Wednesday, December 23, 2009

GTS Announces Regional Forums for 2010

Titled "Marketing Methods That Work", the forums are intended to provide the ideal start to the New Year. The season ahead will be crucial for golf businesses wanting to put the difficulties of 2009 behind them and the forums have been devised to provide expert guidance on how best to do that.

These afternoon events will bring together insightful presentations from leading practitioners in golf-related promotion, website design and photography, preceded by a networking lunch. Award-winning golf course photographer Mark Alexander will divulge the secrets of capturing great images and how to use them to attract business and generate revenue. Ian McCaig, from The Edge, shall reveal the unwritten rules that govern successful websites while PR specialist Yvonne Alexander will explain how to attract visitors by getting your stories told.

Dates and venues: Tuesday 9th February at Castle Stuart GL, Inverness; Thursday 11th February at North Berwick GC; Tuesday 16th February at the Inn at Lathones, St Andrews; Thursday 18th February at Cameron House on Loch Lomond. Timing: 1:00 - 4:45pm. Cost: One FREE place per member company and £25 per person for non-members or additional representatives.

Contact the Secretary to book or for more information.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Glenmuir Launches New Collection

Glenmuir, one of Europe’s leading golf apparel brands and a GTS member, has launched a new Men’s 1891 Classic Collection for Spring/Summer 2010.

Full Press Release here...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Castle Stuart Golf Links wins GOLF Magazine award

Congratulations to GTS member Castle Stuart Golf Links for being named as Best New International Golf Course 2009 by U.S. publication GOLF Magazine.

More information here...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hamilton Hall, St Andrews under new ownership!

One of the most recognisable buildings in St Andrews - Hamilton Hall overlooking the Old Course - is under new ownership again having been bought by the Kohler Co, which already owns the Old Course Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, a GTS member.

Hamilton Hall was originally opened as the Grand Hotel in 1895 to capitalise on the rapid expansion of St Andrews as a popular tourist destination. Owner Thomas Hamilton is said to have commissioned the construction immediately after his application for membership had been rejected by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, in a bid to overshadow the latter's clubhouse! During World War II the hotel was requisitioned by the armed forces and then acquired by the University of St Andrews in 1949 as a hall of residence, being used as such until 2006.

More information here...

Monday, November 9, 2009

GTS Gold Standard Awards 2009

The winners of this year’s awards were recently announced at a gala dinner held at the new-look Turnberry Resort. Across 11 categories, exponents of the very best in Scottish golf tourism were recognised from various sectors including travel, hospitality, golf courses and golf services.

Full story here...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Play Turnberry with

GTS member company is giving golfers a last-minute opportunity to stay-and-play at the Turnberry Resort, home of this year’s dramatic Open Championship, for as little as £175pp.

To take advantage of this one-off opportunity golfers must make their booking before Sunday, October 11th. More information here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Springboard Charity Golf Day

For over 18 years Springboard UK has been helping young, unemployed and disadvantaged people into careers within the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sectors.

The Springboard Charity Golf Day will be taking place at GTS resort member Marriot Dalmahoy Hotel & CC on Monday 19th October, with all funds raised from the event going towards the organisation's vital work in Scotland.

More information here...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Carrick on Loch Lomond hosts PGA Cup

Pre-match events are well in-hand at De Vere’s stunning Carrick on Loch Lomond golf course as it prepares to host the 24th PGA Cup matches. The talking stops tomorrow morning when the first match gets underway but for now the two Captains are happy to soak up the atmosphere, keep a watchful eye on the form of their players and enjoy the warm Scottish hospitality at Cameron House, De Vere’s luxury hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond.

Pictured here on the 10th tee with spectacular mountain and Loch views in their Captain’s Club Cars with the impressive Llandudno International trophy, the two captains were rich in praise for both the golf course and the hotel and were gearing up for a fantastic weekend of golf. More information...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Glenmuir's New Men's Classic Collection

Golf Tourism Scotland member Glenmuir has introduced new sweater designs to its Men’s Classic Collection for Autumn/Winter 2009, as the leading apparel brand looks to build on the continued success of its ever-popular knitwear.

