When PGA Professional James Drinkall moved to Country Golf in July, he didn’t think he needed to bring goggles as well as his clients.
But after huge rainfall led to the Holderness Drain flooding the Hull driving range and academy course nearly three weeks ago, they weren’t the only things he needed.
“We’ve had a lot of people turning up and are quite surprised that we’re still closed,” Drinkall said. “We’re thinking, are you for real? We’ve been swimming. Big style!”
Throughout the summer, Drinkall and Country Golf owner John Harrison set about transforming the business into a fun and family friendly centre.
With a floodlit driving range and well-manicured par 3 course, the centre has quickly become an East Hull golfing darling.
But after slowly growing success, Drinkall’s own coaching took a hit when the water arrived.
“We’re closed to the public from a safety point of view, but because I’m a separate business entity I’m still doing bits of coaching and collecting balls myself.”
“People are reluctant to come at the moment. It would be quite realistic to say that I’ve lost three weeks worth of lessons and potential lessons, but it could have been a lot worse. We anticipated it being a lot worse at the time.”
Drinkall’s junior programmes, the driving force of his coaching repertoire and one of the major reasons Harrison wanted him at Country Golf, have also come to a halt.
“I’ve had to put my junior sessions on hold. They’ve been off for two weekends now, but I’m hoping to get them in this Sunday and get them up and running again.”
As well as losing a large portion of his lessons, a number of valuable items and pro shop stock were also washed away.
“The worst thing to be honest is I’ve lost about twenty of my coaching manuals and teaching books, which is really frustrating.
“My new Mizuno fitting centre and swing DNA shaft optimiser, that’s all survived however. God knows how, but overall I’ve done quite well and survived it all right.”
Country Golf is ready to reopen this weekend – and Drinkall is positive the misfortune won’t affect the range’s previously established momentum.
“The effort of John himself and volunteers has been massive,” he said. “People have been really really helpful, and we’re progressing it. We’re progressing it well.
“Its definitely not a setback as we open this weekend. We’ve literally had two and a half to three weeks off. That’s not enough time to lose clients.
“If nothing else it was probably an indication to sift out all the old stuff and refresh things for the better.”
“I think it is a blessing in disguise to some extent if John doesn’t lose out financially. But I think it’ll just make us and the place stronger and better.”
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