Friday, October 31, 2008

Dundonald Links Secure Qualifying

GTS member, Dundonald Links is to be used as one of the venues for the First Qualifying Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School for the next three years.

The Ayrshire links, which is the sister course of Loch Lomond, became the first Scottish course to be used as a venue for a European Tour Qualifying School event when it hosted one of the six Stage 1 qualifying tournaments this summer and now the deal has been extended through 2009, 2010 and 2011 with next year’s event being played between September 15th and 18th, 2008.

Next year, Dundonald Links will host two prestigious international events, the other being the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy, to be played on September 8-10.

“We are delighted to extend the agreement which saw us host a Stage 1 event for the first time this September and are confident we can build on its success,” said John Caven, the Director of Operations at both Loch Lomond and Dundonald Links.“This year we weren’t blessed with great weather, but we did receive lot of positive feedback from competitors and feel sure our continued involvement with the Tour School can only enhance the profile of the course.”

Tom Morris in Machrihanish

Published in the Campbeltown Courier on 31st October, 2008

A group of American golf operators touring Scottish courses were given a history lesson they’ll never forget on Monday night at The Old Clubhouse, Machrihanish.
Just before dinner was served, Old Tom Morris himself arrived and gave them a talk on the history of golf.
Tom Morris Senior is remembered as a pioneer of golf; he was a champion, course designer and club-maker.
He helped to set up the Open Championship and played in every one of them until 1896. His portrait still hangs in the R&A at St Andrew’s, a course he helped to design.
He designed the Machrihanish course and the new Machrihanish Dunes Course, which will open next year has been designed in the spirit of Old Tom Morris and is being marketed as ‘This is the way golf began’.
David Joy, golf historian and writer, gave an impressive performance as Old Tom.
The golfers were one of seven groups that have toured Scotland in the last seven weeks, visiting different courses to promote golf tourism.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Highland Flights from Germany

Lufthansa airlines will be running a Saturday only service from Inverness Airport to Dusseldorf in Germany from 20th June to 12th September, for a trial period. The flights which will start from £90 return(inclusive of airport tax, sandwich and a drink) will have 70 seats with business and economy services.

Dusseldorf is one of Germany's most prosperous areas and houses Europe's largest Japanese community and is less than two hours away by air and it is hoped that the route may become permanent.

Lufthansa’s general manager for the UK and Ireland, said the Highlands would be popular with German tourists who enjoy hiking and golf. With proposed marketing activity in Germany next year for the golf market this route could be a nice wee add on for GTS members looking for new markets.

Friday, October 24, 2008

PGA Appoint Strategic Head of Golf Development

According to a press release the PGA in Scotland have appointed a new administrator to play a key role in the the development of One Plan For Golf in Scotland. GTS have been playing a role to date in this but as of yet have no indication how this appointment will interface with the development of Golf Tourism within the framework but we will keep the members up to date when we find out more. The full copy is outlined below for information:-

The PGA has appointed one of Scotland’s leading sporting administrators to spearhead the Association’s role in the ‘One Plan for Golf in Scotland’. The former director of sportscotland, Colin Pearson has brought his 18-year career with the organisation to an end to take on the role of Strategic Head of Golf Development (Scotland) with the PGA.

The 52-year-old, who takes up his post on 3rd November, will bring a wealth of experience to the PGA and will work with a number of key stakeholders including other golfing bodies, local authorities, the Scottish Assembly and national government to ensure the PGA is at the forefront of golf development in Scotland.

Pearson, who will be primarily based in Edinburgh, has previously worked on a number of golf development projects including the Scottish Junior Golf Programme and Scotland’s 2009 Ryder Cup bid, which ultimately saw the nation given the 2014 event at Gleneagles.

It is that experience the PGA will be looking to utilise, particularly with golf’s profile due to rise in the build-up to the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014.

“The One Plan for Scotland means I’ll be working with other organisations like the Scottish Golf Union, Scottish Ladies Golf Association and the Golf Foundation to produce a plan for developing golf and obtaining the funding,” said Colin.

“It will bring the partners closer together and I aim to bring my experience of working with local authorities, the Scottish Assembly and the private sector to the table. I want to look at the bigger picture and see what we’re trying to achieve and how it’s best to do that.

“I don’t come from a golfing background and I can look at how the sport can develop from a different perspective.”

The PGA’s director of education and training Dr Kyle Phillpots explained the reasoning behind the appointment and the need for a hands-on approach.

“The PGA wants to play a full role in developing golf in Scotland and to work with other organisations in producing one plan,” he said. “We recognised that we needed to create this role to enable us to do that and have someone with the skills and background to play a full part in carrying out that aim.”

GTS Young Industry Person Nominations

Nominations for the category of Young Industry Person were open to any person under the age of 30 on 1st of October 2008 employed or involved in providing services to the golf tourism industry in Scotland, whether employees of public and private sector bodies, volunteers or students.
  • Grant Cooper, Retail Supervisor, Kingsbarns GL
  • Leanne Lawrie, Tour Co-ordinator, Links Golf St Andrews
  • Fraser Liston, Golf Retail & Operations Supervisor, Fairmont St Andrews
  • Alexander Macdonald, Head Greenkeeper, Golspie GC
  • Caroline Price, Client Services Manager, Drumgolf

This category remains different to all other nominations as the final decision is made after interview. The panel will be meeting with the nominations on Monday for brief interviews. Good luck to all involved!

2009 European Tour Schedule

The European Tour schedule, with its new "Race to Dubai" moniker - (is it just me or does it sound a bit like an episode of The Wacky Races - "... the Ant Hill Mob enter the first bend ahead of Dick Dastardly and Darren Clark in his turbo powered golf buggy in this ultimate Race to Dubai...").

Anyway for marketing purposes here is the list. Fraser Cromarty and Lee Derrick from Golf Tourism Scotland are currently working with VisitScotland and EventScotland in scheduling key golf tourism marketing activity for the events next year in key and developing markets. If you've any thought s please comment below.


