Hampshire's newest golf course is on schedule to open its doors in early summer.

The nine-hole Walhampton course, which overlooks the Solent at Lymington, will be open for play in May or early June.

And the good news for casual golfers in the New Forest and beyond - those who can perhaps play just a handful of times a month - Walhampton will be a "pay-as-you-play" course.

Green fees will be around £10 with reduced off-peak rates for seniors and juniors.

The proprietors will canvas the opinion of players before finalising membership details.

It is envisaged that a limited form of membership will be offered to those wishing to maintain a handicap and enter competitions.

The 2,500-yard course has been built on farmland where acres of strawberries once grew.

There will be five par-four holes, three par threes and one par five. Project manager Rick Tapson says: "Designers Bruce and David Weller have delivered a carefully crafted design that incorporates the natural features of the site and Mike Smith, the course constructor, has shown that his reputation as one of the finest shapers of greens is very well deserved."

Smith's Rockbourne-based company have worked on some of the best courses in the Uk including Turnberry, The Belfry and The Gloucestershire.

Each of the greens at Walhampton has cost in excess of £10,000 to construct and have been built to USGA specification.

The course designers, Weller Designs of Fareham, are members of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects and previous clients include Clive Clark, Peter McEvoy, Bernhard Langer and American Golf.

David Weller said: "This has been the smoothest running and probably the best managed project I have seen in my 16 years experience.

"The course will appeal to a wide range of golfers but at just 2,500 yards it is ideal for senior players and those for whom membership of an established 18-hole course is either too expensive or too demanding."

The course, close to the Lymington-Yarmouth ferry terminal in Lymington, has views down the Lymington River and across the Solent to Yarmouth and The Needles. And it will also have the imposing backdrop of the lovely old Walhampton School.

And strawberry lovers need not worry either. Farm manager Brian Goodall explained that a new company, Walhampton Golf Course, has been established to supervise the construction of the course on low yield arable land and then to manage golf operations. Goodall's strawberries will, meanwhile, continue as before.

There will be a small shop on the course with toilet facilities, and club hire will be available.

Although recent wet weather has hampered operations, it is hoped to hold a series of open days starting in the spring with dates and contact details to be published later.

There is a website for the new course: www.wgclymington.co.uk