Thursday, 26 October 2017

Ayrshire host the 2017 Scottish Golf Tourism Week

International visitors tee off at Scottish Golf Tourism Week

Over 70 of the world’s leading golf tour operators have arrived to meet face to face with the courses and locations that make Scotland the home of the sport.

Yesterday the Trump Turnberry Hotel hosted visitors who held over 3,500 meetings with golf course and hotel exhibitors from Scotland, who expect that the events taking place at Scottish Golf Tourism Week will attract further international golf tourists in coming years.

Fraser Cromarty, chief executive of the Nairn Golf Club, said it was his first time exhibiting at Scottish Golf Tourism Week. The Highland golf stalwart, who took over the top job at Nairn having moved from Castle Stuart Golf Links four years ago, said Scottish Golf Tourism Week was a “fantastic” opportunity to meet new buyers.

He said: “This is a great event for Scotland and a fantastic initiative - we want to support something like this in Scotland.

“There’s a lot of new faces here. It shows you the new business that is available in the various golf tour businesses around the world.

“I have already met some potential new clients. Looking through my appointment sheet today most of these are new. It is encouraging and quite exciting.”

Pam Smith, Captain of Crail Golfing Society, has returned to Scottish Golf Tourism Week for a second year. A historic course established in 1786, the club enjoyed a record year this year, attracting more than 17,000 visitors to play at its two courses located two miles east of Crail in Fife.

The society benefits in attracting international visitors from its proximity to St Andrews and Kingsbarns. About 40% of its business comes from international visitors and Smith says that bookings are even further ahead already for 2018.

She said: “We had a very positive result from attending Scottish Golf Tourism Week last year. At the event people were checking for availability. This year feels very much the same. We have a very busy schedule of appointments.”

She added: “We are lucky but we are not complacent.

“We have already met with two completely new tour operators, including one from India.

“It is also the familiarisation trips. We had visitors to Crail yesterday and they loved it. He said he’s definitely putting business our way. We would never have met him if we weren’t at Scottish Golf Tourism Week this year.”

Maria Richardson, of Spela Golf (Gailes Travel), arranges golf tours in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland for Scandinavian and US tour groups. It is the second year she has attended Scottish Golf Tourism Week and on this time out she visited golf courses in Ayrshire including Royal Troon and Prestwick golf clubs as well as a number of “hotels and castles along the way”.

She said: “We send thousands of people here every year. It is the home of golf.

“I am here to see people I already know and find a few more hidden gems we hadn’t found before. I have found a hotel that will be really good for us.”

Wayne Mordon, President of Athlone Golf Tours based in Canada, puts together custom tours ranging in price between £2,800-£3,000 for discerning North American golfers.

He said currency exchange rates were making Scotland even more attractive to his clientele who value Scottish tradition and its links course experiences.

He said: “The things I tell people is it is less expensive to play in the UK than it has been for 20 years. People don’t know that unless you tell them.”

His familiarisation trip with Scottish Golf Tourism Week took him to St Andrews, where he was able to visit hotel and accommodation providers and see where they were in relation to the golf courses.

He said: “It was great to see the accommodation side. We stopped by St Andrews University dorms, to the Ardgowan to the Dunvegan hotels. It allows me to offer combinations, and a range of options to where they can stay.

“It helps me visually. What I have learned about this morning is some properties I wouldn’t have considered are now in my arsenal of selling.”

He said events such as Scottish Golf Tourism Week were essential to ensure Scotland retains its premier position globally as the home of golf. 

“To me what Scottish Golf Tourism Week represents is Scotland is open for business rather than assuming people will just go to Scotland. It is an important step.”

Tom Lovering, Director of Scottish Golf Tourism Week, said that the event had brought operators that were planning to increase their bookings to Scotland next year.

“We expect the buyers here, several which are new to Scottish Golf Tourism Week, will book a great deal more tours and facilities as a result of what they have seen here this week. Scotland is the home of golf, but it is events such as Scottish Golf Tourism Week which ensure we stay as a top global destination for the world’s golfers.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “I’m delighted to hear the positive feedback from buyers and exhibitors at Scottish Golf Tourism Week. This is a fantastic opportunity for golf tourism businesses from across Scotland to meet face to face with tour operators from across the globe, generating more business and more visitors to Scotland.

“Golf tourism is worth more than £286 million to Scotland annually and helps to support our visitor economy, not just through golf courses but our hotels, bars, restaurants and other tourism attractions.”

Scottish Golf Tourism Week, supported by VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise, continues and culminates in the annual Scottish Golf Tourism Awards dinner on Thursday.


Friday, 8 September 2017

Ayrshire boasts 3 of the world's top 100 courses

Golf's 2017/18 top 100 course rankings is out and we have plenty to shout about here in Ayrshire....