6-9 HSBC Champions Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China
20-23 UBS Hong Kong Open Hong Kong GC, Fanling, Hong Kong
27-30 Australian Masters Huntingdale GC, Melbourne, Australia

11-14 Alfred Dunhill Championship Leopard Creek, Mpumalanga, South Africa

18-21 South African Open Championship Pearl Valley Golf Estates, Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa


8-11 Joburg Open Royal Johannesburg & Kensington GC, Johannesburg, South Africa
15-18 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, UAE
22-25 Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy Doha GC, Doha, Qatar
29-Feb 1 Dubai Desert Classic Emirates GC, Dubai, UAE
5-8 EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters Delhi GC, New Delhi, India
12-15 Maybank Malaysian Open TBA
19-22 Johnnie Walker Classic The Vines Resort & Country Club, Perth, Western Australia
25-1 Mar WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship Ritz-Carlton GC, Dove Mountain, USA
6-1 Mar Indonesia Open New Kuta GC, Bali, Indonesia
12-15 WGC – CA Championship Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Doral, Florida, USA
19-22 Madeira Islands Open BPI - Portugal TBA
26-29 Open de Andalucia TBA
2-5 Estoril Open de Portugal Oitavos Dunes, Estoril, Portugal
9-12 MASTERS TOURNAMENT Augusta National, Georgia, USA
16-19 Volvo China Open Beijing CBD International GC, Beijing, China
23-26 Ballantine's Championship Pinx GC, Jeju Island, South Korea
30-3 May Open de España TBA
7-10 Italian Open TBA
14-17 The Irish Open TBA
21-24 BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP Wentworth Club, Surrey, England
28-31 The European Open TBA
4-7 The Celtic Manor Wales Open The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, South Wales
11-14 Austrian Golf Open Fontana GC, Vienna, Austria
18-21 US OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP Bethpage State Park (Black Course), New York, USA
18-21 SAINT-OMER OPEN presented by Neuflize OBC Aa Saint Omer GC, Lumbres, France
25-28 BMW International Open Golfclub München Eichenried, Munich, Germany
2-5 Open de France ALSTOM Le Golf National, Paris, France
9-12 The Barclays Scottish Open Loch Lomond GC, Glasgow, Scotland
16-19 THE 138th OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP Ailsa Course, Turnberry, Ayrshire, Scotland
23-26 SAS Masters Barsebäck G&CC, Skåne, Sweden
30-2 Aug Czech Golf Open Prosper Golf Resort, Čeladná, Czech Republic
6-9 WGC – Bridgestone Invitational Firestone CC, Akron, Ohio, USA
13-16 US PGA CHAMPIONSHIP Hazeltine National GC, Chaska, Minnesota, USA
13-16 The English Open St Mellion International Resort, Cornwall, England
20-23 The KLM Open Kennemer G&CC, Zandvoort, The Netherlands
27-30 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland
3-6 Omega European Masters Crans-sur-Sierre, Crans Montana, Switzerland
10-13 Mercedes-Benz Championship Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof, Cologne, Germany
17-20 British Masters TBA
24-27 Canal + Open TBA
24-27 Volvo World Match Play Championship Finca Cortesin GC, Malaga, Spain
1-4 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Old Course, St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns
8-11 Madrid Masters Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
8-11 *Seve Trophy TBA
15-18 Portugal Masters Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, Portugal
22-25 CASTELLÓ MASTERS Costa Azahar Club de Campo del Mediterráneo, Castellón, Spain
29-1 Nov TBA TBA
5-8 HSBC Champions Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China
12-15 UBS Hong Kong Open Hong Kong GC, Fanling, Hong Kong
19-22 THE DUBAI WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, UAE
26-29 *Omega Mission Hills World Cup Mission Hills GC, China

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crunch Time For Irish Golf?

The following article appeared in the Irish Times - it's long but it really should be read by everyone involved with the Golf tourism industry in Scotland.

THE TERM "Credit Crunch" has quickly become a redundant phrase. It's become too understated, no longer sufficient to describe the severity of these troubled times of economic hardship when global markets face financial meltdown and, heaven forbid, golf clubs in Ireland have to drop often exorbitant entrance fees to attract new members.

For well over a decade Ireland has had it good, ever since the Celtic Tiger roared into town, and quickly cash became king. It was thrown about like confetti on whatever notion took the fancy. Five-figure sums to simply join clubs - not to mention annual subscriptions - were waved off as gleaming cars straight from the showroom pulled into club carparks all over the country.

Now it appears to be time to take stock, to show a certain restraint, as people from all walks wait to see how this global financial crisis will ripple down and affect them.

Without golf the world would still keep spinning, but the fact is this game for all ages has been a cornerstone of the Irish tourism industry for many years, contributing millions to the treasury coffers long before the Ryder Cup circus descended on Kildare in 2006.

Over 440 clubs in Ireland are affiliated to the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and the Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU), with many suggesting this segment of the tourism industry had already become a saturated market.

Other factors also come into play, with some pointing to less international exposure for Ireland as a golfing destination since Fáilte Ireland stepped back after the Ryder Cup at The K Club.
Ireland has also been a victim of its success as our Celtic cousins, Scotland and Wales, noted the successful Irish way and have been promoting their products heavily in the run up to hosting the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales 2010 and Gleneagles in Scotland 2014.
Within this industry framework clubs might fall into several generic categories, ranging from the established private members clubs to the more recent resort complexes and other commercial ventures.

By their very nature, each type of establishment is exposed to and affected to a greater or lesser extent by what happens in the global marketplace. But one thing they all have in common is the need to generate green fee revenues while ensuring membership retention.

Waterville Golf Links in Kerry has certainly felt the pinch this year - and they are not alone.
"Our numbers are down a lot this year, probably about 25 per cent, but I have to say, the poor summer has been as bad as any recession," explains former Ireland international Noel Cronin, secretary-manager at Waterville.

"We rely heavily on overseas visitors, particularly the American market which accounts for anything up to 75 per cent of our green fee revenue.

"It's the same problem everywhere and the weak dollar is a huge factor for us."

Waterville is a privately-owned company, which leases the club and facilities to members, and the club is one of the main stop-offs for overseas visitors who come to play some of Ireland's best links courses.

"A lot of our business is generated through tour operators, plus we're part of the South West of Ireland Golf Swing along with Ballybunion, Lahinch, Tralee, Ceann Sibéal and Dooks," adds Cronin.

"We all pull together, with Paddy O'Looney and Brendan Keogh doing a lot of good work for us on the marketing side at trade shows all over the world."

Cronin also said losing transatlantic flights into Shannon has had a "big impact on the region".
Waterville will ride the storm, but they have had to become creative to attract business and early morning or late afternoon green fees can be obtained for €115 instead of the €180 rack rate. During winter, rates will drop to €60 midweek or €75 at weekends, while the closed membership is expected to open again next year.

Even Killarney Golf Fishing Club, a former Irish Open venue, hasn't been immune to the downturn. This idyllic setting on the Killarney Lakes, with three top-rate courses, doesn't rely as heavily on the American market but has experienced a sharp decline in the second half of this year.

"We are finding it a difficult year. We were okay up to June, but it has really nose-dived since then. In these circumstances it's very much a case of cutting your cloth," explains Maurice O'Meara, Killarney general manager, who has been forced to put his staff on a three-day working week from Monday until next March.