Three carefully-selected contemporary colour palettes have also been introduced for the season – ‘Blue Tones’ (four classic shades of blue from the deepest navy to cool ice), ‘Black Jack’ (linen, greys and a deep Garnet red) and ‘Autumn Fire’ (subtle earth colours and a vibrant Fire red) – which feature across its entire range.

For more information see here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Early Birdie offer from, Europe’s largest golf travel company and a member of Golf Tourism Scotland, has launched an ‘Early Birdie’ promotion, allowing groups to book a 2010 golf break at 2009 prices and also giving them the opportunity to receive up to £300 discount or claim a free TaylorMade R9 Driver. As well as the benefit of reserving the very best tee-times and hotels, groups who book next year’s golf break before September 30th 2009 will also continue to receive existing discounts, which include free stay-and-play places on certain bookings. are also offering customers who sign up to, or who are already members of its loyalty scheme, Break Points, the option of transferring their cash saving into Break Points, potentially saving up to £450 off future bookings.

Michael Birch, Marketing Manager for, said: “Many of our customers who travel as a group will be thinking and planning next year’s golf break right now. This promotion rewards group bookings of eight or more by allowing them to secure the best 2010 slots before they get snapped up. We’re also giving golfers a choice of reward, whether they want a straight cash discount, earn Break Points to redeem against future bookings or, for bookings of a certain level, take part cash and a free TaylorMade R9 Driver.” offers over 900 venues to play golf in the UK, Europe and further afield and is one of the golf travel industry’s most innovative companies, offering a Price Promise guarantee on all bookings. It is also ABTA-bonded to protect its customers, is the official travel supplier to the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) and a member of IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators), as well as GTS.

Groups or individuals booking through are allocated their own dedicated sales consultant, who will offer the highest levels of customer care throughout the booking process from the original enquiry through to the first drive. had a record year in 2008 sending 120,000 golfers on golf breaks. Continuing on from this strong performance, 2009 looks set to show an even greater success with over 165,000 golfers booked through and, the company’s online tee time booking service.

For more information contact 0800 279 7988 or visit

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Annfield House Hotel, Irvine has Open Championship availability

Located on the banks of the River Irvine with views of the Isle of Arran, the family-owned Annfield House Hotel still has some Open Championship room availability from 13th-19th July inclusive, due to a late cancellation.

Rates are £150.00 per night per room including breakfast for a twin/double, with single rooms at £99.00. For more details contact the General Manager, Dionne Conway, on 01294 278 903
or via

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Duff House Royal looks to the future with new appointment

Duff House Royal Golf Club has appointed a new club manager. The Banff club has one eye on the future with the appointment, which brings James Cameron (30) and his family back to the North East of Scotland. James brings considerable commercial experience to the role, having worked in marketing in the US, for STV and AVC Sports in Aberdeen, as well as writing a thesis on Scottish Golf Tourism. Attractive credentials amidst challenging market conditions for golf clubs.

“I am delighted to join Duff House Royal and, as I’m from the area am fully aware of the stature of the club and what it means to the local community" says James. "It has a rich history, a wonderful 1910 James Braid course which was re-designed in 1923 by Dr Alister Mackenzie, (the last Scottish course he worked on before going on to design Augusta National), a strong membership, a great reputation and of course Royal status. It is my job to capitalise on the strengths that are already there, and use my experience to market these to a wider audience…but at the same time remain mindful of the needs of our members; after all, we are a members club. We celebrate our centenary next year, which gives us all the opportunity to ensure the traditions and heritage of the club are championed, whilst at the same time we are ready to take on the modern day challenges that all golf clubs are faced with.

We are also looking at our marketing activities, are looking to revamp our website with video items, and we’re also considering our membership pricing structure for 2010; all steps in the right direction. And with some tremendous feedback received about how the course is playing - having installed a new drainage system last year - we’re all; members, committee and staff alike, really looking forward with a sense of enthusiasm.”

Monday, April 13, 2009

Carnoustie Green Fee Freeze

Carnoustie Golf Links has made an early and positive decision to freeze the green fee on its Championship Course for 2010. At a difficult economic time this is welcome news indeed.

