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Rain in nick of time to stop golf clubs from running dry

PUBLISHED: 06:06 12 August 2018 | UPDATED: 08:31 12 August 2018

Barnham Broom golf course.

Barnham Broom golf course.

Rain has come in the nick of time for Norfolk’s golf clubs, whose water resources were on the brink of running dry.

Charlie Bright. Picture: Denise BradleyCharlie Bright. Picture: Denise Bradley

A flurry of recent downpours brought an end to the UK’s driest start to the summer since modern records began in 1961 - putting irrigation systems to the test at golf courses.

Stuart Smith, PGA professional at Thetford Golf Club, said: “We are very low on natural sources to help but the rain came in just in time to fill the water resources.

“The greens and tees have been very dry. I’m sure the groundsman and greenkeepers are pleased. It’s more of a winter course because it’s on sand so it drains well. Rain actually benefits us because we don’t get loads of mud and it stays relatively dry.”

With only 50.8mm of rain falling between 1 June and 19 July, grass was looking particularly brown and damaged this year.

Golf courses have been struggling to stay irrigated 
Picture: Nick ButcherGolf courses have been struggling to stay irrigated Picture: Nick Butcher

James Tinsley of Barnham Broom Golf Club said: “If the dry weather lasted another two weeks the course really would have been starting to struggle. It got to the point where the water pumps were being overworked because we were running them for so long.

“We are lucky we have a river running through the course which has helped our irrigation system. This has helped the course to play quite well and allow the balls to run through.”

While courses inland have had plenty of hot weather, Sheringham Golf Club has at least had a coastal breeze as a links course on the North Sea coastline.

Charlie Bright, assistant professional at Sheringham, said: “We needed some rain so there is some relief. We have only a certain amount of water for the course so the rain is good, but it has kept up pretty well.

“The course has already greened up a little bit from the rain we are now having.”

The dry conditions have helped golfers with higher handicaps who may not be able to hit the ball as far.

It is the greens which have been the biggest concern for most courses.

James Johnson of Eaton Golf Club said: “We have good green staff who have to manage the course independently to keep it wet. The course is actually in one of the best conditions it has ever been in. The weather has made it dry but it is something we have dealt with.”

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