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Climate Change on Scottish Golf Courses



Scottish Golf Environment Group


Golf and the Environment - Introduction

Every time we switch on machinery, lighting or turn up the thermostat we use energy. Whatever kind of fuel we use (whether we burn it directly or indirectly), when electricity is generated, we are releasing greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

It is now widely accepted that climate change is the most serious environmental threat to our planet. Left unchecked, it will have profound effect on weather patterns globally. Recent research suggests that in Scotland there will be:

  • more severe weather events
  • rainfall may increase by up to 50% in the west
  • storms, floods and gales are likely to be more common

These effects will impact on golf. Traditional links courses are already experiencing problems of coastal erosion, while the general change in weather patterns may affect golf courses in terms of different prevalence of turfgrass pests and diseases, seasonality of play, changes required to drainage and irrigation systems, pricing of energy and fuel supplies, as well as less predictable revenue streams from tourism and events.

While climate change policy is being tackled at government and international levels, everyone should recognise that it will affect their lives; how they live, work and play, and that there is something they can do, by taking some personal responsibility for energy conservation. Individual efforts may seem trivial in the big picture but collectively they add up - for example, over a quarter of the CO2 produced in the UK comes from domestic energy use alone.








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