Glancy debate heats up

The row over the Glancy Trophy took another twist after it was revealed that this year's competition may have breached the Equality Act.

Last week we reported how the future of the premier Jewish golf competition was in danger because of the subject of exclusivity.

Now, Godfrey King, a long-standing member of Coombe Hill and Glancy veteran, has stepped forward, in person and not on behalf of his club, explaining why his club was one of a handful to boycott the event. And he believes that the blame lies solely at the feet of the Association of Jewish Golf Clubs and Societies, who organise the competition.

King said: "The Association needs to change its criteria of who can play in the tournament to Jewish golfers or golf societies rather than just keep it open to a Jew who is a member of a club."

The new Equality Act was published in 2010. King said: "Everyone has known about it for a long time and Coombe Hill took advice from a barrister who suggested that it could be against the Act to continue the competition in its present form. Many other clubs took advice and I understand that the Association also took advice."

Coombe Hill were originally scheduled to host this year's Glancy, but having taken advice, withdrew their invitation and declined to participate in the event as indeed did many other clubs. Hartsbourne went on to host the competition and retain the trophy for the fourth consecutive year.

King went on to say: "Under the Equality Act, Harsbourne and the Association of Jewish Golf Clubs and Societies could be taken to court as they have restricted the members of their golf clubs which is against the law. Every club with male and female members has had to change its rules."

"King has been a member of Coombe Hill for 48 years and is a former captain of the club.

He has played in the Glancy for 28 years including 23 years consecutively.

"As a human being, I have absolutely no problem with the Glancy being a Jewish-only competition," King said.

"The objection that I and hundreds of others have had for many years is that a golf club cannot allow only Jewish golfers to take part.

"The conclusion is very simple. The Association has to disband and change its rules and constitution so that Societies and individuals can play in the competition but you cannot have a golf club where only a certain amount of its players can play as is decreed under the equalities act."

King believes that the Association has dealt with the situation badly. "The Association is a very narrow-minded body," he said. "It is encouraging people to play in a tournament which may be illegal."

Clive Leveson was elected President of the Association on the eve of the competition. A member of Dunham Forest, he played for the Society of Past Captains after his club chose not to participate.

He said: "We took legal counsel and the advice we received was that it was safe to continue the competition so that's what we did.

"Every club has a free choice. The clubs who did not participate fear that the entry rules might be open to litigation but members of certain club formed societies.

"Given the success of this year's event, we're hopeful that several clubs will return next year."

Next year's Glancy Trophy is scheduled to take place at Whitefield Golf Club in Manchester on the first weekend in July.

    Last updated: 2:56pm, July 28 2011