The allocation of tee-times for next year will commence this August, but requests are already being accepted and kept on file until then.

In July 2010 Carnoustie will host the Senior Open Championship, which will run immediately after the Open Championship at St Andrews. A tremendous opportunity to see the golfing stars of today and yesteryear within a two-week period.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Craighead Charity Challenge

Crail Golfing Society has just announced its support for the St Andrews-based charity Keepers of the Green, laying down a challenge on the organisation's behalf to any golfer bold enough to try and match his or her handicap on the Gil Hanse-designed Craighead Links.

The Challenge runs from 1st April 2009 to 30th September 2009 and is open to any full fee paying visitor with a valid handicap. A donation to Keepers of the Green of £2 is required from the challengers, which will be matched by Crail Golfing Society. The leading challengers at the end of September 2009 will receive a winter ticket entitling them to free golf on either course at Crail from 1st October 2009 to 31st March 2010. In the event of a winner being an overseas resident they may choose one year overseas membership as an alternative to the winter ticket. There will be two levels for men and one for ladies. Scores nett of handicap will be posted for each level and displayed in the Proshop and on

Keepers of the Green - - is a charity organisation, founded in December 1995, which provides powered mobility for the needy and promotes the traditions of the game. The Craighead Links was the first course designed by American golf course architect, Gil Hanse, who has since produced several award winning courses in the USA as well as receiving many plaudits for the new Castle Stuart course near Inverness.

For more information contact David Roy, Managing Secretary at Crail Golfing Society and President of the Club Managers Association of Europe (Scotland), on 01333 450 686.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Scottish Enterprise Business Insight 2009

As part of its Business Insight 2009 programme Scottish Enterprise has secured the services of Bob Morris, Vice Chairman and a Co-Founder of Billy Casper Golf in the USA, for a half day event on Tuesday 21st April at Rufflets Country House, St Andrews.

Since 1989, Billy Casper Golf has developed and managed golf courses for public agencies and private owners throughout the United States. Today the firm's reach stretches from Hawaii to Massachusetts, encompassing more than 100 managed golf facilities, and its PR division promotes dozens of destinations, products and players in the global golf industry.

Bob Morris is responsible for oversight of strategic partnerships, business development and player development. He is an active participant in Golf 20/20 - a collaboration of various segments of the golf industry that is managed by the World Golf Foundation in Florida - as well as many other initiatives.

For more information on how to book click here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

GTS Forum 25th March

We are all facing challenging commercial conditions at the moment, to say the least!

In conjunction with the Scottish Tourism Forum we invite you to take part in a golf tourism forum and summit. This is an opportunity to find out what other parts of the industry are saying and for you to air your views as to the priorities and actions required by the private and public sector in the coming months.


The morning will feature the National Golf Tourism Monitor – reports from the 2008 monitor, how it has worked for one golf course operator, interpreting the findings for each course, using results positively and generating ideas for the coming season. The next session will be geared to helping golf courses and tour operators understand each other better, improve working relationships through networking and make future collaborations more productive. The afternoon will then see presentations about current business levels and issues facing the industry, followed by break-out sessions to gather feedback and discuss the possible ways ahead.

Who should attend?

Anyone interested in making a positive contribution to the main issues facing our industry right now. Whether you are a golf club Secretary/Manager, a Director of Golf, hotelier, tour operator, transport provider, someone within a tourism organisation/company with responsibility for marketing or working in the public sector – we need your input!

When, where and how much?

On Wednesday 25th March, at the Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa in North Berwick. Registration will commence at 10.00am and the event will finish around 4.45pm. The day-delegate rates are £25 for GTS Members and £40 for non-members, inclusive of buffet lunch and tea/coffee throughout the day.

If you are interested in taking part please complete the Booking Form and return it to Golf Tourism Scotland.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fife Tourism and Business Conference

The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa is the venue for Fife’s annual tourism trade event on Tuesday 31st March.