"We estimate we are going to be down 20 per cent on our green fee revenue, but the current climate is also impacting on new members joining. That's a big issue from a joining fee perspective."

That joining fee is currently €15,000, but annual membership is relatively low at €720, considering the three courses and fishing entitlement. Like Waterville, O'Meara also cited the poor weather as a major problem.

"Right across the board golf clubs have become more price sensitive this year, and though we've had to make some very tough decisions this year we'll trade our way out of this. To be honest, my concerns are for next year because I think the corporate market will be non-existent," added O'Meara, who is also working closely with local hotels to put attractive overnight packages together.

"We're all competitors but we're working together on this one."

Strandhill Golf Club in Sligo operates on more modest numbers, with the entrance fee costing €700, the same as the annual subscription, but they too are feeling the effects of the current climate.

"Most golf clubs are struggling at the moment and we will run at a loss this year. Because of the financial situation we have had to cut way back in administration costs," explains Cyril Devins, who runs the pro shop at Strandhill. Their secretary-manager has gone to a three-day week.
Strandhill's more illustrious neighbour, Co Sligo Golf Club, was forced to make their secretary-manager redundant to cut costs. This is surprising given the club is renowned as one of the finest links courses in Ireland.

At the other end of the scale to the Strandhills of this world, The K Club and Old Head Golf Links in Kinsale still charge top dollar. The standard joining fee at The K Club is a staggering €80,000, with annual subs €6,950.

The Palmer and Smurfit course green fees are normally €380 and €230 respectively, but have dropped to €195 and €125 for winter. Old Head is very much geared to the corporate market, but single green fees start at €295.

Some of the private member clubs, particularly those near city centres, appear to be better placed to cope in times of recession. Peter Ribiero at Delgany Golf Club puts part of that down to location and a strong membership base.

"Fortunately we're not like a resort development or commercial venture whose business model relies on property sales. Although we rely on our membership base, we also need to compete for green fee business and in challenging times you need new ideas," explains Delgany's secretary-manager Ribeiro.

Aside from full membership, Delgany also offer a five-day clubhouse membership with limited playing rights. There is no joining fee and costs less than €1,000 - depending on the exact specification - a clubhouse member will get "X-number of green fees per annum and be eligible for up to four competitions a year, plus obtain an affiliated handicap".

John McCormack is secretary-manager at Castle Golf in Rathfarnham and he, too, believes location plays a crucial role. McCormack is also president of the Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE) and believes investing in people in difficult times is crucial.

"In a downturn you should invest in people. The businesses that will survive are the ones with the best service and product. That's why both at the Castle and through CMAE we work very hard on ongoing education," says McCormack.

"We're already operating in a very saturated market and we have seen new golf developments being halted or plans restricted because money is tight. Thankfully I believe the Castle is insulated from the economic downturn better than most."

Other ventures are not so fortunate, with some either having to reduce their entrance fees or in the worst-case development, work simply stops.

Carrigglas in Longford was to have been designed by Retief Goosen, but this multi-million euro project came to a grinding halt earlier this year. Pádraig Harrington's first venture into course design at The Marlbrook, near Clonmel, suffered a similar fate as the owners, the Kent family, put the project on hold.

For others there has been the need to reduce prices to more realistic levels.

Paul McGinley designed his first course at Macreddin Golf Club in the Wicklow Mountains where the full 18 holes opened in July, but they've already had to review the numbers at this €12 million development.

Membership was originally set at a €30,000 redeemable preference share entrance fee with a €1,500 annual subscription, but the current climate caused that to drop to €8,000.

The Darren Clarke-designed Moyvalley Golf Club in Kildare were forced to reduce their entrance fee from €17,500 to €10,000, with annual subscriptions €1,250.

Castleknock Golf Club went a step further and introduced a completely new membership option. Instead of their original €30,000 preference share joining fee and €1,500 annual membership, they have introduced option two, with no joining fee and annual subscriptions set at €2,750.
But it's not doom and gloom everywhere. Bunclody Golf and Fishing Club in Wexford appear to be bucking the trend and have had a strong membership pick-up ahead of their official opening early next year.

"It's a local consortium of 13 people, 12 from Bunclody and one from Carlow, who are behind the development which has an investment of over €20 million," explains Michel O'Carroll, general manager at Bunclody.

To play the Jeff Howes design, preference share entrance is €8,000, with annual fees €1,200. O'Carroll said they got great feedback from the open weekend and advertisements they ran during the Ryder Cup and hope to have membership up to 350 by the end of the month.
"Had we launched three, four years ago the fees would have been considerably higher, but there's no point in being unrealistic. I'd say we're one of the few (developments) with a positive story at the moment," added O'Carroll.

Ballyliffin Golf Club is one of the great outposts of Irish links golf on the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal. They boast two wonderfully natural links courses, The Old Course and The Glashedy, where the Senior Irish Open was held last year.

"It's still business as usual but things have certainly tightened up. We haven't had much of a hit this year but we are expecting a drop next year," says John Farren, general manager at Ballyliffin, who is thankful for a vibrant club with over 1,400 members.

Ballyliffin started Friday open competitions for €30 to attract visitors, but they have also tapped into the local hotels to encourage overnight stays. "The latest thing we are doing is overnight stays where residents can get their green fees for as little as €50. It suits us and it suits the hotels, and if we can get people to stay then they spend a few quid in the local economy," adds Farren, who still remains upbeat.

"There's no doubt like everyone else we are feeling the pinch, but there's no panic buttons being pressed just yet."

With economic uncertainty set to rumble on for some time yet, clubs all over Ireland have been forced to consolidate, reassess and become altogether more efficient to ride out this economic storm. In a bizarre sort of way, it's a good time to play somewhere new when there's real value for money on offer.


  • K CLUB: Joining fee - €80,000; annual subscription - €6,950. Green fees: Palmer - €380 (€195 winter) Smurfit - €230 (€125 winter)
  • KILLARNEY GOLF AND FISHING CLUB: Joining - €15,000; annual - €720.
  • MACREDDIN: Joining - was €30,000 redeemable preference share, now €8,000; annual - €1,500
  • MOYVALLEY: Joining - was €17,500, now €10,000; annual - €1,250.
  • WATERVILLE: Joining - closed, re-opens next year. Green fees - €115 instead of €180 rack rate; winter €60 midweek, €75 weekend
  • STRANDHILL: Joining fee - €700; annual subscription - €700
  • OLD HEAD OF KINSALE: Green fees - start at €295.
  • DELGANY - Alongside full membership, five-day membership: joining - free; annual - up to €1,000
  • CASTLEKNOCK: Joining - was €30,000 preference share, now free; annual - €1,500, now €2,750.
  • BUNCLODY: Joining - €8,000; annual - €1,200

Annual Awards Nominations Announced

A full list of the nominations for the Golf Tourism Scotland annual awards to be held this yar at Cameron House have now been published. For the first time ever these will be voted for in their entirety by the membership of Scotland's golf tourism body.
The full list list is available by visiting the Awards Page on the GTS website

Sunday, October 19, 2008

As ithers see us...

