More than 340,000 spectators attended golf events in Scotland in 2014 during an unprecedented year which saw The Ryder Cup held at Gleneagles as well as The Junior Ryder Cup and five other top professional tournaments across the country.
And with no fewer than nine professional events already confirmed across the length and breadth of the country in 2015, including The Open at St Andrews, the figure is likely to be well in excess of 300,000 again next year.
In 2014, a year in which Scotland reaffirmed its position as the Home of Golf and the Perfect Stage for events, a total of 240,000 spectators descended on the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles in September for the best-ever attended golf event in Scotland.
With other events such as the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open (Royal Aberdeen), the SSE Scottish Seniors Open (Fairmont St Andrews), the Scottish Hydro Challenge (Spey Valley), the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open (Archerfield) and the Dunhill Links Championships (St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns) drawing impressive crowds, the total attendance over the course of the year tops 340,000.
It is believed to be the second-highest year for golf event attendance in Scotland’s history, behind only 2007 when The Open, Women’s British Open and The Senior Open Championship were all held in Scotland alongside three main European Tour events.
Now as the focus moves to 2015, VisitScotland, which supports a multitude of golf tournaments through its events directorate EventScotland, says it will be another bumper year for golfing spectators in Scotland, the Home of Golf.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said:
“There’s no doubt that 2014 was a momentous year for golf in Scotland with the hugely successful staging of The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 340,000 spectators attending golf events across the country.
“The economic impact of these spectators for Scotland is significant and underlines the reasons why Scotland places so much importance on staging the world’s biggest and best golf events.
“In the short term accommodation providers, visitor attractions, golf courses, restaurants and many more businesses certainly feel the benefit from golf events. In the long term, with such vast numbers of spectators attending and stunning television shots of Scotland being beamed across the globe golf events present a unique opportunity to enhance and showcase Scotland not only as the Home of Golf but also a destination for future leisure and business trips.
“We’ve always said that 2014 is not the end and that is illustrated perfectly by the tremendous 2015 we have in store for golf in Scotland. There is simply no better way to follow up 2014 than with The Open at St Andrews, the Women’s British Open at Turnberry and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Gullane alongside many other top-class events which will bring spectators from all over the world to Scotland to watch and play golf.”
The golf tourism economy is currently worth £220m annually to the Scottish economy and supports more than 4,400 jobs. Golf tourism also has benefits to other industries such as the accommodation, retail and food & beverage sectors with golf tourists spending on average 2.5 times more than a regular tourist. Research shows that for every £1 spent on green fees by visitors, an extra £5 is spent on extras such as accommodation, food and retail.
Golf events in Scotland in 2015:
Scottish Hydro Challenge (Spey Valley)
Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Pre-Qualifier (North Berwick)
Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open (Gullane)
The Open (St Andrews)
Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open (Dundonald)
Ricoh Women’s British Open (Trump Turnberry)
Paul Lawrie Saltire Energy Matchplay (Murcar Links)
SSE Scottish Seniors Open (Fairmont St Andrews)
Dunhill Links Championship (St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns)
For more information please visit www.visitscotland.com
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Photographs: Getty Images