Titled “Seizing Opportunities, Today and Tomorrow”, the conference is open to delegates located in Fife, or elsewhere, and has attracted an impressive array of speakers, each of whom will inspire delegates with ways to give their businesses every chance of success in these challenging times. In addition to the headline presentations there will also be a series of workshops, a networking lunch and a range of exhibitors. Aimed at business owners, managers, team leaders and supervisors—in fact, anyone who offers a service to customers – the event is organised by Springboard Scotland on behalf of St Andrews World Class Initiative, Scottish Enterprise, Fife Council, VisitScotland and Skills Development Scotland.

Stephen Carter, the former General Manager of St Andrews Bay Resort and now the GM at Cameron House Hotel at Loch Lomond will be the conference chairman. In his 35-year career, he has become recognised as an hotelier with a remarkable passion for the industry and the people within it.

Bob Downie is Chief Executive of the Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith, a position he has held since 1998, since when Britannia has become a five-star visitor attraction, achieving VisitScotland’s highest ever grading percentage mark and recently gaining the 2009 Conde Nast Award for Most Excellent Venue in the UK for corporate events.

Debbie Taylor is General Manager of the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa. She arrived in St Andrews in 2007, having formerly held the post of GM at The Balmoral in Edinburgh, and is currently overseeing a major expansion programme at the resort. Debbie is recognised as one of the country’s leading hoteliers and is well-known for her dynamic leadership qualities.

Robin Worsnop is the founder and Managing Director of Rabbie’s Trail Burners, based in Edinburgh. The company, set up in 1993, now operates tours from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, and employs over 30 people. RTB has won two Thistle Awards, is a Gold Award holder in the Green Tourism Business Scheme, and is classed as a five-star tour company by VisitScotland.

Other speakers and workshop leaders at the event will include Russell Ferguson, a Chartered Marketer who advises businesses on profitable and effective marketing techniques; Sarah Grant, VisitScotland’s Growth Fund Adviser for North and Central Scotland; Jenny Lambie, founder of the Lambie Gilchrist Consultancy, which specialises in helping companies deliver the best possible customer service; and Alan Rankin, who is the Chief Executive of Aviemore and the Cairngorms Destination Marketing Organisation.

The event will commence at 9.30 am (registration from 8.45 am) and conclude at 4.00 pm. The delegate fee (which includes lunch) is £30 inclusive of VAT. To obtain a booking form simply telephone 07724 112954 or e-mail your name and organisation to

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Business Club - Ryder Cup Opportunity?

One of the more taxing issues facing some members of GTS in recent years has been the Ryder Cup and the lack of opportunity to package the event due to restrictions on ticketing distribution. Well The Ryder Cup was certainly mentioned in despatches by the First Minister - whether it will open up new opportunities for tour operators and accommodation providers would be impossible to say but it may still be worth signing up to their newsletter. The website describes the aims as thus:
"BusinessClub Scotland is a new initiative designed to ensure that Scotland’s business community capitalises on the country’s ambitious events programme in the run up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games and beyond.
The Club will:
  • Improve Business Competitiveness
  • Build Supply Chain Networks
  • Facilitate procurement around events
  • Extend reach of existing networks
  • Provide direct business engagement and targeted networking at events to win business
  • Develop expertise in event management and delivery

Utilising the strength of Scotland's leading business organisations and supported by the Scottish Government the club aims to engage with businesses across Scotland to maximise the commercial opportunities generated by major events - both at home and abroad.

Based on the experience of other clubs in Australia, the Caribbean and North West England, the club is open to any organisation across Scotland and is free to register

Friday, February 6, 2009

Refresh Design Offer

Refresh Design, developers of Kingsbarns, Executive Golf & Leisure, GTS and most recently Castle Stuart web sites are now offering fellow GTS members up to 15% discount on any graphic or web design work. Initial consultations are free of charge so please contact Alan Seath on 01383 629948 or email

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Golf Tourism Monitor Report

Whilst the full report has been available on the Golf Monitor website for a few weeks we thought another highlighting of the trends for last year wouldn't go amiss.

