saw record rainfall for the area and the heavy deluges were efficiently dealt with by the new piping.
A further two miles of pipes are still to be laid at the golf course that is famous for being the home of The Beast – the 666 yard Par 6 hole.
Delighted owner Carl Faulds has invested £250,000 in the club since acquiring it a year ago and sorting the drainage issues was his priority.
His onsite team of ground staff will finish laying the rest of the piping before the summer so next winter could well be playable the whole way through.
Carl said: “When I bought the club it had a wonderful course, but there were drainage issues.
“Being a golfer myself I wanted to sort out this problem and our first winter has been a real success; astonishing.
“Being closed for just seven days in four months – horrible days when most golfers wouldn’t want to play anyway – was remarkable.
“Our ground staff have worked wonders and only a third of the planned drainage work has been completed.
“We’ve also worked hard on the tees, fairways and greens and anticipate that this summer the course will play better than ever before.”
As well as the golf course, the club has five international croquet greens and a tennis section.
There is also a café-bar and restaurant that is becoming increasingly popular, especially among non-members.