Golf club may be forced to close if it dares to open on Sundays

Golf club may be forced to close if it dares to open on Sundays June 25, 2019

A GOLF club is at the centre of a row on the Isle of Lewis, a bastion of sabbatarianism where, until relatively recently, riding a bicycle on a Sunday – even to church – would provoke horror.

Since those days, Lewis, despite the best efforts of the Free Presbyterian Church and nutty outfits like the Lord’s Day Observation Society, has experienced a tiny measure of modernisation – like allowing a gas station to open on Sundays.

But this loosening of the rule does not extend to playing golf on the sabbath.

According to the BBC, an organisation called The Stornoway Trust, which owns the land on which Stornoway Golf Club has operated since 1890, has threatened to terminate the club’s lease if it opens on the sabbath.

The row was sparked when the club’s members unanimously gave their support to calls to allow golf to be played seven days a week.

Iain MacIver, second from left, with three members of the Stornoway Trust. Image via Facebook.

Iain MacIver, who has the role of “factor” for the trust, said:

This matter has been ongoing for some time and it needs to be resolved.  At the moment our agreement goes from year to year, but the trustees felt this is unacceptable.

We have given them [the club] until the end of the year to agree to the lease or we will have to seek alternative arrangements for the use of the land.

Eight years ago, the club won a legal fight to secure a drinks licence to sell alcohol on Sundays.

Lewis is no stranger to sabbath rows. In 2017 a businesswoman was asked to close her shop on Sundays to:

Protect the traditional custom of honouring the Sabbath.

Tweed Tastic proprietor Leona Rawlinson was sent an unsolicited Bible, accompanied by a letter sent from Dan MacPhail, Secretary of Day One/Lord’s Day Observance Society.

The letter said:

The purpose of our letter is certainly not to intimidate you into closing on Sunday …  nor are we aware of any organized campaign in relation to this matter. However, it is a sincere and humble request that you consider closing the shop on the Lord’s Day.

The letter continued:

We are concerned for the spiritual and eternal as well as temporal consequences of such actions of Sunday opening and do not believe that lasting blessing or profit will follow. Indeed, we are aware of many Christians expressing disappointment that such an interesting shop as Tweed Tastic is trading on Sundays and that solely because of this they are refusing to give of their patronage.

Leona Rawlinson’s decision to open her shop on Sundays was backed by the National Secular Society (NSS), which also supported calls for a leisure centre on Lewis to be open on Sundays.

In a statement, the NSS said Ms Rawlinson was:

Simply serving the general public and doing nothing wrong.

Offering advice to visitors to Lewis this site says:

Sundays are a very special day on both the Isle of Lewis and Harris, in that virtually all commercial activity ceases and a large proportion of the population attends church.

The visitor can find the restrictions on Sunday hard to adjust to, particularly if not a churchgoer. There’s no reason for Sundays to have an adverse effect on your holiday if you plan ahead by following some of the points below:

At the time of writing, the only place to buy fuel on a Sunday is at Engebret’s Garage in Stornoway. (Close to the Council buildings and on the road leading to the airport).

A limited ferry service now operates on a Sunday between North Uist and Harris (Air services also operate)

As of 20th July 2009, there is a Sunday ferry service between Ullapool and Stornoway.

Some bed and breakfasts do not take visitors on a Sunday and so care must be taken to ask the right questions when booking.

Most toilets in public parks are closed, or, in some cases the parks themselves. (Toilet in centre of Stornoway open).

Sports activities, museums and swimming pools are closed.

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  • epeeist

    It’s a long time ago and I can’t find the link, but I seem to recall that one of the churches on Lewis used to close its website on Sundays.

    It would be interesting to know how many on Lewis buy electrical appliances with a “Sabbath mode”…

  • adhoc

    Sounds like a nice place to visit… and a better place to rob. “So you all are at church on Sunday at 10am..?”

  • Illithid

    But where would you fence a bolt of tweed or a butter churn?

  • Zetopan

    Back to that same town!

  • Zetopan

    These morons don’t even know that the Sabbath is on the *last* day of the week and not the *first* day.**

    **As if that would make any difference to magical fables.

  • Jim Jones

    Sunday was copied from Sol Invictus. Jesus would have celebrated Saturday for magic rest day.

  • Mark in Ohio

    I guess I’d be inclined to reply to their request to be closed on Sunday with a reply agreeing but that the lease should be reduced by 1/7 to compensate for the reduced business time.

  • Broga

    No child sexual abuse there amongst the believers? No sex outside marriage? If so, they need to get a team of anthropologists with psychiatric qualifications to study them because this phenomenon is a first. A marvel such as this suggests a “chosen people.” The Jews may have to share the top spot.