Sometimes it's just worth crawling the blogs to get an angle on how we are seen by our visitors. Whilst not the most gramatically correct narrative it nonetheless gives a genuine insight to how one traveller saw the pilgrimage to Scotland. Tellingly it revolves around St Andrews and The Old Course. Interesting description of our food and caddies amongst other things.
You know our market research is out there and available direct form source...

A Pilgrimage to St Andrews

De Vere Plans Golf Resort for South East

According to The Scotsmand property developer Manor Kingdom Estates and luxury hotel operator De Vere have teamed up to create a five-star resort in the Scottish Borders which they say will create 300 jobs and invest up to £50m in the Rutherford Castle Hotel resort in West Linton. Planning permission is being sought from Scottish Borders Council with hopes for a response before the end of the year.

A spokesman for Manor Kingdom said southeast Scotland lacks a luxury resort hotel on a par with Cameron House, Turnberry in Ayrshire and St Andrews Bay Hotel.

He said: "Rutherford Castle offers easy access to the city of Edinburgh and the airport. It will attract international visitors to the Scottish Borders and retain them for a longer stay."

Prestwick Honour Professional

By Mike Aitken in The Scotsman

NEGLECTED in an unmarked grave for 140 years, buried in a churchyard which overlooks the first green at Prestwick, the club which employed him as a professional, Andrew Strath has finally received acknowledgement for winning the Open championship in 1865 and ending the duopoly of Old Tom Morris and Willie Park senior.

Ian Bunch, the secretary of Prestwick Golf Club and one of the founding members of Golf Tourism Scotland took up the story and explained to The Scotsman the joint venture with the council to commemorate a forgotten past Open champion came about.

Public records confirmed that Strath was buried in the graveyard overlooking Prestwick. "When he died of tuberculosis at the age of just 32, money was collected by the members of the club which went to his widow. But with a family to raise and bills to pay, there wasn't enough for a gravestone. When we found out about this, we spoke to South Ayrshire council and told them there was an Open champion in an unmarked grave. We wanted to do something and they said they wanted to be involved. So we did it together."

The full story can be read on the online pages of The Scotsman

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chairman’s Report 2008

With reference to the Golf Tourism Scotland AGM on Thursday 13th November please find attached the Chairman’s Report for 2008. As advised in the Annual General meeting papers sent out to the membership on 3rd October, Gary Wilkinson of Wilkinson Golf & Leisure recently tendered his resignation as Chairman. Executive Board member Nick Hunter, of Niche Marketing & Training, is the Interim Chairman until the AGM.

Report by Nick Hunter, Niche Marketing & Training
Interim Chairman of Golf Tourism Scotland

Dear Member,

In last year’s Report, Chairman Gary Wilkinson stated that:

“Golf Tourism Scotland is now well into its third year, a year which I believe will be our most critical for some years to come. Looking back over the first two years a lot of what we have achieved has been done by many other trade organisations around the country...but what we seem to be lacking is a membership who actually want to be part of shaping the future of golf tourism in Scotland.”

This situation is obviously not the exclusive preserve of GTS, as many membership organisations report the same issue. Neither can it be said to be universal across the whole GTS membership, as in some parts of the country commitment is very definitely being shown at a local level. For example, Golf Tourism Ayrshire, steered by Ian Bunch of Prestwick GC, continues to make progress as a regional golf group sharing ideas and best practice.

However, at the risk of repeating ourselves, apart from a few members who regularly pass comment on all the issues we raise or respond to requests for feedback, we do still wonder if there is an appetite amongst the golf tourism sector to genuinely influence the future direction of the industry as a collective voice – or is there a preference or acceptance just to allow slippage back to the fractured and individualistic approach of the past? Given today’s economic and political climate, your Board firmly believes that an informed collective approach is the way forward, but to achieve this we must regularly hear your voice and secure your views!

Following the AGM last year, the Executive Board took to heart constructive criticism from the floor regarding the perceived lack of communication to the membership. As a result the following actions have been undertaken:

  • a thorough review of the database completed, in order to ensure that future information is sent to the most relevant people in each organisation
  • RSS newsfeeds instigated, enabling automatic downloads of information to members’ email inboxes
  • weekly updates of the website
  • a National Workshop, held in July, which was designed to be highly interactive and engage opinion from both floor and platform
  • a newsletter issued during EXPO 2008, which provided up-to-date news on events and activities

However, as advertising guru David Ogilvy once said “good communication is a two-way street”. With the exception of the National Workshop, most of the communication has been one-way. We once again urge you to pass on your ideas and comments.

Your Board continues to press the private-sector case for golf tourism at government level and with the public agencies. In fact, most of the past 12 months seems to have been taken up by our efforts to ensure that the various organisations – purseholders of substantial public funds – benefit from our collective experience as an industry. Prior to our National Workshop in July at Ayr we openly expressed our frustration that for much of the past decade golf tourism has suffered from a series of badly thought-out promotions, communication structures and initiatives imposed upon it from above.

Since its inception, Golf Tourism Scotland has wanted to ensure that the public sector secures best value from the estimated £1 million annual marketing budget for golf, which should then leverage more private support (private sector marketing on golf in Scotland is conservatively estimated to be 3 times the value of public sector funding). GTS has recently taken part in the first planning meeting with VisitScotland, EventScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Golf Union, aimed at establishing better lines of communication and joint decision-making that includes, rather than ignores, the vast knowledge and experience on offer from the private sector.

Key to the future success of this group will be the willingness of all parties to put aside past grievances, previous non-negotiable positions and any mutual suspicion. Progress is being made and already, there is a move to establish which international golf tournaments can be used more effectively to market Scottish golf; to make hard decisions about Business to Business events such the PGA Show at Orlando or the EXPO golf tournament; and develop a series of workshops around the country where key issues can be addressed and the wider golf community can meet and engage.

We’re also pleased to report that the 2008 National Golf Tourism Monitor (a crucial instrument in measuring visiting golfer data), commissioned by VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise and supported by both the Scottish Golf Union and the Scottish Region of the Club Managers Association of Europe, is just completing its first season under new management. A total of 98 courses have registered to take part (far more than previous years). Where possible, preliminary monthly reports have been compared with 2007 and clear information is starting to emerge about patterns of business, which should help courses identify their market positioning and promotional effectiveness more accurately. The returns from courses will also be used to calculate the value of golf tourism more accurately than has been previously possible, a vital tool to assist the public agencies with their strategies and make maximum use of budgets.

