Thursday, 20 April 2017

Golf Tourism driving Scotland's Economy

The economic value of golf tourism and events to Scotland has increased to £286 million per year following a bumper decade in Scotland, the Home of Golf.

The new figure has been revealed as part of an independent study commissioned by VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise, confirming the key contribution of the golf tourism and events industry to the Scottish economy.

The study reveals that the value of golf tourism and events has increased by 30 per cent (£66 million) since 2008, supporting 4,700 jobs and spreading benefits across the country’s golfing regions.

It also shows that overseas golfing visitors spend on average £338 per night during a trip to Scotland, which is more than 4 times the daily spend of an average overseas visitor (£78.90)*.

Other key findings include:

·         Almost half (47 per cent) of overnight visitors traveled from overseas to play golf in Scotland
·         The North American market remains key, representing 30 per cent of all overnight golfing visitors with 14 per cent coming from Europe
·         On average, overnight golfing visitors spend on average 6.79 nights in Scotland on their trip while for overseas visitors the duration jumps to 10.21 on average.
·         Overnight visitors spend on average 7.5 days playing golf while they also average 3.85 days participating in other tourism activities, meaning they are also benefitting non-golf tourism businesses and attractions
·         On average an overnight golfing visitor will spend £245 per night but this number jumps to £338 for visitors from overseas. For North Americans this figure increases to £405 per night
·          The majority of overseas visitors (57%) had been to Scotland before suggesting that, for many, a trip to Scotland is not seen as a once in a lifetime experience
·         Of all overnight visitors, 81% overall agreed their trip was one of the best golfing holidays or short breaks they had ever taken (higher for North Americans)

The results of the study come after a stellar period for golf in Scotland, which has benefited from the global media profile and economic impact of a number of key golf events including multiple Open Championships, Ricoh Women’s British Opens and The 2014 Ryder Cup among others. However, crucially, the economic impact of major one-off events such as The Ryder Cup is not included in the £286 million figure and therefore represents additional value to Scotland.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “These findings outline the importance golf tourism and events play in supporting Scotland’s visitor economy and the Scottish economy as a whole.

“Golf is one of Scotland’s unique selling points which resonates with potential visitors all over the world and signifies why we place huge importance promoting Scotland as the Home of Golf to a global market place. Our support of international golf events and our global golf marketing activity gives us significant media profile and I am delighted that this is in turn reflected in golf’s contribution to the Scottish economy.”

Danny Cusick, Tourism Sector Portfolio Director at Scottish Enterprise, commented: “Scotland has some of the finest golfing assets in the world as well as a rich golfing history and heritage, and with such tremendous international appeal, it comes as no surprise that the value of this important tourism sector has grown enormously in recent years.

“But we mustn’t rest on our laurels; we want ambitious Scottish golf tourism companies to capitalise on this upward trend and consider how best they can develop and scale their business to meet the growing domestic and international demand.

“We have a range of support available for companies looking to expand, develop their products, find new customers and assist their growth plans, and would encourage companies to contact Scottish Enterprise to find out more.”

The results of the study will now be used to further inform Scotland’s Golf Tourism Strategy: Driving Forward Together which specifically targets growing the industry to the value of £300 million to the Scottish economy by 2020.

Some key findings in relation to the strategy include the importance of the domestic market, particularly to Tier 3 courses and the evidence that domestic golfing visitors in Scotland showed a younger age profile than those travelling to Scotland to play golf.
In relation to The 2019 Solheim Cup, the report also showed some key opportunities for growth for female golfing visitors. On average 12 per cent of golfing visitors to Scotland were female but for Europeans this jumped to almost 1 in 5 (18 per cent). Female golfing visitors also tended to be more ‘committed’ golfers than male counterparts with more having handicaps and golf club membership and less inclination to describe themselves as social golfers.

To access the full results of the survey visit

Thursday, 13 April 2017

16 miles of non stop golf

16 miles of unbroken Scottish golf coastline.

Ayrshire on the West coast of Scotland boasts close to 50 courses, the area is probably best known for its links courses which are some of the best in the world and includes the likes of Royal Troon, Turnberry, Prestwick Golf Club and Dundonald Links.

