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Afternoon tee times in some parts of Europe and the USA could be compromised – and perhaps banned – if current climate change trends continue.

That’s according to the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf.

The organisation’s executive director Jonathan Smith made the stark warning during an appearance on this week’s episode of The bunkered Podcast.

With COP27 taking place in Egypt, the spotlight has, once again, been shone on the planet’s rapidly changing climate and the implications thereof.

And whilst many dismiss such issues as ‘scaremongering’, Smith insists the data suggests otherwise.

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“Climate change is definitely having different impacts on golf and they’re generally more on the negative side than the positive side,” he said.

“Extreme heat days are happening in different parts of the world, whether it’s central or southern Europe, or across the USA, and that is a very tangible, relevant thing.

“When temperatures get over a certain level, and when humidity gets over a certain level, how much time should we be outdoors and how long is it safe to be there in those sorts of conditions.

“We are seeing extreme heat being a factor in outdoor sports, including golf, where you’re outdoors for quite a few hours.”

According to Smith, the dangers posed by extreme heat could restrict tee time availability in some of these hotter areas.

“There are very, very real things happening and they all affect golf because it’s an outdoor sport,” he added. “From a junior golf point of view, the education services are quite clear in many parts of the world where young people shouldn’t be out for that length of time in those sorts of conditions.

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“We are already seeing some disruption in the Mediterranean to junior golf events and the times and days that they’re played. I think that’s relatively rare at the moment but these are indicators of something that is happening that we shouldn’t discard.”

In a wide-ranging chat, Smith also explored the impact of coastal erosion and how that is affecting some of the world’s top links courses – many of which are in the UK – and he also exploded the myth that golf courses are, in some way, bad for the environment.

To listen to the episode in full, click here.


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