With three of the worlds best, it's no great surprise that Ayrshire is one of the most sought after golf destinations on the planet. With over 45 golf courses to choose, from golf on an Island, along its famous links coastline or parkland gems designed by Ryder cup legends, Ayrshire has a golfing experience for everyone.

It's with no great surprise that Prestwick Golf Club no.100, Turnberry Ailsa no.16 and Royal Troon no.47 sit proudly among some fantastic courses including Augusta National, Pebble Beach and Pinehurst but to name a few.

Check out the full review below by clicking the link.....

World's Top 100 Courses 







Wednesday, 2 August 2017

When No Laying Up & Callaway visited Ayrshire

Ayrshire Golf Scotland was delighted to partner up with Callaway Golf, No Laying up and Visit Scotland for an #EpicScotland sweepstakes that included a round trip flight to Scotland, a full set of brand new Callaway Clubs, and four incredible rounds of golf to two lucky winners.

Chad Coleman from Callaway Golf along with Chris Solomon from No Laying up, experienced all that Ayrshire had to offer including playing in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Pro-Am, as well as  rounds at Royal Troon, Prestwick, Turnberry, plus some extras that they snuck in along the way. 


Click here to listen to their fantastic podcast show.





Monday, 17 July 2017

Cabrers Bello wins the AAM Scottish Open in Ayrshire!

Rafa Cabrera Bello won his first European Tour event in over five years as he claimed the fourth Rolex Series event of the season at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
The Spaniard had finished second six times since his win at the 2012 Dubai Desert Classic but overcame Callum Shinkwin in a play-off at Dundonald Links to win his third title.

Cabrera Bello posted a stunning course-record 64 to get to 13 under and a bogey from Shinkwin on the last meant the contest went to extra holes, where the 33 year old hit a stunning second into the 18th to set up a tournament-clinching birdie.

The Englishman had the consolation of securing his place at the Open Championship next week alongside Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, who finished third at ten under, and Australian Andrew Dodt who was two shots further back.
Click here...
Day 4 highlights - AAM Scottish Open;
All the best of the action from the final day's play at Dundonald Links as the 2017 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open came to a thrilling close.
Three-time Major Championship winner Padraig Harrington, New Zealander Ryan Fox, American Matt Kuchar and England's Anthony Wall were also at eight under.

"I'm extremely happy," said Cabrera Bello. "I've won before and I have been up there so many, many times with things not really working out for myself. I was starting to feel a little bit of pressure every time I was up there contending.

"I really felt I played some of the best golf of my life today. In the play-off, I really gave it a go and I'm extremely pleased it worked out for me. Winning again, it's an unbelievable feeling. I think I was overdue.

"I enjoy those pressure situations. I think they really define you."
I have really been fighting for this third win - Rafa Cabrera Bello;
Rafa Cabrera Bello shares his delight after a dramatic playoff victory in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links.
Dodt and Shinkwin began the day tied at nine under but Dodt soon jumped into a two-shot lead as he birdied the first after an excellent second from the heavy rough and put his tee-shot on the par three fourth to ten feet.


Cabrera Bello turned in 32 with birdies on the second, third, eighth and ninth as Shinkwin started with six pars but the 24 year old came to life from the seventh, putting two consecutive approaches to tap-in range to leapfrog Dodt - who had bogeyed the fifth - and take the lead.

Cabrera Bello holed a lengthy putt on the 12th to get within one of Shinkwin but that was soon two back as the leader hit another to close range to turn in 33 and get to 12 under.

Dodt had gone off the boil after that quick start but he put his second within eight feet on the eighth and cut the gap to one as the leading trio began to move away from the field.
There were nerves - Callum Shinkwin;
Callum Shinkwin reflects after losing out to Rafa Cabrera Bello in a play-off for the 2017 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
Cabrera-Bello took advantage of the 14th to get within one as Dodt went bogey-birdie on the tenth and 11th but Shinkwin put his approach to two feet on the 13th to establish a cushion.

Dodt then three-putted the 12th and 13th to slip back and when Cabrera Bello put his approach to eight feet on the 17th, he was within one of the leader.

Shinkwin was showing absolutely no signs of nerves, however, and he put his tee-shot on the 15th inside ten feet for another birdie and once again he led by two.

Cabrera Bello got a lucky break to stay out of the water and make a birdie on the last to put the pressure on Shinkwin, with the leader hitting a poor chip and leaving his par putt short on the last to set up the play-off.
Five of the best  AAM Scottish Open Day four;
The five best shots from the final day of the 2017 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links.
Shinkwin had missed nine cuts in a row before making the weekend at the HNA Open de France two weeks ago but will no longer be worrying about his place on Tour after taking home a cheque for 777,770 dollars.

"It's been a very good week," he said. "End of the day, I'll be more than happy to finish second but the win was on my mind and didn't happen."