Golf is a part of life on the west coast of Scotland and this is no more evident than in a unique stretch of golfing coastline that runs 16 miles with the largest break between courses being only 500 metres. You could virtually play the entire 16 miles starting at Gailes Links and finishing at Old Tom Morris club, Prestwick St Nicholas.

There are no less than 11 courses along this stretch and include Open championship venues, Scottish Open venues and some real hidden gems. The courses include Gailes Links, which is the 9th oldest club in the world and currently Scotland’s Open qualifying course. A short walk takes you to Dundonald Links, the new kid on the block, established in 2003 and is now the host to The 2017 AAM Scottish Open and Ladies Scottish Open on the European Tours.

Across the railway sits the majestic Western Gailes, one of Scotland’s finest links courses and a must play when visiting Ayrshire. The course sits on land between the railway and the sea that measures only a few hundred yards across with rugged sand dunes and burns capturing this fantastic layout.

Next in line is Barassie Links which boast 27 holes, one of the area’s most popular courses due to its friendly welcome and perfect links greens (it even has its own train station)
A short walk over a road and you come to Troon Links, Troon Links is the envy of most councils as they provide 3 of the best public links courses in the country including the tough Darley course (Jack Nicklaus shot 82 here in Open qualifying, so a stern test) Troon Fullarton, a short course perfect for holiday golfers and beginners and finally Troon Lochgreen which runs adjacent to Royal Troon Golf club.

Now in the heart of Troon be sure to stop off in the town and have a bite to eat and drink at Scotts at the Troon Marina or if you fancy some good old fashioned fish and chips, check out the wee hurrie for the best you will find.
Now you might also be thirsty at this point so pop into the Jar Troon for a spot of whisky tasting, David the owner will talk you through how best to enjoy your dram!

A hop skip and a jump later takes you over to Royal Troon. Royal Troon Golf Club boasts two courses, the Portland course and of course the Championship course which played host to one of the greatest Opens last year when Henrik Stenson won his first Claret Jug.
A caravan park separates Royal troon from our next world renowned course! Prestwick Golf club is where the very first Open Championship was played back in 1860, a more historic golf club you won’t find. Be sure to do lunch at the members table when playing and explore the clubhouse which is like a museum of Golf.

If history is your thing, be sure to have a pint in the The Red Lion Inn, now a modern bistro pub, this is where Old Tom Morris and his golfing friends hung out and was where they had lunch during the first Open. You could say it is the Opens official 19th hole 😊   
Finally the longest walk between the courses of approx. 500m takes to you to Prestwick St Nicholas, the 26th Oldest club in the world and founded by Old Tom Morris in 1851, As traditional a links as you will find.

16 miles, 11 courses and some fine 19th holes along the way.

More Info on the courses: 

More info on 19th holes:

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Golf Events, Golf Weekenders and lots more in 2017

Ayrshire has been a busy Golfing region over the past few years. The Ladies Scottish Open kicked things off in 2015 at Dundonald Links followed straight after with The Women's Ricoh British Open at Turnberry, it really was a year of 'here come the girls'
Ayrshire also hosted its first ever Links Golf Cup by Hybrid golf events which has now went from strength to strength boasting a field of 108 golfers from all over the UK and even abroad.

The big one came town in 2016, The Open was held at Roayl Troon and over 170,000 spectators enjoyed one of the greatest Opens and possibly even major championships the game has seen. Henrik Stenson produced a flawless display of golf in the final round to win his first major championship.

2017 looks certain to continue the trend of Ayrshire hosting the best events for both Professionals and amateurs.
Amatuer weeks and weekenders include the Ayr Golf Week, Troon Golf Weekender, Turnberry special Golf events, Girvan Classic, Links Golf Cup and the inaugural World Masters Golf Championship.
Professional events include the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links and the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open also at Dundonald Links.

There are many other reason to visit Ayrshire, its food and drink offering, its close proximity to Glasgow, its outdoor activities and so on...

Check out for further details of the events in Ayrshire this year.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Ayrshire's Boost on back of The 2016 Open

Economic benefit of The Open

£110 million benefit to Scotland from last year’s event at Royal Troon.

