Improving golf’s environmental record

Sea-level rise poses the biggest long-term threat to golf.

when additional investment into course maintenance and infrastructure is required to combat the effects of extreme weather. It can trap clubs in a vicious cycle that isn’t their fault and it could potentially be a factor in membership decline.” Such disruption has seen more courses

closed more often and for longer periods of time. The years 2016/17 saw as much as 20 per

cent less playing time at courses across the Greater Glasgow area than 2006/7. Montrose is one of the oldest golf courses in

the world. Research published in 2016 by Dundee University showed that the North Sea has crept 70 metres towards Montrose within the last 30 years posing a costly threat to the iconic Montrose Links. “As the sea rises and the coast falls away,

The R&A, the European Tour, Scottish Golf, the GEO Foundation and the STRI have developed initiatives to equip golf courses to adapt to the impacts of climate change and help the sport become more sustainable.

Through the Green Links programme, the R&A aims to make The Open Championship one of the world’s most sustainable sporting events. The programme involves venues meeting a set of criteria across the categories of nature, water, energy, supply chain, pollution control and community, while working with ecology experts to enhance the habitat for wildlife. These criteria are assessed under the GEO Certified® scheme, administered by the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) and all 10 Open Championship venues have now achieved GEO Certified.

we’re left with nowhere to go. Last year we reached a critical point, the rock armour protecting our second tee and first green was no longer sufficient and we were in real danger of losing them,” says Chris Curnin, director at Montrose Golf Links. “In a perfect storm we could lose 5-10 metres

over just a couple of days and that could happen at pretty much any point. It was decided along with help from Angus Council that we would sacrifice our third tee (which is one of the iconic holes) by moving the rocks from there to bolster the rocks at the second tee and first green. We are pinning our hopes on being included in the next round of funding for coastal protection.”


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