Golfers driven off course

A remarkable shot of the fifth hole at Cooden Beach Golf Club completely under water
A remarkable shot of the fifth hole at Cooden Beach Golf Club completely under water

The seemingly never-ending bad weather has prevented virtually any golf from being played over the past two months at Cooden Beach Golf Club.

The full 18-hole course has been closed since Christmas Eve, with a six-hole variant sporadically available when the torrential rain has briefly abated.

The conditions have particularly affected the coastal course due to the fact that the majority of the greens at the Cooden Sea Road club lie below sea level.

Speaking this week, Cooden general manager Keith Wiley said: “I’ve been here 12 years and have never seen anything like it. Several people who have been members for longer than that have said the same.

“The amount of water is unprecedented. The pumps are working 24/7, but it just has not stopped. I think it would take a good four or five days of respite to go some way to addressing the situation.

“We are governed by the backlog of water in Cole Stream, which runs along the northern boundary of the course. It’s obviously been a countrywide issue, with the possible lack of dredging and neglect from the Environment Agency.

“It’s very frustrating for members who can’t get out on the course. However, in the grand scheme of things, we have been lucky as the water hasn’t affected the clubhouse - the bar and function rooms are still open.

“We are trying to work out a reduced course, but until the weather clears a bit, we will just have to sit it out.”

Across the town in Ellerslie Lane, Highwoods Golf Club has been slightly more fortuitous, having heavy saturation to contend with rather than a submerged course.

Highwoods general manager Austen Moran said: “Luckily we’re not in the same scenario. We’ve been affected as the ground is very saturated, but we’re not as low down.

“Everything is taking longer to drain, but we’re making daily inspections and looking to upgrade the infrastructure. It’s frustrating as people want to play golf. There are restraints in place - hopefully, though, we’ll be back to normal sooner rather than later.”