Hosting The 145th Open at Royal Troon delivered more than £110 million worth of benefit to Scotland, according to an independent study announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

The Open, which attracted 173,000 spectators to the Ayrshire coastline in 2016, delivered an economic impact of more than £64 million according to the study compiled by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre.

In addition, the country benefited from an additional £46 million in destination marketing benefit thanks to the exposure afforded to Scotland from the Championship, which was broadcast on television in 193 territories to more than 600 million households worldwide.

The research, which was commissioned by The R&A, VisitScotland and South Ayrshire Council, concluded that Ayrshire alone benefited from spending by event specific visitors and on event infrastructure amounting to £23 million in economic impact.

Almost half of the spectators who attended The Open (49 per cent) travelled from outwith Scotland, while two-thirds of Scots spectators came from outside Ayrshire. 62 per cent of non-Ayrshire residents indicated they would return to South Ayrshire for a break within 12 months.

The Open is the world’s oldest and most prestigious professional golf championship and is held in Scotland more than any other country, on average three out of every five years. The 2016 Championship was seen as something of a homecoming for The Open, having first been played at Prestwick Golf Club in 1860, just a few miles from Royal Troon.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who attended the Championship in July 2016, said:

“Hosting The Open is a chance to see one of the world’s most popular sports return to the country where it all started, so these are brilliant figures which highlight the huge economic benefit that bringing home such a prestigious championship has for Scotland.

“Troon is a fantastic course enjoyed by players and spectators alike, both for the quality and challenge of the course, and the remarkable scenery. However, it’s much more wide-ranging than that - it showcases Scotland’s ability to host world class events, it has benefits for local businesses and hotels - and it also inspires the next generation of players.

“We look forward to welcoming the world to Carnoustie in 2018 for the 147th Open Championship.”

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, added: “The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events and generates substantial economic benefit for the host country. We were delighted with the success of the Championship at Royal Troon which delivered tremendous entertainment for the tens of thousands of fans who came along to see the world’s top golfers competing. Henrik Stenson’s victory after such a gripping duel with Phil Mickelson was one of the finest performances in the long history of The Open.”

The EventScotland team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate leads on Scotland’s investment in golf events and has a long-running association with The R&A through its support of The Open.

Paul Bush, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “Scotland has a long and proud history of hosting The Open more than any other country and these figures illustrate the importance of the Championships to Scotland, not just in delivering economic impact and supporting jobs but in promoting Scotland as the Home of Golf and the perfect stage for major events to a global audience.

“The stunning pictures of the Ayrshire coastline that were beamed around the world from Royal Troon will have inspired many more visitors to Scotland. We look forward to welcoming The Open back to Carnoustie in 2018 and continuing our successful relationship with The R&A for many more years to come.”

Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said:

“The Open was a resounding success for South Ayrshire, with tens of millions of pounds of investment helping to support the local economy while marketing our area and many attractions across the world.

“The report found that 62% of non-Ayrshire residents said that they’d return here for a holiday, which is a fantastic endorsement of the welcome people enjoyed during their visits last year, something that will bring further economic benefits to the area.

“As the birthplace of Open golf, Ayrshire and Arran has a worldwide reputation for the sport, with incredible Championship venues, some of the top courses in the UK and, of course, our own eight links and parkland Golf South Ayrshire courses. We’re serious about keeping the sport alive and we’re already well placed to realise a long-term legacy from last year’s event and look forward to welcoming many more Opens in future years.”


The 145th Open was played at Royal Troon from 10-17 July 2016 and attracted the top players from around the world to Scotland, the Home of Golf.

The event was won by Swede Henrik Stenson following one of the most memorable final rounds in Open history as he went head-to-head with 2013 Champion Golfer of the Year Phil Mickelson, triumphing with a record-low score of 20-under-par.

The Open is golf’s oldest championship. Played since 1860 on iconic British and Irish links golf courses, it is the sport’s most international Major Championship with qualifying events on every continent.

Organised by The R&A, The Open delivers significant economic benefit to its host region, while the Championship’s commercial success supports the development of the game worldwide.

Many courses have hosted the event, with St Andrews being the most frequently used. 2016 was the ninth time that Royal Troon has played host to The Open.

