50.7 degrees: Golf Australia’s struggle with heat records

Heat record in Australia: 50.7 degrees Celsius were reported in the coastal town of Onslow in Western Australia on Thursday. The previous heat record from 1962 was broken. Golf is hardly possible in the current heat wave on Australia’s west coast.

Extreme weather makes sport unpredictable

Climate change is making life difficult for outdoor sports such as golf, cricket, tennis, horseback riding and rugby. The golf tournaments of the professional tours at the beginning of 2020 suffered from extremely bad air due to the bushfires. England cricket team captain Joe Rott collapsed from dehydration in a match against Australia in 41.9C heat in 2018. In tennis, the Australian Open 2018 was suspended for two days due to extreme heat, and the Australian Football League has introduced an “extreme heat guideline” since 2020, which applies from 35 degrees and 80 percent humidity. The list of negative cases could certainly be continued. Golf Australia has also reacted to the increasing extreme weather conditions and formulated so-called Hot Weather Guidelines , which also include postponing or canceling tournaments when the temperature is more than 36 degrees.

Study by Australia’s Climate Council

“Game, Set, Match: Calling Time on Climate InAction” is the name of the study by Australia’s Climate Council that fueled discussions about the future of outdoor sports in Australia in 2021. Although golf was not explicitly studied as a sport, similar statements apply to this sport as to tennis or cricket.

50 degrees Celsius in summer as a health risk

“Sport is continuously being cancelled, postponed or shortened because increasing weather extremes in the context of climate change necessitate this” determined the scientists involved in the study and came to the conclusion: This trend will intensify.

  • In the year 2040, according to their estimates, the summer heat waves in Sydney or Melbourne will reach 50° Celsius and thus completely call the practice of outdoor sports into question.
  • Increasingly, extreme heat is a health risk that neither fans nor elite or amateur athletes can cope with on this scale.

“If global CO2 emissions continue to rise, Australia’s sport will change dramatically. Tournaments in summer will take place in the evening or the game schedules will be moved to spring or autumn,” summarized Dr. Martin Rice, Head of Research at Climate Council and one of the authors of the study. This also applies to the various golf tournaments, all of which are already confronted with the fact that the heat waves in Australian cities not only start much earlier – in Sydney, for example, 19 days earlier – but, as in Canberra, have also doubled in length.