454-year-old Scottish golf course is ‘sinking into the sea’

Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim March 14, 2016 12:10

The board of Montrose Golf Links has come up with an action plan to stop the world’s fifth oldest links course from sinking into the sea due to coastal erosion.

Golf was first recorded on the land that is now the Medal course at Montrose in Scotland, one of its two courses, in 1562, which went on to be designed by legendary Scottish golf course designer ‘Old Tom’ Morris. However, the original sixth hole disappeared in 1994 and the course has been slipping into the North Sea for at least the last 21 years.

The club’s board has proposed that holes one, three, seven and 18 be reduced in yardage and holes two, six and eight be increased.

erosion tom fogg

An example of British coastal erosion. Flickr / Tom Fogg

The suggested changes to the course are deemed so important that representatives from Montrose’s council attended the meeting in which the board announced the changes, and some golfers expressed their opposition.

“The meeting bore witness to how important golf and our golf courses are to the people of the town”, said Montrose councillor Bill Duff.

“Some felt that the best course of action was to do nothing and see if the current situation reverses itself.

“I am in an unusual position of being a member of Montrose Golf Links, as I am a lapsed golfer, so perhaps more able to see the issues without a personal interest or emotional attraction to a particular format or favourite hole.

“The future viability of the historic links courses is a weighty responsibility.

“We know Montrose GC is 450 years old and we want to ensure a secure future for golf in the town.

“I firmly believe that we need to act now as coastal erosion has seriously eaten into the course, the coastal defences installed 15 years ago are weakened and the fencing has not achieved as good a result as expected.

“Recycling the sand dredged from Montrose Port has not been proven as a viable approach and even if successful could take many years to repair matters.

“Golf is very important to Montrose with about one thousand local season ticket holders and Montrose Medal course being an important part of Angus’ tourist offering.

“The funding of a major project is certainly challenging but I’m confident the money required can be found and we can look forward to another 450 years of golf in Montrose.”


Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim March 14, 2016 12:10
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