Ayrshire is known as “The Birthplace of The Open” with the first 12 Championships played at Prestwick Golf Club from 1860.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

World Event for Amateur Golfers Launched in Ayrshire, Scotland

The inaugural World Masters Golf Championship has been launched with a call to all amateur golfers over 50 years of age to take up this unique opportunity to play on the iconic links of Scotland – the Home of Golf.
The World Masters Golf Championship provides the opportunity to play competitive golf on outstanding courses in a fun, social environment.  The event is open to all golfers with an official handicap who are over 50 years of age as at 17 September, 2017. 
The Championship will be staged over four days from 18 to 21 September 2017, on some of the best courses in the world.  Follow in the footsteps of legends and take your opportunity to play some of the great courses of Scotland, included amongst them Royal Troon, Prestwick and Dundonald.
The World Masters Golf Championship is the brainchild of Hamish Grey (formerly CEO of Scottish Golf) and Andy Salmon (formerly CEO of the Ladies’ Golf Union and Deputy CEO of Scottish Golf), who have over 50 years of experience in sport and golf event management between them.
‘The idea is to stage an annual celebration of golf with a top quality championship for club-level amateur golfers here at the Home of Golf - playing competitive golf in a fun, social environment on some of the world’s leading golf courses,’ said Grey.
The format is individual stableford with prize categories based on handicap and age - along with the overall prize and title of World Masters Golf Champion.  Staged over four days there are two packages on offer –
Flight one:
Play Prestwick, laid out by Old Tom Morris, who was the Club’s Professional, the original home of the Open Championship which has been staged a total of 24 times on the links at Prestwick;
Western Gailes, a stunning links course that has hosted Open qualifying and major amateur events such as the European Team Championships featuring a young Rory McIlroy, amongst others; and
Glasgow Gailes, another classic links that hosts Open Qualifying and many major amateur events – where Colin Montgomerie qualified for the 2016 Open staged at nearby Royal Troon.
Flight two:
Play Dundonald, the links course of Loch Lomond Golf Club, Dundonald hosted the last two editions of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Ladies’ Open and two months prior to the World Masters Golf Championship will host the 2017 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Championship;
Kilmarnock (Barassie), boasting 27 holes of pure links fun, Kilmarnock (Barassie) has also hosted Open Qualifying as well as numerous Scottish amateur tournaments and the European Youths Team Championship; and
Ayr Belleisle, a James Braid designed gem that in the true traditions of Scottish golf is a public course owned by the local authority.
Limited to 240 entrants, the top 120 participants after three rounds will qualify to play the nine-time Open Championship venue, Royal Troon, and follow in the footsteps of legends such as 2016 Open Champion Henrik Stenson.  The remaining 120 participants will have the opportunity to play the excellent Glasgow Gailes.
This celebration of golf will be started with a welcome reception on Sunday 17 September and conclude with a gala dinner on the evening of 21 September.
Competitors will have the opportunity to explore the great beauty and history of Scotland around the World Masters Golf Championship – enjoying great Scottish hospitality and the event of a lifetime.
Click on this link to see a short video outlining the event and go to for full details of how to enter the Championship for the golfing trip of a lifetime.

Take your chance to follow in the footsteps of legends …

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

How the opening tee shot of the first Open might have looked

A new painting depicting the moment Tom Morris Senior teed off in the first ever Open Championship was recently unveiled at The British Golf Museum in St Andrews.

The artwork also features Willie Park Senior, who became the first Champion Golfer of the Year, looking on as Morris hits his opening drive at Prestwick Golf Club in Ayrshire on October 17, 1860.

Researching the first Open:

Professor David Purdie, who led the project to create the painting, gave a public talk about the great lengths they had taken to ensure the painting accurately depicted the historic scene.

“It has never been seen before because no photographer or artist was present at the time,” explains Professor Purdie.
“So, over the last five or six years, we’ve been researching exactly who was there, what the weather was like, and what exactly happened when Tom Morris Senior hit that first drive in The Open Championship.”

Artist's most challenging project:

The artist, Peter Munro, was also in attendance and spoke about taking on the unusual project. “It’s probably the most challenging painting I have ever done,” said Mr Munro.