  • rubaxter

    Wow, the Isle of Alabama is discovered even after Google Earth missed it?!

  • rubaxter

    The Children of the Corn would all know who it was because of the empty pew spot, though, and you’d never get away before the portcullis was dropped FOR THE ENTIRE ISLAND.

  • Martin Penwald

    So… They are in church ALL day?

  • thatotherjean

    I think I’ll take my tourist dollars elsewhere, thanks. That sounds like a version of Hell for non-hardcore Christians, albeit a scenic version.

  • Broga

    Are they different from the Wee Frees, another group up in the islands trying to force their opinions on the rest of the population? They, or some outfit like them, tried to stop the Caledonian McBrayne ferry, which we have used many times, operating on Sundays.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Yup. As would all Jews. I mean it does say the Seventh day, not first.
    I think I see a problem with the “biblical math” possibly used in creation “science”.

    And god said not to add to or subtract from his word.
    So who’s right? Jehovah’s Witnesses (they honor SaturNday as the Sabbath)? Or the Sunday Sabbath Christians?
    What’s the official word of this “Christian Nation”?

    The “Umbrella Coverage”:
    Well, each individual Christian has their own personal pathway to god and their journey is tailored for them.
    Or something like that.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Slight disagreement.

    What does make a difference is character, fiction/myth or not.
    Say you’r playing a board game, and you get to change a/the rule(s) you demand everyone else follow. Especially if violation of that rule is “death” (of the player/character in the game).

    Does it matter if the D&D/Pokemon/Monopoly racecar characters a fictional?

    What matters, to me, is that you tried to get an advantage for yourself that you would deny me. On top of which, in this case, you say I deserve to be condemned for violating the rule the “authority” has “graciously” let you violate.

    Ultimately, it comes down to Authority:
    I’m a non-believer that’s ready to turn my life around and finally get in on some of that good loving god I been hearing so much about.

    WHICH brand of Christianity is “right”? Baptists? Catholics? Mormons? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Coptics? Episcopalian? Presbyterian?
    Once I get the right brand, I’m sure finding the right “franchise” will be a snap.

    I mean, if I follow god the “wrong” way, I’ll be in the same situation (destined to eternal suffering) I’m in now, but with considerably more effort on my part, with all the praising and tithing. Don’t forget the tithing; can’t be a “prayer warrior” without it.

    So I don’t want to waste my time, loving god the wrong way.

    So is the Sabbath Saturday or Sunday?

  • If I want to go somewhere quaint and backwards like that, I can just go a wee bit north to Lynden.

  • Freethinker

    I can relate. All of my musical appliances have a Black Sabbath mode.

  • Badjumbly

    Christians who notice what other people are doing on Sundays clearly aren’t focusing sufficiently on God.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Precisely my point. My post was a big /Sarcasm
    I’m a non-believer. That’s true.
    I’m ready to turn my life around, and “accept Jesus”..
    That’s completely false.

    I was playing out a scenario of the Christians wish list, “conversion/save souls”. Of course, the Christian that “won someone over” will assume their argument was so persuasive that the new convert will automatically choose that brand.

    And yes, there are literally thousands of different brands. I just named a few to make a point. But you assertions on my understatement of the options is true.
    Also, I could choose none of the options, and start my own, as you’ve stated is happening.

    And yes, most of the absurdities you point out seem obvious to me, but maybe I’m just not getting it. As you state, god seems afflicted with petty human emotions. Why is he (the all-powerful being) jealous? Doesn’t make sense to me.

    One of the narratives I love is “You just don’t know enough. If you knew more you’d believe.” Too funny. I also don’t be in Santa Claus. Maybe it’s because I haven’t spent time gathering enough information on Santa. If only I knew more…

  • Neko

    No, it’s because Christians believed Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday.

  • 24CaratHooligan

    Over 40 years ago my father was told in no uncertain terms that if he (a baptist) tried to preach on Lewis he would be arrested…

  • persephone

    I’m sure the women are still expected to cook and clean, just like any other day.

  • rubaxter

    I have a choice of the entire US Gulf States coast and SC!

    GA is there, but it at least has Atlanta.

  • anne marie hovgaard

    Not sure about butter churns, but a bolt of good quality tweed is worth a lot of money, and not that hard to sell! I’ll take it off your hands if you’re having trouble 😉

  • Freethinker

    The ‘days’ of creation conversation is one of the more entertaining aspects of logical queries to ask the true believers. The question to pose is simple:

    Since God created the Sun on the 4th day….what made the first 3 days…”days”? Think about it. Take all of the time you need.

  • Freethinker
  • John Norris

    I am a member of Clan MacLeod Society USA and up until right now I wanted to visit the islands.