WE’VE all heard of the concept of crazy golf – but the situation at a Montgomeryshire border golf club has gone beyond ridiculous.
Llanymynech Golf Club – which straddles the Wales and England border – was asked to close on Saturday due to confusion over whether it is right that its Welsh and English members should be allowed to play.
The majority of the club is situated in Wales – including 15 holes and the clubhouse, while the three remaining holes are in England. And the club pays its rates to Powys County Council.
But the club is governed by England Golf and Shropshire is currently in Tier 3 where playing golf is permitted. In Wales, however, all golf clubs are shut and residents are being instructed not to travel outside of the country for unnecessary reasons – meaning playing golf in England is not allowed.
And reports of golfers breaching Covid-19 restrictions resulted in a police and a Powys County Council presence at the club on Saturday, with golfers either told to come off the course or turned away.
“Me and a friend went up there but got turned away by a policeman and two council officials in their high vis jackets,” said long-term club member Ian Jones, who took to Twitter to vent his frustration.
“They were very polite about it but you could tell they were a bit embarrassed.”
Ian, who lives in Oswestry, has been a member at the club for over 30 years.
“We’d heard rumblings of warning letters being sent to the club and we think they’ve had a few complaints,” he added.
“This issue has rumbled on throughout the pandemic but it seems to have come to a head after Wales came out of their firebreak lockdown in November, which was when England went into their own lockdown – and the club was shut completely.
“Welsh members complained because their lockdown ended so they wanted to play golf and couldn’t.”
The latest coronavirus restrictions prevent Welsh golf clubs from opening at all with the entire country at alert level four since December 20. In England it is slightly different in that golf can be played in fourballs in Tiers 1, 2 and 3, while in Tier 4 areas, golf is restricted to individual play, two-balls from same/different households or three and fourballs from the same household/bubble.
Ian believes an ultimate decision has to be made as to whether the club is affiliated with Wales or England.
“We’re either an all-English or an all-Welsh club because the club and members are just being left in limbo,” said Ian.
“At the start of the pandemic the club was closed for six-eight weeks and then when it reopened we were allowed to play in twos. It’s under the control of Golf England so when there are no restrictions in England the course is open.
“When the restrictions were in force in Wales the clubhouse was closed but the course was open.
“Now the course is closed again and will be until it is told it can reopen by the relative authorities.”
Police were at the club on Saturday, after Powys County Council asked for it to be closed.
Club officials said officers were only there to assist and were not there to enforce the closure of the club, and that further discussion over whether it can stay open are likely to take place early next week.
The club was permitted to remain open during December as it was judged to be under English rules.
Sian Whiteoak, club secretary, was quoted as saying: “Powys County Council have asked us to close for the time being.
“Our governing body for golf is in England. Our clubhouse has been closed since October. It’s one of those confusing situations because we are half and half (in Shropshire and Wales).”