“I’ve painted portraits before but not of people from 160 years ago, which has its own challenges.
“The piece had to be invented and to make it credible was challenging. But hopefully by the reaction we’ve had so far, we’ve achieved a certain amount of success in that respect.”

Angela Howe, Museum and Heritage Director, British Golf Museum, explained the significance of the painting in educating the public about the birthplace of The Open.

“It’s possibly a little-known fact that Prestwick hosted the first 12 Open Championships; in a lot of people’s minds, it’s St Andrews.
“So, in that respect we want to set the record straight and for it to be clear in people’s minds what the early years of The Open were actually like and the fact that Prestwick played such a prominent role.”

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

More Great News for Golf in Ayrshire

LET and LPGA to co-sanction Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open

A ground-breaking co-sanctioning agreement between the LET and LPGA has been reached that will see Dundonald Links host both the 2017 men’s and ladies’ Scottish Opens whilst elevating the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open to the highest prize fund event on the Ladies European Tour outside the Majors.

The initial three-year deal, brought together by the LET and the LPGA in partnership with title sponsor, Aberdeen Asset Management and key partner, VisitScotland, will see the event transition from a Pro-Am format to an individual stroke-play event with a stellar field and strong global media exposure.

With a full 156-strong player field and a prize fund of US$1.5m, the enhanced 72-hole Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open will sit on both the LET and LPGA schedules and underlines Scotland’s commitment to growing women’s golf as it looks towards hosting The 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles. It also draws on the strong support of Aberdeen Asset Management across all levels of the game, giving equal prominence to both men and women whilst helping to ensure live footage from both the men’s and ladies Scottish Open’s is beamed to golf fans around the globe.

Taking place the week before the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns in 2017, the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open will kick off a superb two weeks of links golf in Scotland. The back-to-back stretch of events echoes the successful strategy employed by the men’s Scottish Open taking place the week before The Open – an approach proven to be a competitive advantage for those players competing in both championships.

The men’s and ladies’ Scottish Open’s will be played at the same venue within a three-week period for the first time in Scottish Open history - a great accolade for the Kyle Phillips designed course at Dundonald Links in Scotland, the ‘Home of Golf’.
Paul Bush, Director of Events with VisitScotland, said: “Scotland is known around the world as the home of golf and host of the world’s greatest golf events so it is entirely fitting that the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open stands proudly alongside these world-class tournaments on both the LET and the LPGA. The huge success of the men’s Scottish Open taking place the week before The Open provided the inspiration for us to achieve similar success with the Ladies Scottish Open ahead of the Ricoh Women’s British Open and these outstanding two weeks will now rival anything the world of golf has to offer. This historic agreement underlines Scotland’s commitments to women’s golf as we look forward to The 2019 Solheim Cup and I would like to pay tribute to both the LET and the LPGA, alongside our partners at Aberdeen Asset Management, for the vision to make this a reality.”
Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management said: “This is huge stepping stone for the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open to rank alongside the biggest tournaments across both tours. It has been our vision to grow the event to a point where it becomes a staple on the world’s best players’ calendars whilst continuing to expose the Aberdeen brand in key markets. This deal, with live TV on both the Golf Channel and Sky Sports will continue to do that and we would like to thank all of those that have come together to make it happen.”

Ivan Khodabakhsh, Chief Executive Officer of the Ladies European Tour, said: “The Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open is one of our most highly anticipated events and we are pleased to partner with VisitScotland, our fantastic tournament sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management and the LPGA to enable our Members to compete for a significantly increased prize fund. With world class women’s golf from across the continents, the event will generate huge interest, beyond the borders of the golf community, which will help to set the perfect stage for The 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.”

LPGA Commissioner, Mike Whan, said: “Given Scotland’s rich history in golf, I am excited that the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open will provide an opportunity for the best players in the world to spend two consecutive weeks in Scotland. This tournament will be a great lead-in to the RICOH Women's British Open, and give our global fans a great two-week viewing experience from the UK. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with the LET, Aberdeen Asset Management, and VisitScotland to bring the world’s leading professional women golfers to our Scottish fans and spectators.”

The 2017 Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open will take place at Dundonald Links, North Ayrshire from 27th - 30th July.  Further information on the event will be available in due course and you can follow the event at #AberdeenLSO.