Some of our most precious golfing treasures are fading away with every passing tide and storm. This special NCG investigation looks at how coastal erosion is changing the links landscape

Golf and coastal erosion: Introduction

Clear the pines that frame the back of the 9th green and the way paves to thick dunes almost as far as the vision allows. The Irish Sea is out there but it’s a keen eye that can scan over the mounds of grass and sand to find those specks of blue in the distance.

It’s close to 200 metres away and it’s only at this point, stood on the 10th tee at Formby, that the realisation finally dawns of the destructive power coastal erosion is having on our links golf heritage.

For in the space of a single lifetime, none of it will exist. Formby Point is the fastest eroding coastline in the UK, according to club secretary/manager Stuart Leech, and Mother Nature is encroaching on the historic fairways and greens at the rate of two and a half metres a year.

coastal erosion

By 2085, the coast will be at the championship blue tee – leaving the club planning for a future without some of their most attractive holes.

Formby are by no means the only club facing this problem. Last year, the Climate Coalition warned that Open venues like St Andrews and Royal Troon could be under water by the end of the century if sea levels rose as a result of climate change.

Coastal erosion, both natural, man made and linked to changing weather patterns, is already lapping at the edges of many our links treasures – with Montrose and Royal North Devon among those taking evasive action to try and stop the tides.

But how big is the problem, and can anything be done about it?

Head to the next page to continue reading our special investigation on golf courses and coastal erosion in order or choose from the options below…

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What is coastal erosion?

Explore more:

How Montrose is falling into the North Sea

Formby’s future-proofing plan for new holes

How Royal North Devon lost 20 metres in three nights

Is Abersoch an avoidable catastrophe?

The affect of coastal erosion on golfing communities

What can be done to tackle coastal erosion?

How Royal Dornoch is fighting coastal erosion

The stark reality of coastal erosion

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

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