Wetter winters and coastal erosion linked to climate change are threatening the future of golf, a report backed by governing body the R&A 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.
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.
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.”
Professor Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds, said Britain had seen six of the seven wettest years on record since 2000 and record-breaking wet winters in 2014 and 2015.
“That, combined with rising sea levels and increased storm surges, means that climate change is already affecting the historic game of golf in its birthplace,” he said.
“Without cutting the carbon emissions driving climate change, sea levels will rise by over a metre and extremely wet winters will become the norm,” he warned.