GOLFERS itching for a full assault on Hong Kong's first public course may have to temper their enthusiasm following a torrential rainstorm that has jeopardised plans to have 18 holes open for play in December. About 250 millimetres of rain pelted the Kau Sai Chau Island course off Sai Kung on Thursday night. Clumps of turf were torn from five freshly laid fairways. 'It's a setback we could have done without - now we're under pressure,' construction project controller John Halliday said yesterday. Mr Halliday promised some facilities would be ready for the December 11 and 12 opening. The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club, which is funding the project, originally intended to open the two, 18-hole courses in December but a prolonged wet spell during the summer of last year forced that plan to be scaled back. The latest deluge, a remnant of Typhoon Sibyl, comes after a series of controversies: environmentalists attacked the project, fishermen warned of a fung shui curse if graves were moved and military personnel spoke of the island's past as a British Army bombing range. While the course promises to give golfers the cheapest round in Hong Kong, Mr Halliday yesterday warned it would not be open to any old hackers. Golfers who do not have a handicap will have to prove their talents to the club professional on the practice range or take lessons at the course.