Golf: East Lothian clubs on course to benefit from Ryder Cup

Alex Salmond at North Berwick golf course
Alex Salmond at North Berwick golf course

With golf fever set to hit the country for the Ryder Cup this September, many Scottish golf clubs, tour operators and accommodation providers are reporting an increase in bookings across 2014.

New feedback from VisitScotland’s industry partners shows that pre-booked tee times, advanced bookings for golf and sightseeing tours, and advanced hotel bookings have grown significantly in comparison with 2013.

The Blairgowrie Golf Club, venue of the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup, has seen an 87% rise in advanced bookings from 2013 to 2014 and the pre-booked tee times at Kingsbarns Golf Links for September have risen by one third in comparison with 2013.

Longniddry Golf Club’s advanced bookings are up 50% on September 2013 and Dunbar Golf Club indicated that Scotland being in the global golf spotlight in 2014 has definitely increased their bookings, which are almost full during the Ryder Cup in September.

Tour operators are also feeling the benefit with McLaren Travel, who specialise in golfing and sightseeing tours, estimating that their bookings will be up around 45% in comparison with last year.

VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said: “There’s no doubt that in the last few years Scotland has enjoyed a significantly increased profile on the worldwide golfing stage thanks to being host nation of the 2014 Ryder Cup and it is fantastic to see the industry already feeling the impact, not just for September but throughout the whole of 2014.

“In the short term, the local accommodation, visitor attractions, golf courses, restaurants and many more businesses will certainly feel the benefit. In the long term, with more than 250,000 spectators attending and stunning television shots of Scotland reaching more than half a billion people across the world, this is 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. This year is our springboard, our chance to secure a legacy.

“We have used the global focus on Scotland to upweight our dedicated golf marketing programme, which sees more than £1m targeted annually to promote Scotland throughout the UK and in other key markets overseas.

“Although bookings are strong, with over 550 incredible golf courses and a wide range of accommodation options, there are still plenty of opportunities for those wanting an authentic golfing experience in Scotland, the Home of Golf during Ryder Cup year. We look forward to welcoming you all!”

Christopher Spencer, managing secretary at North Berwick Golf Club, said: “North Berwick Golf Club continues to prove to be a popular venue for visitors from all over the world. Following on from the success of The Open Championship at Muirfield last year, we had double the enquiries for this year compared to those for 2013. So far, this has resulted in a year to date increase of 20% in the number of visitors playing the course, with our usually quieter days of Monday/Tuesday being fully booked.

“ This success is extending into September where we are fully booked from 16th September through until 4th October 2014. The last two years have seen a marked increase in visitors from Australia and New Zealand, whilst our traditional markets from Europe and North America remain strong.”

Rory Davidson, marketing and assistant secretary at Dunbar Golf Club said: “Although September is generally a busy month for us visitor wise, the Ryder Cup being held in Scotland has definitely increased our bookings. We are not completely full around and during the event but getting pretty close!”

Since 2003, VisitScotland, the lead agency delivering Scotland’s commitments around the Ryder Cup, has attended and marketed Scotland as the Home of Golf at more than 50 international events. An upweighted global golf marketing programme, incorporating VisitScotland’s ‘Brilliant Moments’ campaign will also shine the spotlight on the country’s golf courses to help attract more visitors to our fairways.

Gleneagles will host The Ryder Cup on September 23-28 and there are match day and practice day tickets still available to purchase.

On September 24, The SSE Hydro will host the Ryder Cup Gala Concert, a showpiece event boasting top music acts, a full orchestra and Scotland’s major arts bodies. The European and USA Ryder Cup teams will be joined by artists such as Jake Bugg, Nina Nesbitt, Texas, Amy Macdonald, and Nile Rodgers.

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