340,000 golf event spectators were interested in Scotland

By: December 29, 2014

51 hours left from 2014. So here is the time to summarize this year. Scotland rightly can rejoice this year.

In 2014, Scotland attracted 340,000 golf event spectators. VisitScotland says this year was the 2nd highest year for golf event attendance in Scotland’s history, behind only 2007 when The Open, Women’s British Open and The Senior Open Championship were all held in Scotland alongside three main European Tour events. 

Gleneagles 100days to go_Ryder_Cup

Several golf championships and events contributed to this success, especially the Ryder Cup that by itself attracted 240,000 spectators to the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles. Other important events were:

  • Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open (Royal Aberdeen)
  • SE Scottish Seniors Open (Fairmont St Andrews)
  • Scottish Hydro Challenge (Spey Valley)
  • Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open (Archerfield)
  • Dunhill Links Championships (St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns)

Did you know that golf tourists spend approximately 2.5 times more than a regular tourist? Other interesting finding is for every £1 spent on green fees by golf visitors, an extra £5 is spent on extras such as accommodation, food and retail.

Braemar Royal Highland Society

Although we are celebrating now, we should not forget that Scotland and its golf clubs should think about how to diversify the sources of golfing visitors. Holiday planning is not exclusively the "men's world", but women's influence is gaining momentum. So the big question is how we can convince/influence women to consider/choose Scotland + playing golf as a holiday program instead of a sunny beach of Spain/Italy/Portugal.

This is really a big challenge! So it is not a big surprise why Spain and Portugal are in better position. However this is not an unchangeable situation as we pay more attention how people and especially women are planning their family's holiday:

  • 52% turn to social media for advice and inspiration;
  • 64% of affluent travellers watch videos in order to decide.
  • They would like to play golf with their family + other female golfers in a less masculine environment

So my point is that we should pay more attention to social media and look beyond classic solutions like Tripadvisor. In 2013 two so called golf travel search engines appeared in the market: Golfboo and Golfscape. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is even providing mobile application to help vacation planning. These are good examples how golf tourism promotion is becoming more complex.

In addition to this golf clubs should do more to please women to feel good and welcomed.