Saturday, May 19, 2007

Golf club un-bans Germans

A golf club was rewriting its rulebook today after discovering it had banned Germans and Austrians from using its course.

Filton Golf Club, near Bristol, introduced the law 88 years ago, after nine of its club members died serving their country during the First World War. According to the official rules, drawn up in 1919: "No person of German or Austrian extraction, whether naturalised or not should be allowed in the clubhouse or on the course."

The restriction had been long-forgotten - until files were unearthed by researcher Alan Barclay, who had been trawling through the club's history archives. After the discovery, members unanimously backed a motion to axe the rule at their latest AGM last week.

Mr Barclay, 66, who was today organising a charity golf event, told the Western Daily Press: "Germans and Austrians have played here but not 'legally' - until now. Now they are officially welcome."

He added: "I was absolutely astounded. I thought 'my goodness'. I was just as amazed really to find that nobody ever came up and said 'we have got to rescind that'. It just sat there for 88 years."

"There could have been some naturalised people who were affected, but there is no way of knowing whether that happened."

The club has at least one German member and older members recall musicians from James Last's German orchestra using the course while they were performing in Bristol.

The decision to rescind the rule was welcomed by Second World War veteran Leonard Scott, 83, who has been a member at the golf club since 1961.

Mr Scott, who lives in Brislington, Bristol, said: "Live and let live. We have got enough problems with one thing or another without this being a thorn.

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