Our association in the past year has achieved a great deal, but more remains to be done in what we are acutely aware are challenging economic conditions. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the AGM and Annual Awards Dinner on Thursday 13th November at the De Vere Cameron House. Please come along to add your contribution to the Scottish golf debate, then enjoy the company of your associates at what will be a cracking evening.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Hunter
Interim Chairman GTS

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Days of RBS Sponsorship of Golf Over?

According to The Telegraph Government sources said they would make it clear to Stephen Hester, who will replace Sir Fred Goodwin as chief executive of RBS, that the bank will have to stop activities associated with its days building a global banking empire.
RBS attracted criticism a few years ago when it emerged that the bank leased a luxury jet which was based in Paris and used by Sir Fred. The bank justified the jet on the grounds that its chief executive used the French-made Falcon 900 EX to travel to the sprawling parts of RBS, which include China and the US.

The jet will be among the first assets to be let go, sources said. They added that the Government had already questioned why RBS sponsors Formula 1. This has particularly come into the spotlight as the final round this year is in Brazil, where RBS has a very limited presence.
Government insiders also believe that RBS does not need to sponsor the British and American golf Opens. RBS may also have to end its relationship with its golf "ambassador", Jack Nicklaus.
There is a view that its sponsorship of the Six Nations rugby tournament makes sense, as it involves countries where RBS is very active.

Mr Hester insisted on Monday that the Government would not interfere with RBS's commercial decisions. But sources close to the Government pointed out that the Treasury has the right to have input on the appointment of three new non-executive directors and that those individuals will be expected to ensure the Government's interests are looked after and that the bank is not run in a way which will embarrass ministers.

Junior Golf Tour for Scotland

SCOTLAND'S first ever junior golf tour was launched at the home of golf yesterday with the aim of producing a new generation of stars capable of competing on the world stage.
Dean Robertson, the former European Tour player and winner of the 1999 Italian Open, is spearheading the bold venture, which has secured a five-figure three-year sponsorship deal with leading UK asset-based lending company Mathon.Robertson, who will be assisted by fellow coaches Kendal McWade and Steven Orr, is targeting talented golfers between the ages of nine and 14, and yesterday 30 of the brightest youngsters began competing in a two-day stroke play competition at St Andrews.
Robertson, who is looking forward to working closely with the Scottish Golf Union, will travel round the country with his fellow coaches to provide coaching sessions and fun skill development days alongside stroke play competitions.A number of Scotland's top courses, including Carnoustie, Turnberry, Dalmahoy, The Dukes and Strathtyrum, have also pledged their support for the Mathon Junior Golf Tour, which will run until the end of April.
"We are aiming to nurture the best young golfers in Scotland and to provide them with the best environment to develop their talent and to build their self-confidence," Robertson said. "Our vision is for Scotland to once again be the number one golfing nation in the world, and we believe this tour is an essential part of the jigsaw to make that happen."The tour has won backing from several of the country's top professionals including Bathgate's Stephen Gallacher, whose seven-year-old son, Jack, has already shown promise.
Gallacher said: "What Dean is doing is a great thing. He is very passionate about this junior tour and when he is passionate about something he puts everything into it. It is important youngsters learn good habits and etiquette. But there is also the fun factor which goes once you get beyond a certain age. So it's important that these youngsters also have fun as well as playing tournaments on good golf courses."Mind you, Scottish golf is not in as bad a state as some would try to have you believe. Scotland does well for a small country, but it is also important that we keep developing good young players and Dean is someone the kids will look up to because not many players can say they have won a European Tour event.
Article from The Scotsman 15/10/08

Nairn Dunbar Golf Club Recruiting Club Manager

Due to the imminent retirement of current incumbent Scott Falconer applications are being sought by Nairn Dunbar Golf Club for the post of Club Manager.
Candidates need to have a proven managerial ability, sound financial appreciation, good IT experience, excellent communciation skills and a keen interest in golf.
The successful applicant will receive a salary commensurate with experience and ability.
Application and details can be downloaded from the Nairn Dunbar website or telephone the Club manager on 01667 452741 and applications must in any case be received by 31st October 2008.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

VisitScotland Asks For Your Ideas!

If you would like an opportunity to influence the future of Business to Business golf tourism VS would like to hear from you. Following a constructive meeting in Edinburgh recently – at which Golf Tourism Scotland, the Scottish Golf Union, Scottish Enterprise, Highland & Islands Enterprise, EventScotland and VS all participated – it was agreed that a special group should be convened to review the specific issue of B2B marketing events/exhibitions and policies.

Two of our Directors – Fraser Cromarty of Castle Stuart Golf Links and Lee Derrick of De Vere Cameron House – will represent GTS on the group but there is also a third position available for a non-executive member of the association. If you feel that you would like to contribute your views and experience in any way towards the shaping of future plans please either let us know us at or contact Melanie Angus of VisitScotland directly on 0131 472 2336 or via

The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 22nd September. Even if you are not available on this date please do step forward if you are interested. As an organisation we’ve lobbied hard with the public agencies to get meaningful representation, and any contribution you might be able to make could go a long way to ensuring the voice of the private sector is heard loud and clear.

VisitScotland Tourism Growth Fund

A number of members have requested information on seeking additional marketing funds for 2009. GTS are now looking at projects with VisitScotland at a strategic level but felt that members could be made more aware of what is available for joint projects. The fund could be used for regional initiatives or cross sectoral marketing of events and promotions. The following is from the website.
"The VisitScotland Growth Fund is a project part-financed by the European Union, designed to encourage new and collaborative marketing activity that attracts more visitors to Scotland and makes it easier for them to book their visit. The Growth Fund builds on the success of the Challenge Fund which, over two years, (February 2005 to May 2007):

  • awarded £1.35million
  • supported 100 successful groups and
  • worked with over 3000 individual tourism businesses throughout Scotland.
The Growth Fund is designed to assist the tourism industry in reaching the ambitious 50% growth target by 2015 and to further cement Scotland’s reputation as a world class destination. If you're interested you should note the following:
  • Max of 40% towards total project costs up to a maximum of £65,000
  • group has to be formally constituted
  • contributions are towards well researched and articulated marketing programmes that will contribute to increased visitors and visitor spend etc.
Applications are welcomed from tourism groups throughout Scotland. For further information on the fund and application process click on the links to Growth Fund

Eco-friendly golf course to open in Scotland

By Paul Kelbie, The Telegraph
Last Updated: 5:01pm BST 10/10/2008

The future of golf is in the past, or at least that's what the creators of the world's most environmentally friendly golf course believe.
When Machrihanish Dunes opens to the public next Spring it will be the first true links course on the west coast of Scotland for more than 100 years and the only one ever to be built on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The course will be the first true links course to be built on the west cost of Scotland for more than 100 years. Gone are the artificially lush coloured fairways and manicured greens so familiar to parkland golfers around the world, instead Machrihanish Dunes has gone back to the history books to create a course in keeping with the way golf began.

