For those who assume the UK's spot in the calendar has always consisted of the grass season (and since 2009, WTF) you would be surprised to know that this was not the case a few years ago.
Back in 1996, the LTA managed to deliver an interesting tournament to the South Coast in a strange part of the calendar, just after the US Open. Because of its awkward position just before the indoor season kicked in, Tim Henman never showed up to compete although Greg Rusedski would take part and win one of the doubles titles with Jason Stoltenberg. The surface was green clay, or Har-Tru.
Despite the differences between green clay and red clay, the quaint West Hants Sports Club would always attract plenty of dirt specialists. Future RG champ Albert Costa won the 1996 edition and Felix Mantilla, whose resume includes a Rome final where he schooled Federer good and proper, won it twice beating Costa and Moya in his finals.
It's a bit strange now when you consider that American players including our own Johnny Groove practice on green clay yet none of them seemed to turn up, looking at the 1996 event you had two guys in Costa and Bruguera who retired with three Roland Garros titles between them, and two finalists in Medvedev and Magnus Norman. Mainly Spanish and Latinos, but in terms of clay, a very appealing field.
Nowadays the West Hants club still exists, but looking at the website you wouldn't think it used to house some of the best clay court players in the world!
Anyone else remember the tournament?