April and October are clearly the shoulder months of the main golf tourism season,
with around 500-600 visitor rounds per course on average. Visitor rounds effectively
double to around 1,000 or more per course for the core months of May to September

A similar pattern is apparent in the visitor revenue figures, with average revenue per
course of around £20,000 in April and October, rising to £40-£45,000 from May to

Visitor rounds were 4% down overall for April to October for the 30-40 courses where
direct comparisons with 2007 can be made at this stage. Visitor numbers held up
best in May and September – the two main when rainfall in Scotland as a whole was
below average in what was otherwise a very wet season.

Looking further back, April to October visitor rounds were 29% down for the 23
courses for which direct comparisons can be made with 2005, so this season’s
decline is clearly part of a trend extending over several years.

As shown below, there were wide variations in levels of visitor business among
courses of different types and in different parts of the country over the April to
October period.

For more detail on all of the 2008 reports and schedules for 2009 please visit the Golf Monitor Website

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SGU Announce Golf Week

According to a report in The Scotsman newspaper, the SGU plans to launch a new campaign aimed at boosting the drop-off in golf club memberships. It is widely expected that soon to be released figures will show a drop off in memberships across the country, with the SGU estimating this would amount to 3% of their membership or approximately 6,000 golfers.

Over the years a number of factors have been cited as contributing to the drop-offs in memberships - with issues such as 2 for 1 discount offers making it more viable to play other courses, increases in costs of subscriptions and for many individuals, simply not having the time to commit to five hours at a weekend to play a round of golf.

The SGU has outlined plans for a 'Scottish Golf Awareness Week' (in mid-April) in an effort to promote the benefits of membership and encourage more people to join a club.

Hamish Grey explained further, "We want to get the message out that you can join a golf club. We are fortunate in having a range of clubs from municipal to world-renowned and I would suggest that anyone who really wants to join a golf club can find a way," he said.

"We are also trying to find ways of rewarding club members as opposed to those golfers who pay and play and we are in the process of launching the Scottish Golf Card, which has been well-received at its initial stages."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sunday Golf Ban Could Cost Course Funding

The headline "Sunday golf ban could cost island course £75,000 grant" has caught the eye, relating to The Isle of Harris golf course's application for public money. Apparently, the application may be rejected because the club is closed every Sunday on religious grounds in line with other public facilities on the island and neighbouring Lewis.

It appears that the national sports agency, SportScotland, says giving taxpayers' money to the organisation could contravene equality legislation because of its refusal to open on the Sabbath. According to The Scotsman, Louise Martin - who chairs the body - said: "SportScotland is mindful of the views and traditions held by many in parts of the Western Isles regarding the opening of sports facilities on Sundays. However, SportScotland also has responsibilities under the 2006 equality legislation to ensure that anything it funds is accessible to all, wherever possible, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, religion or belief …"

The Rev Ruairidh Maclean, minister of the Free Church of Scotland at Leverburgh, Harris, said: "I would not be terribly happy with this and I would imagine a significant proportion of the community would not be happy. I would be very surprised if there were not some people who were keen for it to open, but I would say there is probably still a pretty large proportion of the population who would be very happy to see it continue as it is."

Now this may or may not be a real issue, but we have not heard any major threats being applied to a rather more famous golf course that closes on Sundays for other traditional reasons. Surely all the golf club need to do is suggest that it needs to close on Sundays in order to rest the course?

The money sought from SportScotland represents half the £155,000 cost of improvements to drainage, storage and the clubhouse. Highland and Islands Enterprise and Western Isles Council, the other funders, are not insisting on seven-day opening. All the council-owned sports facilities on Lewis and Harris remain closed on a Sunday, but those in the predominantly Catholic Southern Isles remain open.

Nick Faldo, the former Open champion, played the Harris course in the early 1990s before heading for the US Masters, and described it as "one of the most beautiful settings" for golf. He left a signed £5 note in the honesty box as his green fee, which has been framed and is competed for annually by members.

Drive It Home Launched Today

As part of the Homecoming Scotland 2009 celebrations, VisitScotland's Drive It Home golf programme has officially launched today.

Almost one hundred golf clubs have signed up to the initiative but VisitScotland is still hoping to attract further offers from other clubs, tour operators, accommodation providers & transport providers. Contact Melanie Angus for more information -

Visit the Drive It Home website.

