Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Golf grant in bunker over Sabbath

Isle of Harris Golf Course
The club has 700 life members from across the world

A golf course in the Western Isles may be denied a 75,000 grant because it does not want to open on a Sunday.

The Isle of Harris Golf Club applied to SportScotland for cash to improve the course, which has been played by golfing stars such as Nick Faldo.

But the bid may fail due to equality laws, which conflict with observance of the Sabbath by demanding the widest possible access to facilities.

The agency said no decision had been made and it was willing to compromise.

Honesty box

Chair of Sportscotland Louise Martin said she hoped to reach an arrangement that would recognise local traditions.

She said: "Sportscotland is mindful of the views and traditions held by many in parts of the Western Isles regarding the opening of sports facilities on Sundays.

"However, Sportscotland also has responsibilities under the 2006 Equality legislation to ensure that anything it funds is accessible to all, wherever possible, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marital/civil partnership status or social background.

"Sportscotland is in ongoing dialogue with the club to see if a compromise can be reached, which recognises the traditions of a 'rest' day on a Sunday for staff, but still allows members and visitors wishing to play access to the course through local management arrangements, eg: an honesty box."

The club on Harris has 700 life members from all over the world.

Willie Fulton, a member of the development committee, said the club applied for the grant to allow it to develop and maintain the course.

He said opening on the Sabbath would be a betrayal of the island's way of life.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, he said: "For example the local minister in the church and the local crofters were heavily involved in helping us at the land buyout in order to buy the land that now constitutes the golf course.

"Now irrespective of Sabbatarian issues or whatever, we would have difficulty in a sense, as it would be a betrayal to the community if we went back on our, certainly it was an unwritten, promise that we wouldn't open on a Sunday."

He said the community would favour the status quo.

He said: "The course and the club has functioned perfectly well, in fact we've had compliments from life members and so on on the fact we adhere to this policy.

"And indeed being so popular, there is some kind of argument for 'resting' the course, it being a small nine-hole course, for a day to allow the greens and so-on to recover."

Sportscotland considers grants to clubs and sporting organisations on a case-by-case basis throughout the year.

Print Sponsor

Sabbath sailing decision delayed
21 Jan 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Funding boost for sporting legacy
19 Dec 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Legal action poser on Sunday golf
15 Apr 08 |  Highlands and Islands

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific