GOLFERS have spoken of their shock after being told to quit a Hampshire course once used by the legendary Tony Jacklin.

The nine-hole course at Rollestone Road, Holbury, is being sold by the owners, sparking claims that the players are being “put out to grass like an old donkey”.

The 58-member Polimeri Europa Golf Club is named after a firm that used to be based in the area.

Polimeri Europa UK, a subsidiary of Versalis (Eni) Ltd, closed in 2014 with the loss of several hundred jobs.

The 20-acre course occupies land donated by the de Rothschild family, owners of nearby Exbury Gardens, but is now being disposed of by Versalis and its parent company.

Club captain Jim Worsley, 69, of Cadland Park, Holbury, said: “When we heard the news we were gutted – we couldn’t believe it.

“We don’t know why they are selling the land. I don’t think anyone can build on it because it’s crossed by overhead power lines and an underground water pipe.

“The land has been used as a golf course since 1932.

“Apart from the golf we also enjoyed a good social life which included skittles evenings and Christmas meals. I’m hoping that side of things can continue.”

But golfers who want to continue playing face the prospect of switching to more expensive courses.

Membership of the club cost just £30 a year. Golf was free during the week and a charge of only £4 per round was levied on Sundays.

In a letter to Versalis the club said: “The course was donated by the Rothschilds as a sports field. It dates back to the early 1930s and was used for the professional golfers, including the great Tony Jacklin.

“We have maintained the greens, internal hedges and bunkers at our own expense.”

Apologising for the tone of the letter the club added: “I am sorry if this seems a little bitter, but put our shoes on your foot and see how you will feel. We are being thrown out to grass like an old donkey.”

Versalis has confirmed that it intends to sell the land.

The original course was laid out in the early 1930s by Lionel de Rothschild, creator of Exbury Gardens and was originally used by Rollestone Golf Club. Exbury villagers and estate workers were allowed to play on the course free of charge during the week, with Mr de Rothschild and his guests using it at weekends.