SOME of Irvine and Kilwinning’s most popular sports are threatened by climate change, according to a new report.

The Climate Coalition says that coastal golf courses, such as the links courses at Western Gailes, Glasgow Gailes and Dundonald Links, as well as football grounds like Victoria Park and Meadow Park, bowling clubs and clubs like Irvine and Kilwinning sports clubs face a “very real threat”.

They predict an increase in cancelled football matches, flooded cricket grounds and golf courses are “crumbling into the sea”.

Wetter winters and coastal erosion are placing golf courses under threatening conditions, where one in six courses on the coast are being deeply affected by extreme weather.

The report adds: “Increased rainfall, more extreme weather events, coastal erosion and rising sea levels pose huge challenges to the game and are already having an impact on the health of many clubs in Britain.

“Unchecked, the impacts of climate change could significantly affect the sport over the long term, particularly in Scotland.

“Sea-level rise poses the greatest long-term threat to golf in the UK. More than one in six of Scotland’s 600 golf courses are located on the coast – including the Old Course at St Andrews and Royal Troon Golf Course.”

The R&A, the governing body for golf outside the USA and Mexico, recognises the risk, while only a small increase in sea-level rise would imperil all of the world’s links courses before the end of the century.

And along with the damage the weather can do to “course playability, increased rainfall and storms, exacerbated by climate change” – it is posing participation challenges.

Steve Isaac, Director of Sustainability at the R&A, explained: “It [climate change] is certainly becoming a factor. Golf is impacted by climate change more than most other sports.”