VANDALS dug up the turf on two pristine golf greens- just days before an Essex-wide tournament is due to take place.

Groundsman were devastated when they arrived at Rochford Hundred Golf Club, in Hall Road, Rochford, on Monday morning to find someone had used a shovel to dig up earth on the 5th and 16th holes.

The club has vowed to go ahead with a scheduled men’s tournament this weekend despite the damage.

Roger Fearn, director of operations, said club bosses are speaking to insurers about the vandalism, which could cost hundreds of pounds to put right.

He said: “David Rand, the head groundsman, is devastated, as are his staff. They work exceptionally hard and it’s a difficult time at the moment because of the lack of water.

“They do a magnificent job for us.

“It isn’t the first time we have had vandalism, but nothing to this extreme.

“But life goes on, we have got to be positive and get it put right.

“We have had tremendous support from other clubs so it certainly brings the golfing community together when something goes wrong.”

The tournament was saved after other clubs taking part agreed for changes to be made to the course.

Ivor Finer, of Whitehouse Road, Eastwood, has been a member for 22 years and is the former membership manager of Rochford Hundred.

The 71-year-old suspects someone with a grudge decided to sabotage the event, for unknown reasons.

He said: “We could weep, it’s horrific. They have gone there with a shovel and a wheelbarrow, so it’s targeted, it isn’t just pure vandalism.

“This has been done for a reason.

“We are supposed to be putting on a big Essex tournament on Sunday, but the greens were left unplayable.

“It’s heart-breaking, its soul destroying. The ground keeper was close to tears, they work so hard.

“They were going to present the club in its finest fettle on Sunday. It’s a great disappointment to every single member.

“One person on Facebook has already offered a £1,000 reward to find whoever did it.”

Anyone with information can call Essex Police on 101.