Fury as English golfers blocked from playing at their own course by Welsh government

Ross McGuinness
·3-min read
Players at Llanymynech Golf Club, Oswestry, where the course crosses the border of England and Wales. The course faces uncertainty as lockdown restrictions on golf are lifted in England from today, but remain in force in Wales.
Llanymynech Golf Club on the Wales/England border is at the centre of confusion after both countries announced lockdown easing measures. (PA)

There is anger that some members of a golf club straddling the England/Wales border will not be allowed to play there after the countries announced separate coronavir-easing measures.

Llanymynech Golf Club has 15 holes in Wales and three in England, but its predominantly English membership has been told it cannot play there because they are not allowed to cross the border.

However, the club’s Welsh members are permitted to play at the course, and have been for the past two weeks after restrictions eased.

Wales became the first UK nation to lift travel restrictions within its borders on Sunday, meaning people there can enjoy unlimited travel inside the country.

Llanymynech Golf Club, Oswestry, where the course crosses the border of England and Wales. The course faces uncertainty as lockdown restrictions on golf are lifted in England from today, but remain in force in Wales.
Llanymynech Golf Club is along the border of England and Wales. (PA)

Six people from two households can now meet outside or in private gardens.

An interim “all-Wales travel area” in place until 12 April means people will be unable to travel in or out of the country for at least another two weeks, unless for a reasonable excuse such as for work.

England’s own lockdown-easing measures came into force on Monday, and allow groups of two households or under the rule of six to meet outside in parks or gardens, although people are still being told to “stay local”.

Watch: Golf club reopens at midnight as England's lockdown eases

Sports facilities such as golf courses have also reopened, with some players teeing off just after midnight on Monday to make the most of the new rules.

However, people can only travel across the Wales/England border in either direction for essential reasons such as work, providing care or essential shopping if their nearest supermarket is in the other country.

The new rules have caused confusion at Llanymynech Golf Course, which overlooks the villages of Llanymynech, which straddles the border, and Pant in Shropshire, England.

Club chairman Stuart Jones told the Border Counties Advertiser it is “ridiculous” that those in England, who make up two-thirds of members, will not be allowed to play at the course.

He said: “The course is landlocked by England as it cannot be accessed directly from any Welsh road – our Welsh members have to drive from Wales into England and then back over the border onto the golf club land back into Wales.

"So we have the ridiculous situation on Monday of all golf courses in England and Wales open but English members of Llanymynech GC unable to play on their own local course that they live closer to than the Welsh members.”

He said the club is seeking clarification from the Welsh government about its unique situation, adding that Powys County Council told him it will not check on the course unless there is a complaint.

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“This is starting to cause animosity between English and Welsh members, and in my humble opinion if they try and uphold this ridiculous restriction they are directly discriminating against our English members.”

Owen Paterson, the Conservative MP for North Shropshire, tweeted on Monday: “Ludicrous statements from the Labour administration in Wales.

“They say Shropshire people can't attend cross-border @Llanymynechgolf Club, yet people in Wales can cross to the club’s entrance in Shropshire!

“My constituents should be free to enjoy safe exercise and fresh air today.”

Watch: Outdoor sports resume in England as lockdown eases