Golf comes home and brings an £80 million windfall with it

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It’s the home of golf, the Mecca for anyone who has ever swung a club, and this year ‘The Open’ returns to golf’s spiritual birthplace of St Andrews, bringing with it an £80 million benefit for the Scottish economy.

First Minister Alex Salmond outlined the findings of a forecast measuring the economic benefits of the event on the first day of play at the Old Course. Experts at the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University are conducting the research which has been commissioned by the R&A and EventScotland.


It’s the home of golf, the Mecca for anyone who has ever swung a club, and this year ‘The Open’ returns to golf’s spiritual birthplace of St Andrews, bringing with it an £80 million benefit for the Scottish economy.

First Minister Alex Salmond outlined the findings of a forecast measuring the economic benefits of the event on the first day of play at the Old Course. Experts at the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University are conducting the research which has been commissioned by the R&A and EventScotland.

It shows that The Open is expected to generate £35 million for Scotland in visitor spending and £45 million in place marketing effect through over 3,000 hours of global television coverage, a 35 percent increase on last year’s event.

Brand Scotland has withstood quite a storm this last twelve months, from the release of Megrahi to the economic meltdown.  It’s resilience a testimony to the goodwill and affection many people have for this exceptional wee nation and it’s culture, and golf is perhaps our most appreciated export …… along with whisky of course.

This week it isn’t the world cup that is attracting global attention, it’s golf.  Tourism is thriving, helped no doubt by last year’s very successful Homecoming events.

VisitScotland says it is confident of strong international golf tourism numbers this year. Leading US based golf tour operators have reported that 2010 sales for Scotland up to June have risen a staggering 49 per cent against the same period last year.

It isn’t just the traditional markets of North America that are being targetted.  The Orient is also showing potential with China having been identified as a future source of tourism revenue.

During a trade mission to China last week, the First Minister stepped up the drive to attract more Chinese golf tourism with the launch of the first dedicated Scottish golf brochure. Initial reports from Chinese tour operators show they are expecting to exceed their revenue targets from Scotland tours following the visit.

Mr Salmond said:
“This is a great time for golf in Scotland. As one of the world’s greatest golfing nations and the home of the game, our fantastic courses and scenery continue to provide a draw for visitors across the globe.

“Hosting The Open at the prestigious Old Course on the 150th anniversary of the event could bring in £80 million for the Scottish economy. As the only major staged outside the US, this world class championship is the jewel in the crown of our sporting calendar and continues to ensure Scotland shines on the world stage.

“Following on from last week’s Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, as we gear up to towards staging five Women’s Open Championships over the next decade and hosting the Ryder Cup in 2014 we have a fantastic story to tell.

“We have a great tradition in golf and have produced world class golfers over the years. We are working hard to bring forward the next generation of talent and ensure that Scottish golfers regularly feature at the top of the leader board at future events.

“The Scottish Government invests £500,000 in clubgolf, our national junior golf programme, where we are introducing record numbers of young people to the game, with an estimated 41,000 children in P5 set to benefit this year. We are also investing £1 million to support Scotland’s most talented amateur players make the transition to the professional game.

“Golf is a vital part of the fabric of our nation, and we will continue to capitalise on the benefits of the game for years to come.”

So, if you can get up to St Andrews don’t hesitate.  Unless you’re made of sugar you can ignore the inclement weather and watch the worlds best golfers as they take on ‘the old course’ in a bid to win the most prestigious championship in golf, at the home of golf.