A HARTFORD man has been forced to have surgery on his testicle after being struck by a wildly-hit golf ball as he walked along a public footpath.

Matt Iles, 31, was walking with his wife Lucy on a footpath in Eaton, where part of the route runs alongside the fairway at Macdonald Portal Hotel’s golf course.

With the noon sun shining low on December 27 and Lucy reaching for sunglasses from her handbag, Matt heard the shout of ‘fore’ to warn him of a wild swing.

He saw the ball heading towards him but before he could move away it had struck and left him with a ruptured testicle.

“I wasn’t too sure at first but then I doubled over in agony,” Matt told the Guardian.

“One of the golfers came over to apologise and I said I would be fine, but I was in quite a lot of pain.

“I had obviously never had a blow that size before – normally the pain would only last for a minute or so, but this would not go away.

“I carried on walking for a bit really slowly but it was extremely painful. I used ‘Dr Google’ to see if it should still be hurting after 20 minutes – and it said something serious had happened.”

With the pain only getting worse, Lucy rushed Matt to Leighton Hospital, where he discovered the ruptured testicle was around four times its usual size, while the other was also damaged.

Having been cared for by the ‘brilliant’ team at Leighton Hospital, he went in for surgery.

Northwich Guardian: Leighton Hospital in Crewe- Google Maps imageLeighton Hospital in Crewe- Google Maps image

Matt is also set for medical test results to check his fertility and testosterone levels following the incident.

The couple said they could only see one sign placed low down at the second tee warning golfers of pedestrians passing by.

They are now calling for improved signage to be placed at the golf course, particularly on the stretch which runs alongside the fairway.

Matt said: “Obviously the golfers were careless – I believe they could have seen me and waited, but they just never thought they would mess up their shot.

“But it is the club’s choice to allow that part of the footpath to be just past the fairway.”

Lucy added: “The public have a right to be protected, particularly at a time when the only exercise available is limited to our local area and mainly consists of walking.

“I am determined to improve this situation. I do not want anyone else to go through what we went through.”

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A spokesman at Macdonald Portal Hotel said: “This unfortunate and isolated incident occurred despite there being prominent signs on the footpath warning walkers of golfers nearby.

“All necessary risk assessments and sufficient signage are in place. Our thoughts are with the injured party and we wish him a speedy recovery.”