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UK golf courses are 'under threat due to climate change'

By Emily Beament

Wetter winters and coastal erosion linked to climate change are threatening the future of golf, a report backed by the sport's UK governing body has warned.

Golf is facing an increase in unplayable holes, winter course closures and disruption to professional tournaments due to increased rainfall, while rising sea levels could jeopardise all the world's coastal courses by 2100.

Cricket is also facing "disruption at every level" of the game as a result of wetter winters and more intense summer downpours driven by climate change, the Climate Coalition said.

UK football is also affected, particularly at grassroots level, by adverse weather, while the Scottish skiing industry could collapse within 50 years as winters become too mild for regular snowfall.

Extreme weather is made worse by climate change, causing more golf course closures, while wetter, warmer autumns and winters cause damage and disease to grass and greens, the report said.

One in six Scottish golf courses are on the coast, where they are at risk of erosion due to rising sea levels caused by melting glaciers and oceans expanding as they warm. Montrose Golf Links, one of the oldest courses in the world, has seen the North Sea advance 70 metres towards the course in the last 30 years, forcing some holes to be realigned and some abandoned.

Steve Isaac, director of golf course management at the R&A, said: "There is no question it is becoming a huge factor.

"I believe golf is more impacted by climate change than any other sport aside from skiing.

"We are feeling it now with increases in unplayable holes, winter course closures and disruption to professional tournaments.

"And the future threats are very real."

Bad weather cost the England and Wales Cricket Board £1 million in emergency grants during 2016 and 2017.

The Premier League and Sport England also made £750,000 available to support football clubs affected by flooding in 2015/2016.

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