MEMBERS of the county's only municipal golf course are voting with their feet and leaving the club after cracks opened up on the greens to leave the putting area "unplayable".

Halo Leisure Golf Course, inside Hereford Racecourse, was once known as having some of the best greens in the county while the nine-holes were praised for being available to those unable to afford the membership and signing-on fees found at other clubs.

However, the recent dry spell and changes to the way the course can access water has turned putting on the course into a lottery more likely found on a crazy golf site.

Cargill, who supply water to Hereford Racecourse from a nearby borehole, state their chicken plant is currently working at 'full capacity' leading to a reduction in the amount of water available.

Alex Haines, Halo partnership manager, said this all amounted to the course's water supply being stopped several months ago – with the effects now clear for all to see.

"That and the recent hot weather has created a perfect storm," said Mr Haines.

"The biggest thing is that Cargill have got a high usage of water so have stopped their water supply to the racecourse which our sprinkler system comes off.

"So we are reliant on rain and using our own water bowser, but we can't get the volume of water on the greens that they require.

"We have had no water supply for a few months now and the cheapest alternative is to put a borehole in.

"We are working with the racecourse on a planning application which is going to be submitted imminently to install a borehole.

"Planning could take eight weeks to go through. The race season is coming up and if they can't get water then they can't race so it is massively important for them."

This measure has came too late for golf club member Steve Tinton who is planning on joining a different club.

He added: "The golf greens used to be some of the best in the county but now they are just dead.

"There are great big cracks through the surface which is supposed to be a good facility for local people who can't afford to be members at other golf clubs.

"The greens are that bad that I'm not going to renew my membership and I'm going to play elsewhere."

Fellow golfer Phil Farmer says that some of the gaps in the surface are as wide as his putter.

A spokesman from Cargill said they do not have an agreement with Halo Leisure to supply water but do have an agreement with Hereford Racecourse to allow them to use their borehole.

Their spokesman said: "Due to health and safety arrangements we have been in a lot of discussions about the availability as our pump is working at full capacity.

"We are not able to pump the water out of the ground any faster.

"The food safety has to be our number one priority and we have provided Hereford Racecourse with plenty of notice.

"We have had a lot of discussions with them and been very flexible."