One of the areas synonymous with St. Andrews is the iconic golf course – known simply as the ‘Old Course’. Tourists long to see it, golfers long to play it, and once every half-decae, the world’s best golf players like Tiger Woods come and visit. Therefore, we have become accustomed to the golf course being a part of life, and a cultural symbol, for the St. Andrews area. But, according to a new report, one day, the Old Course might cease to be. Can you imagine the St. Andrews area without golf? Read on for more.
The Climate Coalition represents over 130 organisations in the United Kingdom that study climate change – and specifically the impact it has on the world. They have recently released a report entitled “Game Changer: How Climate Change is impacting Sports in the UK”. The report suggests that climate change will negatively effect a range of sports like football. And critically in this case – golf too will be affected. Climate change has long been an area of concern for the golf community. The suggestion is eventually St. Andrews would be no more.
So what data is used to make such a claim you ask? Well, when analysing the years with the heaviest rainfall in the United Kingdom, six of the seven highest have come since 2000. This doesn’t appear coincidental. Coastal golf courses are among the most at risk already – due to erosion. Erosion has an inevitable impact. The report used a case study – Montrose Links – to illustrate their point. Montrose Links has witnessed the North Sea moving 70m closer to the course in recent decades, suggests research from the University of Dundee.
Scotland boasts over 600 courses – with the report noting that over 100 of these are located on the coast. St. Andrews is among them – and is arguably the most iconic golf course in the world. The course is on the Open Championship rotation – a sign of its quality. It was also chosen as a farewell appearance for the sport’s most successful player – Jack Nicklaus. For golf fans – other well-known courses deemed to be at risk includes Royal Troon, Royal Liverpool (known colloquially as Hoylake), Royal Birkdale and Trump Turnberry.
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It is almost unimaginable to think of St. Andrews without the old golf course! This would certainly have a detrimental effect on the area. The golf course is commonly a tourist attraction and somewhere to visit for students. Fortunately, St. Andrews disappearing into the North Sea shouldn’t happen any time soon, but this report does illustrate the effect climate change will eventually have. We should ensure we enjoy this great course while we can. In the summer, you can play for £180 on the old course!