Pavon turned in 32 with birdies on the third, fifth, eighth and ninth and while he dropped a shot on the 13th, he bounced back with gains on the 14th, 17th and last.

Harrington bounced back from a 79 on Saturday with a 66, Kuchar and Wall signed for rounds of 69, Fox carded a 70 and Dodt got round in 73.

Englishmen Ian Poulter, Robert Rock, Lee Slattery and Andy Sullivan, Dane Søren Kjeldsen and American Rickie Fowler were then at seven under.

Blog credit to the European Tour.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Scottish bands headline a week of entertainment for all the family


The Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire will headline a packed week of entertainment outside the ropes as the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open gets under way at Dundonald Links next month.

While a stellar line-up of the world’s best golfers, including World Number Four Rory McIlroy, The Open Champion Henrik Stenson, former Masters Tournament winner Adam Scott and 2015 tournament winner Rickie Fowler, will entertain fans on the course from 13-16 July, there will also be a host of activities for all the family to enjoy around the venue.

After the golf has finished on Friday night, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers will bring their ground-breaking fusion of traditional Scottish music and rock/pop anthems – which they proudly call “bagrock”- to the show stage in the Championship Village.

It will be a different feel on Saturday evening as Glasgow-based Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire, whose eponymous debut album was nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year award in 2014, bring their atmospheric sound to the show stage.

With free entry for under-16s*, families looking for a great day out can enjoy a range of fun activities throughout the week, including a bungee run, inflatable obstacle course, play bus, carousel, face painting and nature trail on the grounds of the event. Fans of all ages will also be able to get up close to their favourite golfers away from the fairways with a series of player Q&As on the show stage.
There will also be a special kids zone as part of the first ever Golf Show by American Golf in association with the European Tour and Sky Sports. The inaugural show is a dream for fans of all ages, allowing them to get their hands on the newest equipment and technology on offer as well as participate in interactive competitions.

Visitors can also enjoy some Scottish hospitality, with a range of food and drink on offer from local suppliers, plus live cooking exhibitions using local produce in the public catering area.

The entertainment all starts on the evening of Tuesday July 11 with the Hero Challenge – an exciting one-hole knockout contest featuring some of the tournament’s star golfers, including Henrik Stenson.
TV hosts Vernon Kay and Kirsty Gallacher will present the action live on Sky Sports from a specially constructed hole on the 18th at Dundonald Links from 7.30pm – 8.30 pm, while celebrities including former Scotland rugby player and Strictly Come Dancing star Thom Evans and ex-Westlife member Brian McFadden will entertain the crowd with their own knock-out contest. Fans can secure free entry to the Hero Challenge by booking at www.lostintv.com/hero.htm

Spectators can also enjoy the Pro-Am on Wednesday July 12, as the week’s golfing stars team up with partners including celebrities from across the world of sport and entertainment. More details will be confirmed soon.

The European Tour’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Championship Director, Peter Adams, said: “This year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open promises to be packed full of entertainment on and off the course.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming some of the world’s best golfers to Dundonald Links, and hosting a whole range of activities across the venue all week. There is a fantastic line up of entertainment for all the family, with music, food and lots of activities for all ages to enjoy. It will be a great way to celebrate the start of the summer holidays.”
Fans will also be able to support the tournament charities Gillian’s Saltire Appeal and Maggie’s through various fun activities including a long putt challenge, photo booth and prize draws. Spectators can also get involved in some charitable fun on Tartan Friday by joining the players in donning tartan attire on Friday July 14 for the chance to win spot prizes.

A free bus service, in conjunction with Stagecoach, will run on every day of the tournament from Irvine Central to Dundonald Links. Timings will tie in with the regular train service between Glasgow Central and Irvine Central, with buses running every 15 minutes on Thursday to Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sunday. There is also free public car parking on a first come first served basis at Dundonald Links.

This Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will be the fourth event in the European Tour’s new Rolex Series, a premium category of tournaments on the Race to Dubai with minimum prize funds of US$7million.

Fans can buy tickets now – including official hospitality packages – at www.aamscottishopen.com/tickets

*Under-16s gain free entry when accompanied by an adult.
Adult tickets start at just £30, and include free entry to the Ladies Scottish Open, which would otherwise cost £10 on the gate.
Find out more about the tournament at www.ladiesscottishopen.com

(Press release by Michael Heath)

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Rickie Fowler coming to Ayrshire.

Rickie Fowler will bid to reclaim the title he won in 2015 when he tees it up at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links on July 13-16.
The 28 year old American surged to a thrilling victory two years ago to secure his maiden European Tour title, two months after winning The Players’ Championship for the first time.

Fowler fell two shots off the lead when he bogeyed the 14th in the final round at Gullane Golf Club, but birdied three of the last four holes to overtake Ryder Cup team-mate Matt Kuchar and Frenchman Raphaël Jacquelin to finish 12 under par and seal a memorable win.

