Scotland on global stage as home of golf

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THE GOLF industry in Scotland will have a strong showing at one of the game’s most significant global business events. 

Hosted in the United States of America, Scotland’s key international market for golf, the 70th annual PGA Show takes place this week (24th-27th January 2023) in Orlando, Florida. It brings together the worldwide golf industry, tens of thousands of PGA Professionals, golf leaders, industry executives and retailers. The event is also covered extensively by some of the biggest golf broadcast networks, online news outlets and publications. VisitScotland is co-ordinating and delivering the Scottish attendance on behalf of the industry. 

Looking to capitalise on the demand and interest created during one of the most successful years ever for golf in Scotland, several of the leading names from the golf industry in Scotland are attending. The high point in 2022 was the 150th Open at St Andrews, one of five major golf tournaments to be staged, both men’s and women’s, over five consecutive weeks across four Scottish regions. 

Due to the achievements, and the hard work of the wider golf tourism and hospitality industry, Scotland was crowned Best Golf Destination in Europe and Best Golf Destination in the World 2022 at the World Golf Awards, in Abu Dhabi last autumn.  

The Scotland Home of Golf delegation heading to the USA includes: Marine and Lawn Hotels, Links Golf St Andrews, Dundonald Links, Bonnie Wee Golf, Executive Golf & Leisure, Glenmuir, Golf Holidays Worldwide, Golphin and Perry Golf.  

Also supporting activities throughout the week are Carnoustie Golf Links, Gleneagles, St Andrews Links Trust, CustomX and Scottish Development International.  

VisitScotland has invited LPGA member and recent winner of the 2022 Toto Classic, Scotland’s leading female golfer Gemma Dryburgh, to the event to support Scottish businesses, including a ‘Beat the Pro session’. 

As well as exhibiting, the Scottish businesses attending on behalf of Scotland the Home of Golf will participate in a series of networking events, including a celebration of Burns’ Night. 

Alan Grant, VisitScotland Senior Golf Manager said: “Golf operators are very keen to connect with the important US industry, as well as those other key golf markets from around the globe at the PGA Show, one of the biggest of its kind and a key focus of our activity in North America. An overseas golfing visitor spends on average 4.5 times per day more than a typical visitor, so golf tourism can certainly help Scottish businesses recover from the pandemic amid the continuing economic challenges. 2022 was a very positive year but our focus, and that of the Scottish golf tourism industry, is on ensuring that we continue to position Scotland as a must visit golf destination in the years ahead.” 

Gemma Dryburgh, LPGA Tour winner, said: “It is always a proud moment to represent Scotland and promote our fantastic country, golf courses and warm hospitality. I’m really looking forward to working alongside some of the great Scottish businesses attending the PGA Show and it’s nice to be back in Florida where I spent time as a teenager starting my career.” 

Graeme Pook, Executive Golf & Leisure, said: “There’s no better time to promote what Scotland offers golf visitors after such an amazing year, with the 150th Open in St Andrews and the other major men’s and women’s events held and being named World’s Best Golf Destination. The Scottish businesses attending will be working hard to ensure the golf tourism industry continues to grow from strength to strength.” 

The golf industry in Scotland is worth more than £1.1 billion with golf tourism accounting for approximately £286 million annually, supporting around 4,400 jobs.   

The Genesis Scottish Open once again returns to The Renaissance Club, North Berwick, in July this year, while Dundonald Links hosts another Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open this summer.  

VisitScotland invests more than £3 million annually to support golf events and to market Scotland globally as the Home of Golf. 

The Scottish Government and VisitScotland have long supported women’s golf, which includes a five-year extension to the Women’s Scottish Open investment of up to £6m through to 2025. 

Of the overseas markets, 50% of visitors are from the US; Germany and Scandinavia are among the other major international golf tourism markets to Scotland.   

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