Scottish Golf Courses

UK golf clubs are under serious ‘threat’ from coastal erosion

Open venues such as St Andrews and Royal Troon could be under water by the end of the century

Open venues such as St Andrews and Royal Troon could be under water by the end of the century 

Serious concerns are being raised about the future of some of the oldest links courses in Great Britain and Ireland, including a number of Open venues.

The Climate Coalition report said that venues such as St Andrews and Royal Troon could be under water by the end of the century unless something drastic was done.

The report comes on the back of Storm Eleanor ripping some 49ft of land away from behind the eighth tee at the Royal North Devon Golf Club in Westward Ho!

The 154-year-old club is now hoping that high tides do not combine with poor weather conditions, which could cause further problems.

The 450-year-old Montrose Golf Links, in Scotland, has already had to make alterations to the opening holes on its Medal Course. Now there are fears that unless funding is granted to protect the 36-hole venue, some holes could be lost entirely as a redesign moving the course dramatically inland would be required.

“As the sea rises and the coast falls away, we’re left with nowhere to go,” said Chris Curnin, financial director at Montrose Golf Links Limited.

“Climate change is often seen as tomorrow’s problem, but it’s already eating away at our course. In a perfect storm we could lose five to ten metres over just a couple of days and that could happen at pretty much any point.”

At the moment, the rate of erosion works out at an average of 1.5 metres per year.

Meanwhile, work is also due to get underway later this year to combat the impact of coastal erosion at North Berwick Golf Club in East Lothian. The club is working with EnviroCentre Ltd with the aim of the project ‘to improve the resilience of the existing coastal defences along the course with the proposed designs following the principle of minimal intervention’.

A planning application and accompanying Environmental Impact Assessment was submitted by EnviroCentre to East Lothian Council in August 2017.

A club spokesperson said: “These designs include reinstatement of the timber revetment and rock armour at the second hole,  stabilisation of the main access points along the coastline through use of geotextile  matting to mitigate against further erosion, planting of marram grass at various locations along the coastline and installation of geotextile sand containers to protect the dune at the 11th hole.”

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