No chemicals, pesticides, heavy machinery or even artificial irrigation systems are allowed on the 270 acres of windswept sand dunes bordering the Atlantic with panoramic views of the islands of Gigha, Islay and Jura.

Instead nature and nurture have been combined to create a haven for both golfers and wildlife as rare Hebridean sheep graze the fairways and out-of-bounds areas protect rare orchids.

While Donald Trump awaits the Scottish government's decision over whether he can build a £1bn resort on the ecologically important sand dunes of Balmedie near Aberdeen, environmentalists and golf course designers have co-operated to create a champion-class course on the other side of the country.
Machrihanish, near Campbeltown and close to the Mull of Kintyre 18 miles from the coast of Northern Ireland, is already famous among golfers.

The existing Machrihanish course, which sits next to the new one and was designed by revered Victorian golfer 'Old' Tom Morris, is said to have the best opening hole in the world.

Created by David McLay Kidd, an influential golf course architect with a track record which includes the renowned Bandon Dunes course in Oregon, the Queenwood in Surrey and the new 'Castle' course at St Andrews, it is envisaged Machrihanish Dunes will benefit the local economy to the tune of more than £18m a year.

"We took a lot of convincing because the initial thought was this isn't something we want to hear about - a golf course on a SSSI," said Stan Philips, Scottish Natural Heritage's area officer for Mid Argyll and Kintyre.

However, after the developers carried out an environmental impact assessment and recorded every species of importance on the site, SNH were able to negotiate a design which avoided endangering scientifically important areas and preserve parts which had been under threat from trail bikers and other misuse.
Machrihanish Dunes will be the first true links course to be built on a Site of Special Scientific Interest Machrihanish Dunes will be the first golf course to be built on a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
"The fairways went on the less interesting ground, the greens and tees went on the areas which weren't of any special interest and those parts of the site considered important were declared out-of-bounds," said Mr Philips.

Among the species of special interest Machrihanish is home to several species of orchids, some of them very rare - including March orchids, Frog orchids and Pyramidal orchids.

Many of the plant species need the grazing of animals in order to thrive and Machrihanish has found sheep provide the expert solution to maintaining the environment and keeping down the rough areas.

"Of the total 279 acres only seven acres have been altered or cultivated in any way," said Euan Grant, former head green keeper at the Old Course St Andrews, who is in day-to-day charge of the project.

"There is no artificial drainage anywhere on the course and the green keeping team is not allowed to use fertiliser, pesticides or any plant growth regulators on areas other than the greens and tees.

"We are not allowed to manage the rest of the site at all really other than mowing the fairways. Even the roughs are managed by sheep."

A flock of around 50 Hebridean Black sheep will feed and maintain the delicate ecological balance of the area over the winter.

"It was important that we got Hebridean Blacks because there aren't many flocks of them left," said Brian Keating, the Australian businessman behind the £30m project, of the small, short-tailed, horned sheep adept at foraging scrub land.

"We've got nine just now but are expecting 50 of them this winter. They belong in this terrain and we wanted a species that was at home here."

Links were the first golf courses ever to be developed. Located in coastal areas, on sandy soil, amid dunes, with few trees and water hazards the game was built around the lie of the land.

"On a normal golf course you've got lots of heavy machinery running about all over the place but on this project that is out of the question," said Paul Kimber, architect with DMK Golf Design.

"It was a real balancing act between the needs of the golf course and the natural environment - but in the end it was extremely worthwhile.

"It was all done with a very light touch. We didn't remove any flora and didn't bring anything in which wasn't there in the first place.

"We used what nature has provided to shape the golf green and if the area was especially precious we would lift the turf by hand and put it back in exactly the same way after it was finished.

"It was very labour intensive. Machrihanish Dunes is probably the closest you can get to a hand built golf course today."

Following the success of working with environmentalists the Machrihanish team has already teamed up with developers Credential Holdings to create another champion links course called The Ayrshire close to the world-famous Royal Troon Golf Club.

"A links golf course is the only sustainable form of the game. We can't continue to build golf courses that cost zillions of dollars to maintain." said Malcolm Campbell, chairman of The Links Association which was set up to represent 172 real links courses around the world.

"It's just not feasible to put millions of gallons of water on a golf course everyday and over seed them at vast expense just to make them green.

"A links course is much cheaper to build and maintain, therefore making the game more accesible to people."

Russia trip to attract tourists

From The Press Association

Leading members of the Scottish tourism industry will showcase their country's charms on a visit to Russia this week in a bid to attract high-spending visitors.
They hope Russians' taste for golf, whisky and Robert Burns will draw them to the country as it gears up for Homecoming Scotland 2009, a year-long celebration of Scottish culture.

During their trip the VisitScotland trade mission aim to show Russian travel agents and tour operators exactly what Scotland has to offer for leisure and business visitors.
The Daily Record covered it too with the following additional information;
"Eighteen businesses - including tour operators and top hotels such as Gleneagles and the Turnberry Hotel in Ayrshire - will take part in the visit.

They will meet 70 Russian tour operators on the trip, which will take in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Homecoming Scotland 2009 will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns' birth with a year-long programme of events.

VisitScotland hopes to tap into the high interest for Burns in Russia, where his works are on the school curriculum."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Drive it Home

GTS have been involved in helping VisitScotland and the Scottish Golf Union to develop the logistics of the "Drive it Home" promotion and encourages its members to get fully involved in the promotion, which has the ability to generate awareness of the depth and breadth of golf available across Scotland to the US and other key overseas markets.
We recognise that not all promotional activities offer equal benefits to the participants but, in essence, there is no direct cost to Golf Tourism Scotland members and the benefits therefore can be measured in increased coverage and PR opportunities. At worst there may be coverage and no additional bookings, but at best (and with increased involvement of the golf clubs this becomes more likely) there is an opportunity to pick up substantial and additional new business from the overseas markets.

Whilst true that GTS expressed concerns about the promotional planning process in the early stages we have been involved in shaping the detail over the past two months and remain confident that our future involvement in planning for golf promotions with the SGU and VS will be from a much earlier stage in the process. We are therefore encouraging all members to support the promotion as fully as they feel able to.