National Golf Planning Meeting

The second Golf Planning Meeting was held in Edinburgh on Thursday 8th January. This strategy group comprises representatives from all the major public and private bodies involved in Scottish golf – EventScotland, GTS, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Golf Union, Scottish Tourism Forum, VisitScotland – and is THE main opportunity for all the organisations to come together, discuss ideas, share information and formulate a joint vision for golf in Scotland:-

1. VisitScotland

At the meeting it was confirmed that GTS Board members Lee Derrick and Fraser Cromarty will be hosting a Scotland golf day for invited agents and other guests prior to PGA Orlando later this month, the event being funded by VS. At GTS’s recommendation VisitScotland has also decided to dispense with the Expo golf event and has offered GTS the opportunity to devise a direct replacement or link the PGA Ambassador programme into the 2009 Annual Awards Dinner. More details to follow in due course. VS also confirmed its attendance at IGTM this year.

2. EventScotland

As part of the Ryder Cup 2014 bid the planning meeting partners can take advantage of promotional and hospitality opportunities at various tournaments this year. The final programme of available events should be available by the end of January, and we will update members at that time.

3. International & UK Brand Plans from VS

The full international plan should be available for review by end of January, but obviously the main thrust is Drive It Home, officially launched today. VS is still actively looking for trade offers and a message to this effect has been circulated to GTS members and is on the blog. GTS has co-branding on the DIH website alongside VS, EventScotland and the SGU etc.

Domestically VS has been spending some time researching and segmenting the home market. Main targets groups will be golfing societies within the UK via offer-led promotions and the encouragement to golfing groups within Scotland to incorporate overnight stays into their trips, rather than just undertake day excursions.

4. Scottish Golf Union

The SGU has requested that information from the GTS-led Golf Tourism Monitor be included in their proposed golf club roadshows throughout February. This provide an opportunity for GTS to reinforce the importance of ongoing data collection, to point out the benefits and proper use of data and may possibly encourage new participants to sign up. The SGU has also expressed interest in collaborating in future GTS forums.

5. Scottish Tourism Forum

As part of GTS’s ongoing review of its relationship with the wider tourism industry through the Scottish Tourism Forum, Iain Herbert of STF was more than happy to publicise future GTS activity throughout Tourism Week in early March. See the STF website for full details of TW.

Friday, January 16, 2009

St Andrews Links Trust Renews Contract

St Andrews Links Trust has renewed its contract with Compass Group (UK & Ireland) Ltd to deliver premium tee-time packages on the Old Course.

The contract has been renewed with effect from 2010 and will continue on a rolling basis. Compass Group, trading as the Old Course Experience, currently delivers guaranteed tee-times on the Old Course through premium golf tour programmes packages and handles travel trade tee times.

The arrangement has been of great benefit to the Links in recent years enabling the Links Trust to make substantial investment in the courses and facilities. It has also been instrumental in helping the Links Trust to keep other prices at a lower level than would otherwise be possible. The announcement follows a review of the commercial operations of the Links Trust carried out by consultants.

The review was carefully considered by St Andrews Links Trustees before they decided to continue with the Compass Group arrangement. Alan McGregor, general manager of the Links Trust, said, "The Trustees took time to consider the options available to them and decided that it was clearly in the best interests of the Trust to continue to work with the Compass Group. The arrangement has made it possible for the Trust to invest in the courses and facilities over the years which has resulted in a far better experience for golfers. In a difficult economic climate it is prudent for the Trust to renew the contract going forward."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Access System for US Visits

Whilst not entirely relevant to inbound travel one of the Board members has asked us to highlight the new Travel Authorisation forms required to be completed prior to entry to the United States, as it will impact on any members visiting the US for business purposes.

An article in The Telegraph states that travel groups in the United States fear that the new entry regulations will put travellers off from visiting the country. The US Travel Association, the Washington-based non-profit organisation which represents all sectors of the travel industry, aims to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. But it warned today that the new Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) forms, which replace the I-94W forms used by countries with a visa-waiver agreement, have been poorly communicated and do not take into account those people who are not computer-literate. The forms must be completed by British travellers at least 72 hours before departure.

