Golfers may have to swap tees for tea

SOME Suffolk golfers may have to swap their tees for tea instead of their usual tipple when new legislation comes into play later this year.The 19th hole has long been a popular spot after a hard time out on the course.

SOME Suffolk golfers may have to swap their tees for tea instead of their usual tipple when new legislation comes into play later this year.

The 19th hole has long been a popular spot after a hard time out on the course.

It is a place to celebrate a winning putt or drown your sorrows after a disastrous round thrashing around in the rough.

But changes to the licensing laws could mean some golfers will no longer be able to enjoy an alcoholic tipple at the end of their round.


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The Government is expected to introduce new laws before the end of the year as part of a major overhaul of the Licensing Act 1964.

Currently, private members clubs, such as golf clubs, enjoy a privileged status that allows them to supply alcohol to visiting members of the public, as well as club members and their guests.

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But it is feared the new legislation will mean that visiting golfers will no longer be able to have alcoholic drinks in the clubhouse.

Neill Ellice, general manager of Ipswich golf club, said: "It will prevent several categories of golfers from being allowed alcohol.

"The main problem is that this is a sweeping piece of legislation. It's a very complex piece of legislation and it hasn't been thought through properly.

"The whole thing is totally unsatisfactory. As it stands at the moment, it will be totally unworkable for private members clubs."

Mr Ellice said his club, like many others across the country, will be writing to its local MP to lobby for a change in the law.

Mike Shaw, of the National Golf Clubs' Advisory Association, said the Government was intent on being a killjoy by outlawing the traditional and hospitable part of golf.

"More than three million people regularly play golf in the UK and trying out new courses is core to the golf ethos," he said.

"If the Government succeeds, golf will never be the same sociable activity it has always been."

Bob Tawell, secretary manager of Rushmere golf club, said: "The new laws are going to affect golf clubs more than any other sports clubs, because we allow non-members to come in and have drinks.

"Other sporting clubs are often restricted entirely to members.

"I feel the law is totally wrong, and we will be writing to our MP to complain."

N Will you be affected by the new legislation? What do you think about it? We would like to hear from you. Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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