Lockdown: Golfers at border course 'can leave or enter Wales'

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image captionFifteen of the club's holes are in Wales and three in England

Members of a golf club with holes in both England and Wales can now cross the border during rounds.

Powys council had told Llanymynech Golf Club that members from England ran the risk of being fined for breaching Covid travel rules for crossing the border.

But the Welsh government has said it is reasonable for golfers from either country "to enter or leave Wales".

People in Wales need a reasonable excuse to leave the country. Those in England are asked to "minimise travel".

Outdoor sport facilities, including golf courses, reopened in Wales on Saturday and in England on Monday.

The club's entrance is in Shropshire, England along with the 5th and 6th holes.

However the clubhouse and 15 of the course's 18 holes are entirely in Powys, Wales, while those playing the 4th hole tee-off in one country - only to find the green in the other.

'Nonsense'

More than 100 of the club's 450 members had been expected to tee-off to mark the easing of lockdown measures in England on Monday. However the course instead hosted just a handful of members resident in Wales.

Club chairman Stuart Jones said: "We have been told [by the council] that English members are not allowed to play... and they said Welsh residents could play. It's just a nonsense really.

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image captionLlanymynech Golf Club's chairman says two-thirds of its membership live in England

"The entrance is in England and without the English residents we wouldn't have a golf course because it's two-thirds of our membership."

Asked what impact the legal advice from the council had on the club on Monday, Mr Jones replied: "The course is dead. We would probably have about 150 people playing today, on a normal Monday. I saw two people on the course and that was it.

"It's sad. It was nice and sunny and the bookings were full to play. We have waited three months and people were desperate for a game. It's just nuts."

The situation mirrors confusion last summer when local pubs yards apart faced differing regulations on reopening.

Before the Welsh government clarified rules around access to the course, a spokesperson for Powys council said: "We understand the frustrations that Llanymynech Golf Club are currently experiencing and are working with them to find a workable solution.

"However, the Welsh government currently have travel restrictions in place which means travel into and out of Wales is not permitted unless you have a reasonable excuse.

"The council has provided advice to Llanymynech Golf Club on what the latest restrictions are following the Welsh government's announcement at the end of last week. Travel restrictions can only be enforced by the police."

'Ludicrous'

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson said the situation surrounding the club was ludicrous.

The Conservative MP tweeted: "Ludicrous statements from the Labour administration in Wales. They say Shropshire people can't attend cross-border Llanymynech Golf Club, yet people in Wales can cross to the club's entrance in Shropshire!

"My constituents should be free to enjoy safe exercise and fresh air today."

In a statement issued on Monday, a Welsh government spokesman said: "It would be reasonable for members of Llanymynech Golf Club to enter or leave Wales within the confines of the golf course."

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