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New data has shone a light on the British golf courses that are most at risk from the effects climate change.

Betting odds experts AceOdds have studied data provided by Statista, which shows that the UK’s sea level is expected to rise by up to half a metre by the turn of the century.

That’s concerning on a number of fronts, not least because it increases the likelihood of coastal flooding and erosion.

It is reckoned that up to 28% of coastline in England and Wales, and 19% in Scotland, is at risk of erosion and, with a significant proportion of the country’s courses on low-lying ground where the land meets the sea, the dangers are obvious and hugely worrying.

In an effort to understand which courses are most at risk, AceOdds crunched the numbers.

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They found that the courses used by Arbroath Golf Club and Leven Golfing Society have a ‘high-risk’ level of flooding from both surface water and river/sea water, sitting only 24 metres and 35 metres above sea level on average.

That gives both a 75% ‘erosion risk’ over the next 75 years.

Tain Golf Club, which sits 46 metres above sea level, is also at high risk of flooding from surface and river/sea water, but only has a 40% erosion risk between now and 2100.

In England, Formby Golf Club is the course most at risk from climate change. It sits just five metres above sea level and has a high risk of flooding from surface water, with a 50% likelihood of experiencing coastal erosion in the next 75 years.

Moray Golf Club is the course which sits the nearest to sea level, with a medium risk level of flooding from surface water and a high risk of flooding from river/seawater.

Others facing varying degrees of risk according to AceOdds’ findings are Royal Dornoch, Nairna, Monifieth and West Lancs.

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The June edition of bunkered – on-sale now from all good newsagents – has shone a spotlight on the dangers around coastal erosion with a special report.

We spoke to Mike Macdonald, the general manager of Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Club in the Highlands, who was forced to launch a crowd-funding campaign to help cover the cost of rock armour following unprecedented damage done to his course last winter.

“It’s going to cost us £140,000 but we’ve got no option,” said Macdonald. “The storms aren’t going to stop and, if we do nothing, we’ll lose the course. That’s a certainty.”

“There’s not been a day in the last six months that erosion hasn’t occupied at least a part of my day.

“It’s a horrible situation but this club matters. Not just to me, not just to the members, but to the local community and wider golf community.

“We’re not prepared to sit back and watch it fall into the sea. We’re going to fight.”

• You can read this feature in full – ‘Turning The Tide’ – in the June edition of bunkered, on-sale now from all good newsagents across the UK. Alternatively, subscribe and never miss another edition.

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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