Who gets to be the person selling golf balls?
It already has artificial islands, scuba-diving Cabinet ministers and a back-up plan to relocate its entire population if it is swamped by rising seas. Now the Maldives has another scheme to deal with its watery future: floating golf.

The island nation has signed a deal with a Dutch company to investigate building the world’s first permanent floating golf course, along with a convention centre and residential rooms, on a platform on the Indian Ocean.

The project could be a pioneer for floating villages and towns, Mahmood Razee, the Minister for Civil Aviation, Communication and Privatisation, said. “If it is successful we will try to work with them to see if they could develop housing facilities as well,” he said. “We need this because of climate change and because of a lack of land because of island erosion.

“If they can make this work we could adopt that and keep more houses on floating islands.”

The company behind the golf course scheme, Dutch Docklands International, said that it was inspired by the battle against floods in the Netherlands, which is 25 per cent reclaimed land. “The Dutch were always very enthusiastic in building in areas where nature gives water its own space,” Dutch Docklands said in a statement.

Amphibious housing was pioneered in the Netherlands and the company is also working on a project in Dubai. President Nasheed of the Maldives has made his country — whose highest point is only two metres above sea level — the poster child for the risks of rising sea levels due to climate change. He said he will make it the first carbon neutral country by 2020 and may create a sovereign wealth fund to buy land in case the Maldives becomes uninhabitable. Last October the Cabinet staged a meeting — complete with desks — in scuba gear on the seabed to highlight the dangers of global warming.