I have not played golf since I left school. But when ‘Brexiteers’ draw parallels between leaving a golf club and continuing to pay into the EU after Brexit, I am aware of a few points of good manners:
1, If you have been a member of a golf club, when you leave of course you don’t have to continue paying your membership fees. But you do have to pay any debts you have accrued, including your bar bill … and that includes the drinks you bought for others and put on your tab.
2, If you leave, you can’t keep your parking space, even if that may include the parking space for past presidents.
3, If you want to set up another golf club, you cannot expect to make up your own rules for a new game, still less expect to call it golf, and that you can then enter inter-club competitions with other golf clubs without playing by the old, accepted rules. You can’t say that even when everyone else plays by the rules they don’t apply to your new rules, and still claim you are a golf club.
4, If you still set up that new golf club, and you want to share the grounds of your old club, you have to respect the rules of the old club. And that includes not picking and choosing which greens you are going to play on, and not dictating when you want to use the car park and the 19th hole.
5, You have to extend the same courtesy to visiting players and members of other golf clubs as are going to be extended to your players and members when they visit the old club.
6, You still need to have good manners, and stop arrogantly claiming that your new club is, has been, and is always going to be better and snootier than all the other clubs in the neighbourhood. Wake up, it’s a long time since you were at school and could threaten other children with the trump card ‘My daddy’s a policeman.’
7, You need to remember that in the old golf club certain sorts of riff-raff were not allowed in … neo-Nazis, KKK members, BF members and other forms of low life. If your new friends like them, and keep tweeting about them, be wary about inviting them to cross the Atlantic to visit you when no-one else wants them, let alone would consider signing them in on the visitors’ book in the bar … where you still have to pay your bar bill.
8, Remember to clean out your locker when you are leaving, return anything that you got from other members, and don’t leave behind any dirt or rubbish for the remaining members to clean up. But also remember that you may quickly regret all the benefits of past membership, Interpol, Euratom, Erasmus, systems to protect minimum wages, children’s rights, women’s rights, educational and professional exchanges. You don’t see the place for them in a golf club? Wait till you stand on your own, all alone, ready to tee-off, and find you have no caddy, no-one to play with, and no prize for the winners at the end.