“I was refused membership due to my head tattoo”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 16, 2023 09:35

A man has claimed the tattoo he has of a skull on the back of his head is the reason why he has been unsuccessful at joining a golf club.

Speaking to the Wirral Globe, Charles Roughley, 66, a former police officer, said he got the tattoo 10 years ago to hide medical scarring.

He said he has played at one club in particular on multiple occasions as a guest but when he tried to apply for a membership, he said he was effectively “put on hold” for two years before his application was refused.

The club has said it does not operate a ‘no-tattoo’ policy and stated that many existing members have tattoos, and it is under no obligation to detail the reasons why memberships have been refused.

Roughley said: “Being bald I tried to eradicate the scars using various treatments but unfortunately none of them worked and the scars wouldn’t go away so when I retired, I decided to get the tattoo.

“Historically when I was still in the police, we used to have a golf society and we would play regular matches at the club. I’m a keen golfer and I’ve played at the club many times.

“All my friends in the area are all members of the golf club so I thought I could apply for a membership and spend the rest of my retirement playing golf with them.”

In June 2019, he attended his first interview at the club after being proposed by two of his friends.

He said: “I waited for a decision to be made by the club’s committee and was told in my feedback that I had been successful but was on a waiting list.”

He said he waited two years before he heard anything back from the club.

“Eventually my friends who proposed me made some enquiries at the club and it transpired that the committee had actually refused my membership and said they had written to me, but I never received a letter and neither did my friends.

“So, they essentially put me on hold for two years without telling me.”

In July 2021, a letter was sent to the club from members vouching supporting his application. As a result, Charles was offered a second interview.

He said: “They said I was unsuccessful and had refused my application again. The feedback I got from my friends who are at the club was that I had been refused because of my tattoo and that some council members found it offensive.”

He said he has been left feeling “upset and disgusted” as a result of the club’s decision, and that he hasn’t even been allowed to play at the club as a guest since.

He said: “I am a man of good character, and I am well known in the area so I am very embarrassed that the club has refused me. All of my friends play there and it denies me the opportunity to play golf with them for the next 15 years.

“I usually get lots of compliments about my tattoo mainly by the younger generation so it might be something that the older generation at the club doesn’t particularly like.

“Other members have tattoos on their body so it’s not like they have a no tattoo policy.

“I did ask the club for feedback as to why they refused my membership, and I received a letter to say they were not obliged to give any feedback so now I can’t even enter the club as a guest because I’ve been refused membership.”

A spokesperson for the club said: “Heswall Golf Club welcomes membership applications from new and existing golfers of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds, and is aware of its obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

“All applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, and on occasions membership may be refused. As a private members’ club, the club is under no obligation to detail the reasons why membership has been refused, either to the applicant or third party.

“In reaching its decisions, the club does not ‘discriminate’ against who it admits as a member. Specifically, the club does not operate a ‘no-tattoo’ policy, and in fact many existing members do have tattoos.

“The club constitution also clearly stipulates that anyone who has been refused membership may not be admitted to the club as a visitor or guest, including to play golf.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 16, 2023 09:35
Write a comment


  1. Os June 22, 21:20

    Do you think that tattoo was one of your best decisions? Ridiculous. You would have known the reaction it was going to get so stop whinging or have it removed.

    Reply to this comment
  2. TonyS June 22, 13:52

    I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that requires that you attend an interview.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Gerontious June 21, 16:00

    He should have had a rabbit tattooed on his head. Under the right light it looks like hare.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Ernielong June 20, 20:47

    Have you got eyes in the back of your head ?

    Reply to this comment
  5. Lady P June 20, 15:09

    To be truthful i think your scare would have been better.
    It doesn’t look very nice and the pain of having it done. wow!
    There are certain standards and lots of people think they are not acceptable.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Fifeflyer June 18, 22:05

    I think you are better off not getting a membership. The club is obviously run by people who are so up their own xxxxxxxxx, I certainly wouldn’t want to be part of it.
    It’s a pity your friends don’t back you and move to another club close to you.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Kev June 18, 16:24

    I have met this guy on holiday in Cape Verde and in my opinion you can’t judge a book but the cover and no one should judge this guy by his tattoo. I spent almost 2 weeks in his company with his family and he is a great bloke who just loves the game of golf.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Saintgeorge June 18, 16:20

    I would like to know what medical scars you had for you to have such an horrendous tattoo also your an ex police officer,a very poor combination for joining any club

    Reply to this comment
    • Mark999 June 23, 17:36

      Ridiculous that clubs should ‘interview’. His friends should resign and go elsewhere. And a comment above re bad combination bares to think on his character. Think club is hiding behind private members club to avoid its equality and inclusion obligation

      Reply to this comment
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