GOLF is at “very real risk” from coastal erosion and wet winters caused by climate change, the R&A claims.

Steve Isaac, director of golf course management at the St Andrews body, says the sport is at more risk than almost any other, stating: “There is no question it is becoming a huge factor.

“I believe golf is more impacted by climate change than any other sport aside from skiing. We are feeling it now with increases in unplayable holes, winter course closures and disruption to professional tournaments. Future threats are very real.”

Worth around £286 million to the economy a year, golf also supports 4700 jobs, according to VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise.

However, a report revealed today by the Climate Coalition shows key courses are at risk and environmental changes have reduced playing time.

The paper says playing time in the Glasgow area alone fell by 20 per cent between 2006-07 and 2016-17. Montrose Golf Links, one of the oldest courses in the world, has seen the North Sea advance 70 metres towards the course in the last 30 years, forcing some holes to be abandoned.

Meanwhile, the report suggests the snowsports industry could collapse within 50 years as rising temperatures make winters too mild for regular snowfall.

Professor Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds, said the UK had seen six of the seven wettest years on record since 2000 and record-breaking wet winters in 2014 and 2015, adding: “Climate change is already affecting the historic game of golf in its birthplace. Without cutting the carbon emissions driving climate change, sea levels will rise by over a metre and extremely wet winters will become the norm.

“The game of golf would struggle to adapt to such a changed world.”

The report comes after NFU Scotland, Scottish Renewables and eight other bodies urged the UK Government to set out the future of the feed-in tariff, which supports small-scale green energy installations and is set to close next year. The bodies claim a “more dynamic, smart and flexible low-carbon energy system” is under threat.