EXCLUSIVE

"Concerned" golf organisations react to Prince Andrew scandal

Prince Andrew

The Golf Foundation has responded to the controversy surrounding Prince Andrew by saying it is "monitoring the situation closely".

The Duke of York, who stepped down from royal duties for the foreseeable future earlier this week over his part in the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal, is a patron of the junior golf charity.

It is one of 27 golf clubs, societies and organisations of which the eighth in line to the throne is a patron. 

Despite the controversy surrounding the Duke and, in spite of numerous other businesses and charities cutting ties with the Duke, he has, to date, lost none of his golf patronages.

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This morning, bunkered.co.uk reached out to all 27 golf businesses with which he has an official link to establish what action - if any - they intend to take as regards their continued association with the disgraced royal.

At the time of writing, only nine have replied.

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One of those was the Golf Foundation. It is described on the Duke's own website as "a charity dedicated to the development of playing and the expansion of personal skills amongst all young people, regardless of their background or circumstances, through school and community projects."

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In a statement provided to bunkered.co.uk, it said: "HRH the Duke of York has been a valued patron of this charity and a supporter of golf. We are monitoring the situation closely and will discuss it with the Stakeholders we serve and our Board of Trustees.”

Open Championship host venues Royal Portrush and Royal Liverpool also responded.

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A spokesperson for Royal Portrush, the host venue of this year's Open, said: “The allegations surrounding Prince Andrew, and especially the trauma and distress suffered by the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, is a matter of deep regret.

"Royal Portrush will continue to monitor the ongoing investigative process. There are no scheduled plans for him to return to the club.

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"The council of Royal Portrush is acutely aware of the widespread public concern about these allegations, and Prince Andrew’s decision to step away from public duties will be discussed at our next meeting.”

Similarly, a spokesperson for Royal Liverpool said: "We understand the Duke of York is stepping back from public duties for the foreseeable future and, accordingly, Royal Liverpool golf Club will not call upon him to engage in an activity on its behalf. The Club will continue to monitor events."

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A spokesman for Royal Winchester Golf Club ruled out the prospect of cutting ties with Prince Andrew, saying: "The club will continue to monitor the situation [but] has no plans, at this time, to revoke HRH The Duke of York's Patronage."

Royal Perth Golfing Society, one of the oldest golf clubs in the world, replied to say that they are "concerned by recent events and are monitoring the situation.”

Sunningdale Heath Golf Club, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and Royal County Down Golf Club all replied but only to say that they have no comment to make at this time. 

Another organisation of which the Duke is a patron requested that its name be withheld from this report but was prepared to say that it intends to have an internal discussion about the controversy at the next available opportunity.

Another club, Royal Montrose, is listed on the Duke's website but it merged with Montrose Mercantile Golf Club on November 1 this year. As such, the newly-formed Royal Montrose Mercantile Golf Club does not have any patrons.

Additional content:

Since this story went live, Royal Norwich Golf Club has contacted us to say the following: "We are currently in dialogue with the Palace regarding Prince Andrew's patronage of the organisation as we recognise his decision to step back from public life and the seriousness of the wider issues surrounding recent events."

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