‘Moaning members barred from golf club’ story goes viral

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 2, 2018 13:40

A story about five septuagenarian golfers who have been thrown out of their golf club for complaining about its modernisation has gone viral.

The golfers had expressed their displeasure at a number of changes to the club, in particular a relaxed dress code.

The Wiltshire Gazette & Herald first reported on the story in early April, but it went viral this weekend when it was covered by a number of national publications, including the Daily Mail.

The five golfers, Will Scrivens, 72, Colin Weekley, 71, Chris Elworthy, 70, John Swales, 71, and Roger Brack, 73, had been paying £1,800 a year each for membership at The Manor House Golf Club in Wiltshire, and had complained that clubhouse rules were changed to allow players to wear jeans, T-shirts and trainers, and use mobile phones. They also objected to seeing white vans in the car park belonging to builders and plumbers taking advantage of cheap ‘pay and play’ day passes, along with the clubhouse serving up Welsh rarebit and ditching monogrammed china cups and saucers in favour of plain mugs.

In March they received letters informing them their membership would not be renewed.

The letters read: ‘Throughout the last few seasons, you have appeared unhappy with the direction the club has headed and some of the decisions we have made.

‘As we continue to focus on moving the club forward and challenging the status quo, we do not believe the Manor House will be the right club for you.

‘This year therefore, we will not be offering you the opportunity to renew your membership.’

The Daily Mail quoted the golfers but not the club.

One of the golfers said: “Hotel guests can play the course whether they can play golf or not, which means that a six-hour round, waiting to play every shot, is happening.

“Over the last couple of years my complaints have also been about inedible food – Welsh rarebit for instance was a cold lump of rubbery cheese on stale bread.”


Another added: “The club used to be quite exclusive, in the halcyon days of the 1990s when there was a boom in private golf clubs.

“The fees were high but there were nice benefits, like a free night in the hotel, and various other perks. Then things started changing without consultation from the members.

“There was no loyalty from the club. We used to have china cups and saucers but tea and coffee is now served in mugs. Firstly, they were black mugs bearing the initials ‘EG’, for ‘Exclusive Golf’.

“The mugs are now patterned without initials, reflecting the clientele the club now targets.”

A third said: “They have just opened the gates to anyone who is willing to turn up and have a go.”

The five have now moved to Kingsdown Golf Club.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 2, 2018 13:40
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  1. Peekay May 3, 19:08

    I have been playing golf for nearly 60 years. I started at a time when juniors were generally treated with contempt by members. As an adult I always had time for encouraging juniors and respecting the seniors. I seem now to be entering an age when it is acceptable to discriminate against Seniors. Sad, sad, sad.

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  2. Global Golf Summit May 2, 13:46

    Times keep changing, members keep changing. A club that adapts to these changes while maintaining customer service is ideal. We will be discussing such experiences during the Global Golf Summit.

    Reply to this comment
    • Emma May 4, 07:58

      Agree, we need to move with the times and adapted to the changing expectations golfers have. Whilst making changes I think that elements of the traditions of the game should be kept, but at the end of the day if you don’t meet the expectations of your members and potential members the income won’t be there. Really important to talk to memembers about changes before implementing them.

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  3. Stuart May 2, 12:32

    I must admit smart casual would be nice but I am afraid you would get people coming in wearing jeans with holes in. I am afraid at a lot of golf clubs you cannot express a view without being shouted down or in this case asked to leave.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Angus May 1, 16:09

    No excuse for being “unhappy” & “playing golf” at the same time – frustrated at times maybe!!️‍♂️️‍♀️⛳

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