Currently 9th on the Official World Golf Ranking, Fowler added the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship to his list of titles in 2016, and will be aiming to make it three European Tour wins in three years when he returns to Scotland, the Home of Golf, in July.

This will be his third appearance at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in four years, after finishing tied eighth in his debut appearance at Royal Aberdeen in 2014.

This year the event takes its place as part of the European Tour’s new Rolex Series, a premium category of tournaments each with a minimum prize fund of US$7million. With the significant prize fund increase and greater Race to Dubai points on offer, Fowler joins a world-class field, including  World Number Two Rory McIlroy, The Open Champion Henrik Stenson and former Masters Tournament winner Adam Scott, on the North Ayrshire coast in the week before The 146th Open Championship.

Fowler said: “I’m really looking forward teeing it up at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open again. I had to dig deep on the final day for the win in 2015, and it rounded off a special week for me in front of the Scottish fans.
I had to dig deep on the final day for the win in 2015, and it rounded off a special week for me in front of the Scottish fans.
Rickie Fowler
“It’s a tournament that I enjoy being part of, and I’m looking forward to playing Dundonald for the first time. The aim is to win another title as well as getting in a good week of links golf in preparation for The Open Championship.”

As well as a world-class field competing inside the ropes at Dundonald Links, there will be a host of entertainment for spectators to enjoy outside the ropes, including a free American Golf show, a host of family entertainment and a wide selection of food from local suppliers.

Fans can buy tickets to see some of the world’s best golfers competing on the Ayrshire coast - including official Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open hospitality packages - at www.aamscottishopen.com/tickets

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Golfing town of Irvine & Gailes

Ayrshire's famous golfing town of Prestwick and Troon are renowned all over the world, but Ayrshire boast another town golfers don't want to miss! Irvine and Gailes sit a few miles North of Troon and boast five and a half fantastic courses.

Irvine Bogside Golf Club is built between the town, an old racecourse and the banks of the River Irvine, Bogside’s situation may lack the setting of some of the courses to follow but on arriving on the narrow road to the clubhouse you cannot fail to be captivated by the golfing terrain that lies ahead of you. Always immaculately manicured, the fairways and greens roll over heavy contours and high dunes dissected by copious amounts of traditional gorse and even more heather. Likened by some to Prestwick for its quirky individuality and blind approach shots, if Irvine is where you start your tour you will not be disappointed.




Irvine Bogside's neighbour is the public course of Ravenspark which is excellent value and a slightly lesser test of golf than others in the town.

A couple of miles to the south of Irvine are the two Gailes courses of Western and Gailes Links, both of which have been well known to the golfing visitor for many years. These two traditional links have been joined, and complemented, by the relatively new Dundonald Links which geographically slots perfectly into the parcel of land left vacant between Western and Gailes Links.

Gailes Links course designer, former Open Championship winner, Willie Park always believed this links to be one of his best creations. The classic layout is tough, fair and traditionally Scottish, wild heather and gorse define the fairways and the greens are guarded by strategically placed bunkers. Sandy Lyle, former Open and Masters Champion describes the course as “one of the world’s truly great tests of links golf’ and it has been selected by the R&A as a final qualifying venue for The Open Championship every time it has been at Royal Troon and Turnberry. At 6903 yards long from the back tees, Gailes is a great test of golf whilst the kinder forward tees provide a fine test for players of all abilities.




Just across the railway track and closer to the sea, the reputation of Western Gailes has become stronger and stronger over recent years, attracting visitors from all parts of the world and featuring as a must-play on many Scottish itineraries. This is nothing new; in June 1903 the great Harry Vardon arrived at Western celebrating his fourth Open victory to win the first professional championship held and promoted by the Club, whilst in 1923 its attractions were being lauded by the then US Open Champion Gene Sarazen who played the course.

Western Gailes’ setting is imposing being situated between the railway and the sea, both being very much in play as major features. The course is never less than an excellent test of true links golf with the almost central clubhouse situated between the seven holes to the north and eleven to the south.




Sitting across the railway line is Dundonald Links which since its opening has fast become one of the most impressive new links courses in Scotland. Designed by Kyle Phillips, the structure and shape of the course easily matches his better known design at Kingsbarns and the layout offers a great challenge from whichever set of tees it’s played off.

It has perhaps as fine collection of Par Threes holes that you are likely to encounter and a feeling of historic links golf that belies its youth and its quality has already been recognised with its inclusion as Final Qualifying for the 2008 British Seniors Open as well as host to the Scottish Open and Ladies Scottish Open in 2017.




When staying in the town, there is no better option than The Gailes Hotel which is no more than a par 5 from three of the courses. With its own driving range and short 9 hole course, it really is the place to stay on a visit to Irvine.



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