Golf tourism is worth an estimated £300 million each year to Scotland's economy

Golf tourism is estimated to bring in almost £300million to Scotland annually, with the 150th Open Championship in St Andrews next week part of an "unprecedented" summer of major events.

The Genesis Scottish Open takes its slot this week in the run-up to The Open, a date secured by VisitScotland and the Scottish Government as part of a new long-term commitment to the event.

It is co-sanctioned for the first time by the DP World Tour and PGA Tour of America, guaranteeing the field is among the strongest ever. To date seven of the top 10 male players in the world are set to tee off at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian.

Following The Open, legends of the men’s game will be in action at Gleneagles, as the King’s Course hosts the fifth Major Championship on the Champions Tour schedule, as The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex returns to Scotland for the first time since 2018.

According to tourism bosses, Scotland continues to lead the way in investment into women’s golf events, supporting the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dundonald Links in Ayrshire later this month, while the AIG Women’s Open will break new ground when it is hosted at Muirfield in August, East Lothian, for the first time.

More than 100,000 spectators are expected to attend these events in addition to the 290,000 expected to flock to the Open in St Andrews.

Visit Scotland chief executive, Malcolm Roughhead said: "No other venue has hosted more Opens than the Old Course and Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods are just some of the famous faces that have crossed the Swilcan Bridge on the way to clinching the Claret Jug in front of the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse."

Roughhead maintains these golf events provide the perfect stage to showcase Scotland’s first class golf regions and courses to the world as well as the wider scenery, attractions and a warm welcome.

Stunning settings like The Renaissance Club in East Lothian, where the Rolex Series event will be staged for the fourth year in a row, being in golf tourists Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

He said: “Golf brings hundreds of thousands of visitors every year from all over the UK and Ireland, USA, Germany and Scandinavia to test themselves at they have seen as spectators and on TV.

"We are very fortunate to have hundreds of exceptional golf courses to suit any budget, many within reach of our cities and main transport hubs. Golf visitors spend more than a typical visitor on extras such as hotels, hospitality, and retail so there is a real incentive for the whole of the tourism industry to appeal to golf fans looking to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the action this summer."

He added: "Golf is one of Scotland’s major selling points to tens of millions of golfers around the globe, with no other country able to match our history or heritage in the game. Written records of golf being played here date back to the Middle Ages and we have some of the oldest golf courses in the world.

"Overall, it is estimated that golf tourism is worth £286 million to Scotland annually, supporting around 4,400 jobs. As well as the tourism boost, the health and well-being aspect of golf was brought into sharp focus during the pandemic as one of the first activities to reopen after lockdown providing exercise and social interaction."

The Old Course at St Andrews famously lets spectators watch the action unfold from just feet away as Tom Watson demonstrated at the 1984 Open Picture: Allsport UK /Allsport.
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