"America’s travel community supports the ESTA for its potential to improve security and increase convenience for travellers from visa waiver countries,” said Roger Dow, President and Chief Executive of the US Travel Association. “However, we are concerned that many of those who must comply with ESTA are not aware of it, do not fully understand what it is, or may be turned away at airports for non-compliance if the new requirements are fully enforced.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fairmont Members Offer

SGU Scottish Golf Card

The SGU have recently distributed information to its affiliates regarding a new Scottish Golf Card. GTS are pursuing the potential opportunites this may offer members to put forward offers.
We have created a page for future communications from the SGU on the GTS website but you can have a look at the SGU Golf Card proposal by downloading the document from here.

New Post For Dawson

The World Golf Foundation has named Peter Dawson, chief executive of The R&A in St. Andrews, Scotland, as its chairman for 2009. Read more at

Tartan Tour Seeks Northern Sponsor

According to The Scotsman, "The Scottish region of the PGA, better known as the Tartan Tour, faces a struggle in 2009 to maintain past levels of prize money and playing opportunities for their members."
Gordon Dewar, secretary of the Scottish region, said: "We're determined to maintain the degree of competition our members have become accustomed to. Our two 72-hole championships, the Northern Open and our flagship event, the Gleneagles Scottish Championship, will definitely go ahead but at the moment the Northern, which takes place at the Spey Valley course on the outskirts of Aviemore, is without a sponsor. Needless to say, we in the PGA are actively seeking a replacement, and obviously would be happy to speak to any individual or organisation wishing to come aboard and help sustain a championship that goes back to 1931."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tourism Innovation Day

'Inspiring Success' - designed to help tourism professionals identify opportunities for innovation and growth, the 7th annual Tourism Innovation Day takes place in the brand new event venue at The Glasshouse, Eskmills - 5 minutes by train from central Edinburgh. Inspirational and entertaining experts will speak on how to turn ideas in to reality and success.

The event takes place on 3rd of February and costs £129+VAT per person.

For further information visit or call 0131 557 5767 or e-mail

Scotland Golf Day Prior to The PGA Show

On the Wednesday prior the 2009 PGA Show, Golf Tourism Scotland are organising a ‘Scotland’ branded golf day at The Celebration Golf Course, Orlando, which is being sponsored by VisitScotland in collaboration with GTS.

The day will consist of up to 40 professional individuals representing various sectors of the golfing industry getting together for this Texas Scramble team event, followed by some good food, some good company and the all important prizegiving.

The aim of the event is for Scotland - "The Home of Golf" - to take over a little piece of Orlando for the day to network with and entertain some of those who have supported Scotland with their golfing business over the years as well, of course, as meeting some of those who may send business in the future.

An introductory e-mail has already been sent out to members of NAGTOA, IGTOA and SIGTOA as well as various golf writers and press and other Scottish based golf tour operators and leading industry professionals.

Further e-mails are going out this week to all of the PGA Golf Pro’s who were on the Ambassadors Programme in October as well as those who attended through the Haversham & Baker programme.

Anyone looking for further information should contact

GTS Member Discount for Homecoming Classics

GTS members and their guests are being offered a £50 discount off of entry to the 2009 Scottish Homecoming Golf Classics. The four events which feature a number of GTS member courses across Scotland are aimed at the visiting golfer and offer four rounds of golf in a 72 hole handicap stabelford format.

GTS members and a guest can avail of £50 off either the golf or golf and accommodation package which also includes drinks reception, gift pack, prize fund and prizegiving dinner. The four events for 2009 take place in Ayrshire, Dornoch, East Lothian and Fife.

The full programme and information on reservations can be found at

Drive it Home 2009

The countdown is well under way for the official public launch of VisitScotland's Drive it Home golf promotion on Wednesday 21st January. The promotion has attracted almost one hundred golf clubs to sign up but Melanie Angus of VisitScotland is still hoping to attract more clubs as the launch date approaches.

"We're delighted with the response so far from the golf clubs around Scotland but it's not too late for any club who hasn't yet signed up to get involved. We're also keen to secure further offers from tour operators, accommodation providers & transport providers. Best bet is to drop me an email and I'll get back as soon as I can with details."

