The golf course playing a round with a cross-border conundrum

The greens were newly mown, the sky was blue and the 360 degree views were stunning.

Llanymynech Golf Club member Satyajit Maitra enjoyed a solo game
Llanymynech Golf Club member Satyajit Maitra enjoyed a solo game

But only a handful of golfers were enjoying the chance to get a round in at Llanymynech Golf club yesterday, despite the easing of lockdown restrictions by Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, which meant that the course was open.

For the rules only apply to golfers in Wales and, with the village of Llanymynech near Oswestry, straddling the Shropshire/Welsh border, a large majority of the club members live in England.

They will have to wait until the UK Government eases English lockdown rules and allowed sports to start up again – possibly from March 29.

The club itself is the only one in Britain to have holes both in Wales and in England.

Set in picturesque countryside overlooking the two countries, the 18-hole course has 15 holes in Wales and two in England and one, the fourth, where you tee off in England and putt out in Wales.

The cross-border conundrum has seen the committee having to work hard to study the different rules and interpret where it has stood during the different versions of each lockdown over the past 12 months.

It is affiliated to the Shropshire & Herefordshire Union of Golf Clubs and the English Golf Union and, as a result, in May last year was only able to follow the Golf England guidelines which allowed the action to recommence a little earlier than fully Welsh counterparts.

However its clubhouse is licensed by Powys County Council. Neither country has short-term plans for the reopening of such venues and so it will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

There were fewer than a dozen cars on its car park yesterday afternoon.

Club committee member, Satyajit Maitra was glad to be back teeing off for a solo round.

He has been a member of the club for eight years.

“What is not to like about a day like this,” he said.

Catch-up

“We are very lucky to have a course like this.”

Mr Maitra, 64, said it was difficult having to explain to members why only those living in Wales could use the course.

“It is difficult being on the border, to understand why there has to be different rules for the two countries, particularly as the virus does not respect borders.

“We hope it won’t be long until our English members can join us. Of course the club house is still closed but it is great to be able to get out again.”

Friends Chris Thomas, 63, and Ceri Broughall, 64, said they were delighted to be getting in some practice and enjoying being out together in the fresh air.

Ceri said: “Today was a double whammy of good news for me as I had my hair cut at Snips in Welshpool at 9am and then time on the golf course.

“And I get my first jab for Friday, so that’s more good news.”

The pair have both been members since 2010.

“We just love being out on the course and today was just about practising and having a good catch-up. We only play competitively when we are in competitions,” she said.

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