Traveller’s set up camp on the 17th hole

Travellers have set up on Ganton's historic golf course.
Travellers have set up on Ganton's historic golf course.

Travellers have invaded the 17th hole of Ganton Golf Club.

The championship club’s fairway has been turned into a makeshift campsite ahead of next week’s Seamer Horse Fair.

Quad bikes have been raced up and down the luscious grass, with reports of fairway fires.

Bunkers are even being used as children’s sandpits, with the lengthy par three left a “mess”.

Fed-up golfers have been forced to cut their rounds short to avoid clashing with travellers - and the upmarket club admit they are currently powerless to act.

“We tried to politely ask them to leave but they refused,” said secretary Richard Penley-Martin.

There’s nothing we can do

Richard Penley-Martin

“But they can just turn up and camp, that’s the law and in the short term there’s nothing we can do.

“It’s just a bit annoying when we have no power to do anything.”

The convoy arrived on Wednesday, with the club closing both the 17th and 18th holes since then.

Mr Penley-Martin said in previous years passing travellers “had always played ball” when coming through Ganton.

“We still give them bin bags so they can tidy up,” he added.

“They’ve always respected us and we have respected them.”

But despite the club contacting the police and council, the travellers are now spending their third day on the course - which can cost upwards of £100 per round to play on.

“I wish my green fees were that cheap,” joked one of the club’s 550 members.

“But of course it’s annoying, people pay a lot for the privilege of playing here and we can’t get a full round in.

“We don’t want to go near to the site as if somebody says the wrong thing, it could kick off.”

The Seamer site is being prepared today ahead of it opening at 5am tomorrow morning for the travellers, ahead of Tuesday’s fair.

Golf experts have dubbed Ganton’s course a “shrine” for the sport, and legend Harry Vardon was the club’s pro when he won the first three of his six Open Championships at the start of the 20th century.

The Scarborough News was not given permission to enter the private course to speak to the travellers.