Floods have closed Caerleon golf course since December
11:46am Tuesday 4th February 2014 in News
GWENT escaped the worst of the flooding but a Newport golf course has been left counting the cost of the wet weather.
Pressure points such as Tintern in Monmouthshire and Crindau in Newport, where Natural Resources Wales deployed water pumps to prevent flooding, prepared for the worst but in the end were affected by minimal amounts of flood water. A spokesman for Monmouthshire council said gritters were out and staff were on standby throughout the weekend but, aside from some tidal flooding in Tintern on Friday night, there was no reported disruption or damage.
But parts of Caerleon’s municipal golf course in Newport are under three feet of water, after high spring tides and constant rainfall caused the River Usk to burst its banks again.
The course at the Broadway has been closed since December 22 and has only brought in £2.50 of takings from the course since then.
A handful of visitors to the club house during lunchtimes are bringing in enough revenue to pay for manager Lee Fox’s fuel to get to and from work, but the past month has been “a nightmare”, he said.
“We are completely underwater,” said Mr Fox, 36, who is self employed and sells food and drinks at the clubhouse, as well as running the course seven days a week alongside Streetscene for Newport council.
“The greenkeeper took a look this morning and (the water) is still waist-high.”
Mr Fox, who has been working on the course for the past five years, said long-standing members have remarked that the last time the flooding was this severe was in 1997.
“On Friday we sold a basket of golf balls for £2.50, and because the course is closed no golfers are coming down, so the club house is making next to nothing,” said Mr Fox, who said he did not know how much revenue had been lost. “It’s a struggle.”
The course has shorter opening times during the winter because of poor light and fewer golfers using it, but the flooding has meant essential jobs like grass-cutting and trying to get moles out of the tees are being put off.
“It will take until the end of February to dry off and open,” said Mr Fox. “That’s another month of no income. We need a nice March weather-wise and I’ll be asking Newport council about whether we can do some sort of promotion to entice people to use the course.”
When asked if he was concerned that the club may not be able to cope with such a long closure, Mr Fox said: “It is a massive worry, it’s not cheap to maintain the course. Hopefully once we get it cleared up and people come back everything will be OK.”
The Argus asked Newport council for a comment about how much revenue has been lost but did not receive a response yesterday.
Rob Klinkert, who runs Tintern Garage on Main Road, said: “We have lived here for 31 years and you can kind of tell (what level the water will get to).
“Now the water’s come down we just need to deal with what will come off the fields but we can do that.”
WEATHER warnings of gusts up to 45mph have been forecast later this week as more rain and wind batters Gwent.
The Met Office predicts rain all day today and Wednesday, with gales accompanied by heavy rain and the potential for gusts to around 70mph in coastal areas, possibly 80mph in the far southwest. Inland gusts to around 60mph are likely, including wind speeds of around 44mph in Gwent's valleys.
Longer spells of rain could mean Wales is hit by between 20-30mm of water in 24 hours, up to 40mm over southwestern hills.
It has warned the public to be aware of the risk of disruption from wind, rain, large waves and high tides.
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