The promotion will be run during 2009 and target golfers worldwide. There will be a specific golf consumer campaign in both the USA and Sweden, while other markets will utilise PR, trade and direct marketing via VisitBritain, Scottish Development International and other organisations’ databases.

How can you get involved?

Three websites have been developed by VisitScotland for travel deals and will cover the North American market, Sweden and the Rest of World. Any offers will appear on all three websites, unless a participant specifies otherwise.

Offers fall into the following categories:
1. Tour operator packages.
2. Hotels.
3. Car Hire.
4. Things to See and Do – visitor attractions, whisky distilleries, restaurants etc.

It is proposed that businesses from each category choose from the following offers:
Tour Operators
Minimum $100 per person reduction in the price of a tour (if booked before May 09)
Minimum $100 per person reduction in the price of a tour (valid all year)
Stay 3 nights and receive complimentary 4th night (Jan – Apr & Oct – Dec)
Stay 5 nights and receive complimentary 6th night (valid all year)
Stay 3 nights and receive complimentary dinner on arrival night (valid all year)
Complimentary room upgrade (valid all year)

Car Hire
Book 6 days and receive complimentary 7th day (Jan – Apr & Oct – Dec)
Free upgrade to next vehicle group (valid all year)
Things to See and Do
2 for 1 on entrance fees (Jan – Apr & Oct – Dec)
Save 15% on all retail purchases (valid all year)
VisitScotland are looking for good value propositions, to assist in converting tentative enquiries about a holiday in Scotland into commercial reality. This is an opportunity to be part of one the largest golf promotions during the year of Homecoming 2009.

If, in principle, you are interested please respond with your preferred offer to

If there is another offer you would like to be considered instead, or you have an alternative opinion, feel free to let us know and we will pass on your comments – positive or negative. GTS representatives will be meeting with VS on Friday 10th Oct to discuss the proposals, and we would therefore appreciate your replies by 9:00am that day at the latest.

Golf Tourism Scotland

Homecoming Scotland 2009 Partner Events Programme

Homecoming Scotland’s Partner Events Programme aims to extend and enhance the established core programme of major events and activity taking place across the country throughout 2009 in recognition of Scotland’s first national Homecoming celebration.

The approach is to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with a range of relevant additional events and organisations delivering activity in Scotland during 2009. The Partner Events Programme is intended to be as widely inclusive as possible, however it is important the national Homecoming celebrations retain a strong identity and clear focus. All Partner Events must be clearly relevant to the themes and objectives of Homecoming Scotland.

The basis of the relationship will be an in-kind agreement through which Homecoming Scotland will offer inclusion for the event in the official programme of Homecoming celebrations for 2009, supported by the Homecoming Scotland Marketing & PR campaign delivered in partnership with VisitScotland. In return, Partner Events will be authorised to use the official Homecoming Scotland logo and artwork to proactively promote their event and its involvement with the national Homecoming celebrations and association with Homecoming Scotland. Financial support is not available through the Partner Events Programme.

The Homecoming Scotland website provides the base from which to profile the complete programme of Homecoming celebrations. All Partner Events will be listed on the website. The degree of profile Homecoming Scotland can offer each Partner Event will vary in accordance with the relative scale and significance of the event and its overall fit with the wider programme for the year. It is likely only events of national significance and which provide a strong platform to promote Homecoming Scotland internationally will be featured in Homecoming Scotland’s printed promotional materials.

Homecoming Scotland 2009 is a Scottish Government initiative managed by EventScotland in partnership with VisitScotland. The project seeks to motivate people of Scottish descent, as well as those who simply love Scotland, to come home and join us in a national celebration of our culture, heritage and the many great contributions Scotland has given the world.
The inspiration for Scotland’s first national Homecoming celebration comes from 2009 being the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet and cultural icon, whose message of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ continues to unite people across the world.
The project has four core objectives:

  • Engage and mobilise the Scottish Diaspora
  • Promote pride in Scots at home and abroad
  • Celebrate Scotland’s outstanding contributions to the world
  • Deliver additional tourism visits and revenue for Scotland
The programme of events and activity for the year will celebrate our unique culture and identity and will reflect many of Scotland’s great contributions to the world.

There are five key themes:

  • Robert Burns
  • Great Scottish Minds & Innovation
  • Scottish Ancestry,
  • Heritage & Culture
  • Golf
  • Whisky
The programme of Homecoming events and activity provides the unique platform for a dedicated UK and International marketing and communications campaign.

Homecoming Scotland 2009 has already committed more than £3million of direct funding in support of events/activity during 2009 through the Signature, Themed and Rolling Events Programmes. This funding has established the core programme of more than 100 major events and exhibitions taking place across the country throughout the year. With funding now allocated, the opportunity moving forward is to extend and enhance this core programme through partnership with a range of additional relevant events that do not require direct funding support but which fit well with the themes and objectives of Homecoming Scotland and can benefit from being part of, whilst also add value to the overall programme for the year.

Event Organisers are invited to propose their activity for inclusion in the programme of national Homecoming celebrations by completing the Registration Form below.

All Partner Event proposals will be considered on the basis of their ability to engage the Scottish Diaspora and attract additional visitors to Scotland, their relevance to the themes of Homecoming Scotland and their fit with the overall programme for the year. It is also important that Partner events can support and enhance the marketing of the national Homecoming celebrations through their own promotional activity by carrying the Homecoming logo and key messages.

Download Registration Form

Monday, October 6, 2008

Barassie First Golf Club to Offer Online Rooms?

Two GTS members have this week been part of a new online reservations initiative aimed at helping golf and accommodation providers work more closely together in converting potential golf tourism visitors.

Bookassist's team in Scotland have added a new club to their bag with the launch of Golf Channelbuilder on the website of 2009 Open Championship Qualifying course Kilmarnock Barassie Golf Club.

The club which lies in the midst of Ayrshire's golfing links coast has added an availability checker to its website allowing site visitors and potential golf tourists the chance to not only check their golf but also reserve their accommodation.

James Kennedy of Bookassist's Scottish office was delighted at the latest development, "Golf tourism is such an important part of the tourism mix in places like Ayrshire, East Lothian, Fife and The HIghlands and this recognises the potential golf courses have for converting on line enquiries to online bookings for accommodation providers."

The Barassie website offers a wide selection of accommodation from five star to self catering and small B&B's and is the first of many.

"We're already working on embedding the booking engine into a few more of Scotland's most famous courses. It really brings together the golf course with the accommodation provider and offers genuine joint marketing opportunities. Our aim would be to work with golf courses throughout the country in making sure that their website offers the visitor the very best availability and rates in their area."

