Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Scotland’s Day in the Sun

For the third year running, Scotland held a golf day at Celebration Golf Club prior to the annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.

The field of 72 golfers who attended the Scotland Golf Day included golf writers, US-based golf tour operators, Scottishbased suppliers and golf influencers all of whom have a strong interest in growing golf tourism into Scotland.

The day, which is a GTS-led initiative sponsored by VisitScotland and Scottish Development International, had a dash of extra colour thanks to Slanj Trews which provided tartan trousers to all those exhibiting on this year’s Scotland stand. (We assume that GTS Board Member Fraser Cromarty pictured right is fashioning a pair)

GTS chairman Lee Derrick commented: “The Scotland Golf Day is now gaining a reputation as an informal platform to strengthen and forge new working relationships, so much so, that this year we could have opened the event up to over 100 people.”

Old Course Ballot to Change

According to the Old Course website, the daily ballot for the world renowned Old Course is to change from January 2012, moving to a 48 hour ahead system of entering for the first time in its history.

AS GTS members are all well aware, for many years golfers have entered the ballot one day ahead of when they wish to play the famous Links but from Saturday, January 7, 2012 golfers will enter two days before.

The change is being made by St Andrews Links Trust, which manages the seven public courses at the Home of Golf, following an extensive consultation exercise with local golfers, local golf clubs, businesses, golf organisations, hoteliers, travel operators and tourism bodies.

It is hoped the change to 48 hours ahead will benefit both local and visiting golfers by enabling them to plan their golf more effectively if they know further in advance when they will be playing the Old Course. It will dovetail with the one-day ahead booking system on the Jubilee, Eden and Strathtyrum courses and will enable golfers who have been unsuccessful in the ballot to book an alternative course for the day they want to play. The earlier draw will make it easier for visiting golfers to plan accommodation and travel arrangements and will encourage them to stay longer in St Andrews and play more golf in and around the town.

Euan Loudon, chief executive of St Andrews Links Trust, said, “This is an historic moment of change and one which has been carefully considered by Trustees and the Links Management Committee. The one-day ahead ballot has been in place for a long time but we believe it is now time to change.

“We hope the 48 hour ahead system will help local golfers plan their golf and will encourage visiting golfers to stay longer in St Andrews and play more golf while they are here. The feedback we have received from many travel operators and hotel and guest house owners suggests it will make it easier for them to plan their clients’ golf itineraries.”

The 48 hour ahead ballot will be drawn for the first time on Saturday, January, 7, 2012 for play on Monday, January 9, 2012. To enter the ballot requires at least two golfers and they will have to enter their names, home clubs and handicaps by 2pm. The ballot will take place every day of the week with the exception of Friday as there is no play on the Old Course on Sundays.

How is this change going to impact on GTS members? We'd welcome your comments