By: Alison Root
This time last week Women & Golf recapped on the story of Lowri Roberts and her quest to be allowed access to tee times to play competitively on the same course as the men on Saturday mornings at Cottrell Park Golf Resort on the outskirts of Cardiff. For the story so far, see the link below, however, a lot has changed in a week …
Roberts was delighted to receive a communication from Cottrell Park Limited informing her that the outcome of the vote at last week’s EGM did not affect the 1998 bylaw that allows lady members to play during the men’s Saturday competition. Consequently, the bylaw will be observed until such time that it is either removed or amended in accordance with Cottrell Park Members Association constitution.
However, within a short period of time, Lowri’s happiness turned to despair once again, as granting her access to the Saturday morning tee time slots that she so desires came with conditions. Cottrell Park Limited believed some of her previous public statements are libellous and asked her to publicly withdraw some comments by a given deadline; otherwise a formal disciplinary procedure would begin. After seeking legal advice, Roberts declined to do so and now her membership has been suspended so that the disciplinary procedure can be followed.
This is not an isolated case and golf clubs across the country should take heed. Roberts doesn’t know what the future holds for her at Cottrell Park, but said:
“Talking about this issue will help women to understand their rights at other golf clubs. If I don’t stand up for what I believe to be fair and right now, other girls and ladies who play golf may have to go through the same terrible experiences.”
The issue was even raised in parliament on Thursday by Kevin Brennan MP:
“Can we debate the discrimination against women in golf clubs? My constituent Lowri Roberts wanted to play golf on a Saturday and was banned from doing so because she was a woman and when she complained in the media she was actually suspended from the Cottrell Park golf course in the Vale of Glamorgan. Isn’t that an absolute disgrace in this day and age?”
David Johns-Powell, Managing Director of Cottrell Park Ltd, responded to the statement saying:
“Lady members of the resort can play both of the resort’s golf courses at any time including Saturday. And when an event or competition is held on one course the other course is available for lady members to play.
Lowri Roberts is subject to the resort’s formal disciplinary procedure because it is alleged that she has made false and disingenuous public statements that have caused reputational damage to the resort. You will appreciate that I cannot make further public comments until the resort’s formal disciplinary procedure has been concluded.”
Mr Johns-Powell’s statement maybe true now, given the 1998 bylaw that has been reintroduced after plenty of toing and froing due to Lowri’s tenacity, but for the time being, it’s a little too late in the day for her as she seeks further legal advice.
“The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Legal Principal in Wales is considering my concerns and will be contacting Cottrell Park Golf Club on my behalf. I am hopeful that matters will be resolved to my full satisfaction soon so I can get back to continue playing golf at the club where I have been a full paying member since April 2014. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the body mandated by parliament to challenge discrimination and the Commission protects people against discriminatory practices and has a range of powers to do so."
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