The older members at Highwoods are in revolt following a move to change the membership status of over-70s.

Seniors at the Bexhill club were angered to receive a letter from secretary Lawrence Dennis-Smithers on behalf of the board asking them to make way for younger golfers on the waiting list.

None of the complainants agreed to give their names but I understand feelings are running high and they are prepared for a long fight.

One insider said: "What a cheek. I feel insulted and so do others like me. It is a disgraceful example of ageism. We shall not take this lying down and our feelings will be expressed in November when the directors come up for re-election."

There are 650 members in all categories and the top whack sub is around £500. What the board proposes is set out in the following letter:

"Dear Member, "I am writing to all full members (gentlemen and ladies) over the age of 70 asking if they would consider transferring from full member status to restricted membership to free up weekend golfing places for those on the full member waiting list.

"We have a considerable number of new members who have joined the club in the last two years who are waiting for a vacancy in full membership.

"The majority are working people who find it difficult to play Monday to Friday.

"Please give consideration as to whether you would be prepared to transfer from full playing status to restricted membership. As a restricted member you would still have the entitlement to play at weekends by paying the £8 reduced green fee. Any gentlemen so doing may enter weekend competitions subject to certain restrictions.

"The saving in subscription is only a modest £50 or so. However, if you could manage your golf on a Monday to Friday basis with the odd round at weekends then please give some consideration to this request.

"Those willing to transfer to restricted lose none of the privileges of membership or voting rights, except the entitlement to play for free at weekends. "If you are willing to transfer from full to restricted membership please complete the form below and return it to the club office by Friday, 22nd March."

The outraged seniors point out that the proposed reduction of £50 represents just six rounds at a reduced green fee. They see the move as one which pushes aside and claim that a number of young members don't play at weekends.

Dennis-Smithers said 105 letters had been sent to members over 70 and yesterday there had been nine responses, all in favour of the proposals.

"I have had one reply from a lady who said she felt insulted, but so far the reaction to what I feel was a friendly, informal sort of letter, has been positive.

"We have about 40 on the waiting list for full member status who work five days a week. Something needed to be done.

"Some older members who replied said they didn't play at weekends anyway and had no objection to taking restricted membership."