A bid to lift a ban on Sunday golf in Stornoway has failed, it emerged yesterday.
A legal challenge is now likely after the town’s public landlord refused an application from Stornoway Golf Club to be allowed seven days a week.
Furious golfers who are not members of the club – and to whom the ban does not apply – turned out to play yesterday while members who could be expelled for breaking the club rules could only look on enviously.
Stornoway Golf Club confirmed it will now consider going to court to overturn the never-on-a-Sunday rule which is more than 100 years old. A previous attempt to persuade the publicly-owned Stornoway Trust to lift the ban also failed two years ago. The club has since been advised that the Sunday ban is illegal and could also breach human rights laws.
Golf club secretary Ken Galloway said: “Having received the trust's statement that they are “not inclined to accede” to our request for seven-day golf, the management committee of Stornoway Golf Club will meet in April, after which we will consult our legal advisers about the way forward.”
In a vote at the club's annual meeting last year, only four out of 130 members supported the status quo. A number did not vote.
Yesterday, Fred Maclennan, 69, a former club captain, had to stay off the course while his friend, learner golfer Colin Maclean, practised on the tee. Mr Maclennan, a retired BT engineer, said: “I dare not go on to the course because of the ban imposed on the club and its members by Stornoway Trust.
“But Colin and his friends are not members and are not bound by any club rules so they can play on the course as much as they want. The strange thing is I am allowed to play golf anywhere else on Stornoway Trust land on Sunday – just not on the golf course. It is a crazy situation. You could not make it up.”
Mr Maclean, a roofing contractor, said: “It is a disgrace which shows up the farce in this town for what it really is. Several pubs are open so it is OK to go in town and drink, but a healthy game of golf is banned on pain of expulsion.”
Stornoway Trust said it would be inappropriate to comment. A spokesperson said: “The trust considers this to be a private matter between landlord and tenant.”