Update to the members of Church Stretton Golf Club

Please see below a further update on the background and actions taken by the Club’s Management Committee to find a solution to the very unwelcome problems caused by Jonathan Gidney (JG) and Robert Donaldson (RD) to the Club and its members, which have been ongoing since 2015.


Despite Jonathan Gidney’s unsubstantiated claims that he is an Honorary Life Member of Church Stretton Golf Club (CSGC), he is not. Considerable Club archive research undertaken last year proved that there was no basis for his claim. 

As you may be aware, all HLM’s are members who are proposed, seconded and voted for at AGMs, generally following many decades of loyal service to the Club, often serving in multiple roles on the Management Committee such as President, Captain, Treasurer and Secretary etc. HLM’s are not given solely to CSGC players who represent their Club, County or Country.

At the well attended 2023 AGM, a motion was passed which reaffirmed the names of the current four living HLM’s and JG’s name was not one of these. 

There is now an honours board in the Clubhouse which contains the names of the four current HLMs.  During the nine years of JG’s dispute with CSGC he has not provided any documentary evidence to the Club to support his HLM claim, despite being asked to do so on numerous occasions.

In July 2016, the Management Committee of CSGC terminated JG’s role as a Marketing Consultant to the Club, withdrew his “courtesy of the course” and banned him for three years, as the relationship between JG and Club had irretrievably broken down.

This action resulted in JG making an employment tribunal claim against the Club and as part of a subsequent no-liability settlement agreement with the Club’s insurers in 2017, JG agreed and signed to accept a ban until July 2019. 

When this ban ended in July 2019, JG resumed playing at CSGC, but refused to pay a green fee, as he claimed that he was an HLM. Following repeated challenges made by Club officials whenever JG played at CSGC, JG started sending the Club a significant amount of vexatious correspondence and launched an extremely negative social media campaign against CSGC and some of its committee members.

Consequently, in June 2021, JG received a letter from the Club’s solicitors informing him that he was re-banned from CSGC, but this time indefinitely.  The 2021 ban was not, in any way connected to the issues regarding JG’s earlier ban and the no-liability settlement agreement.

During the past six-months, CSGC, as advised by England Golf and SHUGC, have tried to encourage JG to enter into mediation with CSGC, using professional mediators suggested by England Golf, with the costs of mediation being equally shared between both parties. 

To date, JG has not accepted this offer, instead, he has indicated that he may agree to mediation from a third-party who would not charge for their services.  As a result, CSGC have ceased to acknowledge or respond to any further correspondence from JG, unless it is to accept the Club’s mediation offer of using any of the professional mediators suggested by England Golf.

JG is now occasionally playing golf at CSGC and insisting he is not banned. Although he has not withdrawn his unsubstantiated claim to be an HLM, he sometimes offers to pay a green fee, which is not acceptable to the Club as he is banned. These visits are taking their toll on CSGC’s Professional, the Management Committee and many Club members, who are fed-up with JG’s continual attempts to agitate and incite whilst banned from CSGC.

As a result, CSGC’s Management Committee has asked its officials and members not to challenge JG when he plays golf at CSGC, as JG’s inciteful behaviour is having a detrimental effect on their health. JG is deliberately targeting certain CSGC officials and members.

In response to JG’s continued playing on the course and the flaunting of his indefinite ban, the Club has a number of ongoing initiatives and actions.

Actions – In response to the above points:

1.      A possible withdrawal of the Club’s current offer of mediation using professional mediators suggested by England Golf, with the costs of mediation being equally shared between both parties. This offer has now been available to JG for nearly six months and at some point in the future it may be withdrawn leaving JG without a possible way back to playing authorised golf at CSGC.

2.      Following recent specific targeting of Club officials and members by JG and RD, the Police were contacted and advised the Club to look at legally enforceable measures to prevent JG and RD from playing golf at CSGC. This is on-going.

3.      As JG is now a member of another golf club in Shropshire. CSGC have contacted this Club to make them aware that one of their members is playing at CSGC whilst he is indefinitely banned. This club has also been made aware that JG is deliberately targeting Board Directors, the Club’s Professional and certain members in a vexatious social media campaign.  This issue was also raised at a recent general meeting of the Shropshire and Herefordshire Union of Golf Clubs (SHUGC), when all of the Clubs’ present were informed that the inciteful and malicious behaviour of an anonymised individual is bringing CSGC, his home Club, SHUGC and the game of golf into disrepute.

4.      SHUGC have been very supportive of CSGC’s position and in addition to their current ban which prevents JG playing in any of their competitions, are contemplating other initiatives.

5.      The Club is currently reviewing its security and membership arrangements to help prevent unauthorised players from playing at CSGC. More details of this will follow in due course.

6.      Greater use of the Club’s website and social media sites to ensure that members and the general public are accurately informed of the problems caused by JG / RD and the possible impact on them should they encounter these two individuals at CSGC.

7.      The Club is reviewing its approach to individuals who trespass on land that it owns. Please note, this does not include any land owned by the National Trust.

The Management Committee will continue to update on the progress of the above actions and may call an EGM to further inform members and involve them in key decisions going forward.

CSGC Management Committee, June 2024