Club loses members after having to enforce buggy ban

Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim January 19, 2016 07:52 Updated

A golf club in Yorkshire has said it lost at least three elderly members when it was forced to bring in a ban on mobility scooters by the organisation that supervises the land the course resides on.

The issue became so serious that the pasture masters, which supervises Beverley Westwood, where Beverley and East Riding Golf Club is located, has agreed to allow mobility scooters to be used on the golf course, but not buggies.

mobility scooter waldopepper

Mobility scooters are now allowed, but buggies not at Beverley and East Riding Golf Club. Flickr / waldopepper

The issue is confusing because, for example, Brian Yates, 77, who had played at the club for more than ten years, has a heart condition and cannot make it around a golf course without a mobility scooter, but he refers to it as a “buggy”.

When he was told about the ban last autumn, before the u-turn came in, he, along with at least two others, quit the club.

The decision to allow mobility scooters but not buggies means he will come back to the club, he said.

“I have been using my buggy because of my heart problems over the past four-and-a-half years.

“I have been a member for quite a number of years and have a lot of friends there so I was pleased when I was told I could come back.

“This could help people in the future, too.”

The club’s director of golf, Stewart Fraser, said of the initial ban: “We were, of course, very disappointed as it means three of our members will no longer to be able to play on the course, which is regrettable.

“We tried to fight against the decision but it is out of our hands. We are simply tenants of the land so we have to comply with our landlords and enforce their orders.”

According to the laws of the land, no motorised vehicles are allowed to be used on it due to the ‘detrimental’ effect it can have.

Chairman of the pasture masters, Allan English, said: “We are not trying to discriminate against anybody here. Our articles say our duty is to take care of the land and buggies can have a very detrimental effect on the pastures.

“It is even stated in our rules no motorised vehicles are allowed and that includes buggies.

“At the end of the day, our first priority is to the cattle that use the pastures, not the golfers.

“The club wanted to use golf buggies to hire them out and we said no, it was not the type of course for riding buggies.

“We are not discriminating against people with disabilities.

“Mobility scooters are [now] allowed, but it’s up to them to be insured. They are on rough pasture when not on the fairway and it’s at their own risk.”


Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim January 19, 2016 07:52 Updated
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  1. Neil Robinson January 22, 11:54

    Provided of course that the use of buggies is not a risk to the user, particularly on wet slippy ground. If greens staff are prohibited for H&S reasons for taking machinery on the course, then a buggy ban is perfectly allowable

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  2. Bob Braban January 21, 15:06

    Some clubs still introduce trolley and buggy bans when they are absolutely not justified. Muddy courses often offer no option, but some clubs introduce total bans where a 90 degree policy or confining buggies to the light rough will adequately solve any problems arising from soft ground. In conditions of frost, trolley bans are a relic of a by-gone age when grass quality was poor. Those were the days when by the middle of November the goal mouth of a major football ground would be bare of grass and often muddy. Times have moved on. Today, almost zero damage results from use of frosty ground, a point frequently proven by greens keepers who enforce trolley bans whilst at the same time traversing playing areas with their machinery. There’s no problem with that because they are not doing damage either, except to the marketability of their club. It’s a fact that such habits travel with greenskeepers. One will frequently see white lines protecting enormous areas of sandy ground around a green, simply because the greenskeeper was recruited from a club that suffered from muddy areas that required such protection.

    Few golfers would argue at the introduction of temporary greens when ground conditions make it advisable, particularly where they are maintained in good playable condition. However, more clubs need to recognise that an ever increasing sector of their market is made up of elderly players, many of whom cannot carry a bag. Clubs that ignore that fact may well lose existing members and will certainly find it more difficult to recruit. The message is to be modern and sell what you have now, not what existed thirty years ago.

    Bob Braban

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