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 http://www.visitscotland.org/research_and_statistics/tourism_sectors/golf.aspx

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: