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Climate Change Threatens St. Andrews, Golf’s Birthplace

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ST. Andrews, Scotland — Weather-free is a rare golfer who can wash away round shots of distance and hunger shots.

But along the North Sea on the rough edge of Scotland, known for centuries as the birthplace of golf, the Greenkeepers of this era are afraid of far more horrifying predictions. In that nightmare, what they call the perfect storm, the ones that hit at high tide and stuff the easterly winds, can accelerate coastal erosion.

David Brown, 460-year-old General Manager of Montrose Golf Links, said:

“You’re really fighting the unknown,” he said. “We could go without that perfect storm for the next decade, and very easily one winter, that perfect storm could occur three times. How much land will you lose? “

Montrose, which the government estimates has lost tens of yards of coastline in the last few decades, is one of the most endangered of the approximately 600 courses in Scotland, six minutes of which. More than one is on the coast. But as a sign that global fame can’t provide that much in terms of safety, researchers have found that St Andrews, home of the world’s oldest course and host of the 150th British Open, We believe we are facing the greater threat of flooding for 30 years.

Scientists do not believe that the roadhole will be swallowed by the sea forever and the old course will soon be permanently submerged. However, golf had few options other than to begin considering its unique role in climate change. Especially through a vast, lush and thirsty course that replaces trees and requires fertilizer and mowing, confused by how to protect fairways and greens. In the world.

Scientists have warned for years that warmer planets, which can lead to more severe storms and rising sea levels, can change sports. Citing climate change, the president of the International Olympic Committee said the game organizers “may need to find out if an overall calendar and shifts are needed.” Winter sports are facing the future of snowmaking events, and activities such as dog sledding and fishing are changing in the Arctic.

Golf is no exception.

“Some of our most historic, famous and respected golf courses are at stake, which is something every coastal course needs to take seriously,” said some courses. A kind of turf reduction initiative that started in.

Golf’s long-standing support as Scotland’s cultural and economic Jaguar note makes this issue particularly urgent in the region, where the opening is scheduled to end on Sunday. In St Andrews Links alone, six public courses, including the Old Course, host about 230,000 rounds a year near West Sands, just a short walk from some of the world’s most respected halls. (The 7th St Andrews Links Course, which opened in 2008, is elsewhere in the region.)

Courses in eastern Scotland, with erosible lowland sediments, are generally considered to face more imminent risk than courses along the west coast, where geology is less susceptible to climate change.

However, the reaction is spreading.

A beloved course in northern Scotland, Royal Dornoch seeks to revive the swamps that eroded and threatened the fairways. About a 30-minute drive from St Andrews, Lundin added £ 100,000 to fencing to prevent erosion, and Open organizer R & A has allocated hundreds of thousands of pounds to “develop solutions.” rice field.

There may be limits to what you can do on the course, but your options may be limited by money, location, the severity of the threat, or the rippling consequences of action in one area. Some people are worried that resources that may be available in places like the Old Course, which are rich in history and international imports, may not be accessible elsewhere.

“There are concerns about golf courses, but if we do the right thing to protect the environment and mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, we can help protect the golf course,” said Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Said in a seaside interview. On Friday. “The work we’re doing in Scotland to do that is enormous. It’s more than just protecting a golf course, but it’s definitely an important part of it even in places like this.”

She added: “Although the climate is changing, we are serious about ensuring that what is most important to us when faced with these challenges is protected, and this week this week, especially for Scotland. It’s very clear how important golf is. “

Some experts, including Professor Bill Austin of the University of St Andrews, have made engineering modifications over the years, balancing with more natural solutions that may include sneaking the ocean inward in a controlled manner. I hope the number will increase.

But one of the deep-rooted questions is whether these efforts will come to fruition fast enough.

At Montrose, Brown recently runs a course that has a temporary business, but it is not voluntary. The tees have been lost, the holes have been shortened and redirected, and the fairways have been overseeded. That said, there isn’t much money to go around, and climate-related changes consume about one-third of the course’s green budget.

“Without government protection, I could see 50 years of golf playing comfortably, or I could see a couple of perfect storms in one winter of 10 years. “He said.

The worries around St Andrews aren’t too miserable yet, but they are growing.In the particularly tough possibilities outlined last year Report from the Scottish Government ProjectSome of the west sand is high in emissions and could pull about 750 meters into the rink by 2100 if there is a “do nothing” approach to managing the coast.

By 2050, Climate Central, a research group based in Princeton, NJ, predicts that the Old Course and its surrounding areas will be vulnerable to temporary floods.

Austin, based in St Andrews’ School of Geography and Sustainable Development, also predicted that the floods would threaten the old course, saying the breach “may be inevitable.” Based on years of work that St Andrews Links has already done, he said, further strengthening the dunes, especially near the estuary, could enhance the protection of the course.

A government report also suggests beach nourishment efforts and the possibility of redesigning the course “to enable sustainable golf play at St Andrews beyond 2100.”

It is unknown exactly how long it will take.

“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the 200th opening, very similar to the current old course, but it could be engineering behind the scenes,” Austin received research funding from R & A. Says. Last rainy morning at a coffee shop in St Andrews.

Beyond that, however, his prophecies are more predictive.

“When asked about the 300, I think the old course has moved,” he said. .. “

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