Any golf course or accommodation provider looking for more information on how Bookassist online booking enginen benefit their business should contact the Scottish office of Bookassist on 02192 521404 or email You can view the system at

Friday, October 3, 2008

Notices for Annual General Meeting of GTS

The fourth AGM of Golf Tourism Scotland will be held at the De Vere Cameron House on Thursday 13th November at 4pm, for the purpose of the following business:
  1. Consideration and adoption of the Chairman’s report.
  2. Consideration and adoption of annual accounts.
  3. Agree subscription rates for ensuing year.
  4. Receive results of elections to the Executive Board.
  5. Appoint the auditors of the Company.

The meeting has been arranged for the same date as the GTS awards ceremony and dinner, and it is hoped that as many members as possible will attend. Please note that, in terms of the Articles of Association of the company, the following have to be submitted to reach me by Thursday 16th October at the latest:

  1. Notice of any business that a paid-up ordinary member wishes to have transacted at the meeting.
  2. Nominations of paid-up ordinary members to serve as Directors of the company. A member seeking appointment as a Director must be nominated by two paid-up ordinary members, and the nomination must include a statement from the person seeking appointment stating his or her willingness to be appointed.

The categories of membership for which nominations are sought are:

  • a) Golf courses with accommodation (1 vacancy)
  • b) Accommodation with 20 rooms or fewer (1 vacancy)
  • c) Accommodation with more than 20 rooms (1 vacancy)
  • d) Exclusive use properties (1 vacancy)
  • e) Golf tour operator (1 vacancy)

Resignations have been received in advance of the meeting from Luke Borwick and Gary Wilkinson.

Jamie Gardner is due to retire from the current Board as the longest-serving elected member, but is available for re-election. Lee Derrick, Nick White and Fraser Cromarty stand down as co-opted Directors but are available for election.

All fully paid up ordinary members are eligible to stand for election within the category in which they are members. A nomination form accompanies this letter. Each nomination should be signed by two fully paid up ordinary members, and the person being nominated must also sign the form to indicate his/her willingness to be nominated. Completed nomination forms must reach me by 16th October 2008. It will be sufficient for an unsigned electronic copy to reach me by that date, provided that a signed hard copy arrives no later than Friday 17th October 2007.
If a ballot is required in one or more membership categories, the Articles of Association require this to be a postal ballot, held in advance of the AGM. I will therefore circulate ballot papers if required after nominations close on 17th October. Only members in the membership category concerned are eligible to vote in a ballot for election of a Director in that category. Instructions on how to vote in the ballot and the deadline for submitting ballot papers will be issued if a ballot is required.

We look forward to seeing as many members as possible at the AGM. If you have any queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me.

AGM Papers and Dinner Booking Form

The Annual Awards Dinner will take place on Thursday 13th of November with limited space still available for the event.
The booking form is available to download from the website for the annual Awards Dinner to be held this year at De Vere Cameron House, Loch Lomond. This annual industry ceremony needs little introduction for those who have previously attended but for those who haven't been before it provides an opportunity to celebrate the past year's best performers in the company of the golf tourism industry.
The bar was set at Fairmont in 2007 with regards to the expectations and we look forward to making 2008 just as memorable.
As usual the event will be preceeded by the GTS Annual General meeting and this year will be followed by golf on the Carrick Course on the Friday morning. The documents for the AGM including Nominations for the Board of Directors and the Motion on Subscription Fees are available to download from the website directly

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Scottish Golf Monitor Report for July 08

Preliminary report for July 2008 as at 17 September 2008
The key figure this month is that, for the 36 courses for which direct comparisons can be made at this stage, total visitor rounds in July 2008 were 4% down on average compared to July 2007. This continues the trend of 2008 being generally down on 2007 (apart from a good May), though the decrease in July is less than in April and June.
  • 64,423 visitor rounds were played in July 2008 at the 67 courses which have so far provided figures – an average of 962 visitor rounds per course.
  • Average green fee revenue for the month was £29,167 per course (inclusive of VAT) at the 54 courses which provided revenue figures.
  • Average rounds per course were lower than in June, which was slightly lower than May – the busiest month of the season so far.
Golf Tourism Scotland (GTS) is carrying out the 2008 National Golf Tourism Monitor on behalf of VisitScotland (VS) and Scottish Enterprise (SE). The Monitor has the support of both the Scottish Golf Union (SGU) and the Club Managers’ Association of Europe (CMAE) who are encouraging their members to participate.

The aims of the Monitor are to quantify levels, patterns, and trends in golf tourism in Scotland, and thus to: help golf course operators compare their market positioning and performance with industry averages, and thus target their marketing more effectively;assist VS, SE, and other agencies in their overall golf tourism planning and marketing activities.

The Monitor is based on figures supplied by golf courses throughout Scotland. So far, 98 courses have registered, and several more are expected to do so shortly. The Monitor is described in more detail on and any clubs which would like to participate and have not already registered can go to the website and click on Register Now.

The more courses that provide figures, the more accurate, detailed, and helpful the reports will be.By logging on at, courses participating in the Monitor will also be able to access more detailed reports comparing their own performance to the averages for courses in different categories.

These categories, with the average number of visitor rounds in each case and the number of courses returning July figures so far, are shown in the Full July Report

In addition the results from January to June are also now available to download.

Scotland Welcomes Help to "Drive it Home"

GTS member Christine Seaton of Scotland Welcomes has recently been appointed to communicate the VisitScotland lead Drive It Home promotion for Homecoming Scotland 2009 to clubs across the country.

The promotion which has been launched by the First Minister at the recent Ryder Cup is aimed at encouraging golfers to register online and claim a free fourball for Scotland in 2009.
GTS administrator, Ian McCaig explained the membership body's position.

"GTS have been involved in helping VisitScotland and the Scottish Golf Union in developing the logistics of the “Drive it Home” promotion and are encouraging its members to get fully involved in the promotion, which has the ability to generate awareness of the depth and breadth of golf available across Scotland to the US and other key overseas markets.

We recognise that not all promotional activities offer equal benefits to the participants but, in essence, there is no direct cost to Golf Tourism Scotland members and the benefits therefore can be measured in increased coverage and PR opportunities. At worst there may be coverage and no additional bookings, but at best (and with increased involvement of the golf clubs this becomes more likely) there is an opportunity to pick up substantial and additional new business from the overseas markets.

Whilst true that GTS expressed concerns about the promotional planning process in the early stages we have been involved in shaping the detail over the past two months and remain confident that our future involvement in planning for golf promotions with the SGU and VS will be from a much earlier stage in the process. We are therefore encouraging all of our members to support the promotion as fully as they are able to.”