The launch plans have not yet been finalised but you can assume that sometime before the big Burns Homecoming Event at the end of this month there shall be a public splash. For up to date information on Homecoming Scotland 2009 visit the main Homecoming Scotland website.

Watch this space as they say.

Whisky and Style Offer

The deadline of 20th January is approaching for inclusion in the ‘Whisky & Style’ magazine. Coinciding with the Gent Whisky Festival, which takes place in February, this new glossy publication is being launched in Belgium to help promote fantastic whiskies, a whole range of world class luxury goods, top quality foods, travel and classy hotels. Golf will be specifically mentioned and linked to whisky.

VisitScotland have agreed to work with the publication to sponsor a whisky promotion and competition, which sees the winner travelling to Speyside to sample some of the local golden nectar! Whisky & Style would like to feature advertisements mixed with editorial and have indicated that golf would be given specific pages. Further incentive pricing has just been offered to GTS members, representing reductions of 40% on full rates:

  • Full page = 840 euro instead of 1400
  • 1/2 page = 480 euro instead of 800
  • 1/4 page = 270 euro instead of 450

To find out more please contact Freddy Fierens, Tel: 00 32 4754 94667 or e-mail: - referencing this Golf Tourism Scotland member offer.

Rhein Golf Opportunity

An opportunity has arisen for four partners to attend the Rheingolf show in Cologne between 13-15 February.

This is by far the largest and strongest event in Western Europe outside the UK, which had 27,000 visitors in 2008 (up to 32,000 expected this year) and attracts 500 exhibitors – mainly from Germany and Holland. We have managed to negotiate rates with Golf Scotland Germany of £2000 for regional alliances and £1400 for individual partners (reduced to £1100 for GTS members). These rates include heavy graphic and TV slide show presence, staff passes to the event as well as to all hospitality, and the assistance of Golf Scotland staff on the stand with presentations in German.

  • Germany now has almost 600,000 golfers!
  • There are no municipal golf courses in Germany; all are private and memberships range from around EUROS 1,500 to as much as 50,000 per year.
  • Germany has Europe’s highest level of female golfers.
  • The typical male German golfer is 49 years of age, has a high expendable income and takes part or books at least one overseas golf trip per year. He is either in a senior management position or is self employed.
  • His average spend on a week’s golfing trip is EUROS 2,600.
  • The German golfer enjoys over 30 days paid holiday per year this compares with 20 in the UK and many other countries.
  • No other European golfer spends as much money or as much time on golf holidays as a German!

For more information or to express your interest contact Lee Derrick or by phone on +44 7949 078 827

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Castle Stuart Website Update

Castle Stuart Golf Links has now gone live with its newly constructed website which can be found at

Ardgowan Hotel Members' Offer

The Ardgowan in St Andrews are offering GTS members special rates this winter. Full details on the offer are now available on the Special offers page on the website.

If you wish to publicise your own offer email info@golftourismscotland with full details

Castle Course Interview

Interesting interview in this morning's Scotsman with David McLay Kidd who designed The Castle Course in St Andrews. He justifies its quirks and explains the thought processes behind the development. Good read as it's a course that appears to have split opinion in the industry. What are your thoughts?

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Trustee for St Andrews Links

Sport Minister Stewart Maxwell today announced Ken Stewart as the Scottish Ministers representative member to the St Andrews Links Trust.

The St Andrews Links Trust was established in 1974 by a special Act of Parliament to take over the management of the Links from the St Andrews Town Council. The land remains in ownership of the local authority, now Fife Council, but the Act gives complete control of the management of the Links to the Trust.

The Trustees are responsible for setting policy, for new developments and for ensuring that the Links are run in accordance with the 1974 Act. The Links Management Committee is responsible to the Trustees for the day-to-day operation of the golf facilities.

The Trust comprises three nominations from the Council and three from the Royal and Ancient. In addition the local Member of Parliament, currently Sir Menzies Campbell MP, is automatically a Trustee and one is appointed by Scottish Ministers - the post is part-time and unpaid.
The annual turnover of the Trust last year was £12,705,252.

Full story at Scottish Government website