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

How Royal Dornoch helped calm the waves

The championship course at Royal Dornoch, an outstanding links layout that has been in place for 400 years, gets all the attention but, on their Struie course, greenkeepers have found a solution that has stopped coastal erosion in its tracks.

Down on the 10th fairway the sea has been getting perilously close but, by using chestnut fences, they have managed to take the sting out of waves that had been causing so much damage.

“They’re wooden stakes within wire at the top and bottom and we bury them half into the sand and it strengthens them further,” explains Scott Aitchison, deputy course manager.

coastal erosion

“When the waves are coming up it just takes the energy out of them. It disperses them and they don’t seem to be eating away too much into that.

“We wanted to look further why it was doing it so much in that area. Surveys noticed there is quite a lot of saltmarsh along the sand in the area where the waves come in and the saltmarsh has receded away.

“We’ve got a scientist (Dr Clare Maynard) from St Andrews University who has helped with a saltmarsh regeneration project and is using organic based bio-rolls, which are made up of coconut.

“They’re bound by rope and plant little bits of saltmarsh over the place and stake it into the ground. It gives the saltmarsh plants a chance of coming back.

“Hopefully that will naturally take the strength out of the wave as it approaches the land.”

coastal erosion

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The stark reality of coastal erosion

Explore more:

Introduction

What is coastal erosion?

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?