Scotland celebrates a golfing year to remember

As the golfing summer in Scotland draws to a close with the Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Seniors Open at Archerfield this week, the country is celebrating an unprecedented 12-month period of being in the world’s spotlight, during which time more than 622,000 spectators attended golf events watched by hundreds of millions of fans around the globe.

 The Archerfield event, which is one of the longest running on the European Seniors Tour, is the 11th international golf event to have taken place in Scotland in just 12 months and the 60th event supported overall as part of Scotland’s 2014 Ryder Cup tournament legacy programme since 2003.

 And to coincide with the Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Seniors Open, the wider benefits of The 2014 Ryder Cup are being revealed with the publication of an independent study which shows the event at Gleneagles attracted more than 63,000 visitors from outwith Scotland and supported spend in excess of £106m for the host country.

 Sam Torrance, vice captain in the European Team at Gleneagles and a competitor in the Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Seniors Open, joined VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay at Archerfield to publish the report compiled by Sheffield Hallam University's Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC).

 Torrance, who was also a winning European captain at The Belfry in 2002, said: “This has been a phenomenal 12 months for golf events in Scotland. From the unforgettable scenes at Gleneagles last September to playing here at Archerfield this week in the Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Seniors Open, it has been an incredible year and shows what a wonderful country Scotland is for golf.

 “Being part of a winning European Team in my home country was a special feeling and to see the major benefits it has brought to Scotland through spectator and visitor numbers, junior golf programmes and golf tournament legacy shows what a terrific event it was for the country as a whole.”

 The 2014 Ryder Cup, held at Gleneagles in Perthshire during September 2014, was part of a landmark year for Scotland during which it also held the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the second Year of Homecoming Scotland.

 It was hailed as the best ever staging of a Ryder Cup by media, public and organisers alike, delivering a host of benefits in the form of an enhanced portfolio of golf events and the inception of the innovative ClubGolf programme across a number of years leading up to 2014. Now SIRC’s report has revealed the full economic and wider benefits to Scotland from hosting The 2014 Ryder Cup.

 The report showed that £106m was spent in Scotland as a direct result of hosting the event – including the event week and extended stays by Ryder Cup attendees - £22m of which was in the host region of Perth & Kinross.

Other key findings from the report include:

57 per cent of event spectators came from outwith Scotland with 22 per cent travelling from overseas to attend the event.

Attendees at The Ryder Cup accounted for a total of 133,104 bed nights during the week of the event alone whilst a further 10,793 attendees extended their stay either pre or post event, which accounted for an additional 57,758 bed nights.

Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of accommodation providers reported greater than normal takings compared with September 2013 with an average 21 percentage point increase.

Spectators were inspired to return to Scotland with 68 per cent of attendees from outwith the country indicating they would visit Scotland within a year for a leisure break.

The media value for the event totalled £42m, including the provision of more than 5,000 hours of television coverage by 50 broadcasters in 200 territories.

Scotland’s Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn MSP, said: “There is no doubt The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles was a huge success story for Scotland. When the sun rose above the Ochil Hills on the Friday morning just before the first tee shot was struck, the pictures being beamed to more than 600 million homes around the world could not have shown Scotland in any better light.

“And now, with the publication of this independent study from the Sport Industry Research Centre, we can see the full extent of the major benefits The 2014 Ryder Cup delivered for Scotland. From huge numbers of visitors travelling from outwith Scotland and hotels reporting high occupancy levels to the introduction of the ClubGolf and Get into Golf programmes, which provide every child and family in the country the opportunity to play golf, it is clear that The 2014 Ryder Cup has cemented Scotland’s reputation as the Home of Golf and the perfect stage for hosting major events and delivered benefits across Scotland that we will be feeling for many years to come.”

Richard Hills, European Ryder Cup Director, said: “These figures published today demonstrate the wide spectrum of involvement that Ryder Cup Europe had with Scotland over a period of years in the delivery of The 2014 Ryder Cup. We are delighted they reflect so well on Scotland’s economy and the development of the game as a whole, whilst evolving the nation’s golfing product.

“They also reflect how actively The Ryder Cup became involved with the educational resource in the country. We are proud of this aspect and our continuing relationship and partnership with many events in Scotland.”

Backing up claims of Scotland hosting the “best ever” Ryder Cup, the report reveals high levels of spectator satisfaction with their Ryder Cup experiences ( 92 per cent), with 71 per cent of those attending reporting their experiences as excellent. Of the spectators who had attended at least one of the previous four Ryder Cups, 58 per cent rated Gleneagles as the best with a further 32 per cent indicating it was just as good as previous editions.

The reputation of Scotland was also enhanced from the event with 97 per cent of respondents agreeing that Scotland is the Home of Golf while 95 per cent agreed that Scotland was The Perfect Stage to host The Ryder Cup. In addition, Scotland (amongst the home nations) was the most highly rated place to play golf with 95 per cent rating it as good/very good.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, which led Scotland’s preparations on behalf of The Scottish Government, added: “We take great pride in Scotland’s reputation as the Home of Golf and we are delighted that so many spectators agree with that fact. The 2014 Ryder Cup showed what Scotland can do on the world stage and we were honoured to throw open our doors to so many spectators from countries around the globe. Our Events Directorate at VisitScotland led Scotland’s preparations alongside Richard Hills and his team at Ryder Cup Europe and, in partnership with Gleneagles, delivered a visitor experience that was second to none.

“The fact that more than 10,000 spectators chose to extend their stay to the benefit of tourism businesses across Scotland is testament to that warm welcome and with such a high percentage indicating they will be making a return trip in the near future, we look forward to welcoming them many more times to Scotland, the Home of Golf.”

The study by the Sport Industry Research Centre is the most comprehensive ever undertaken at The Ryder Cup and involved more than 9,000 survey responses from spectators.

The 2014 Ryder Cup was delivered in partnership between Ryder Cup Europe, the Scottish Government (led by VisitScotland’s Events Directorate) and Gleneagles. Other key delivery partners were Transport Scotland, Perth & Kinross Council and Police Scotland.

Aside from those outlined in the economic benefits study, there is a whole host of further legacy benefits to Scotland from hosting The 2014 Ryder Cup.

These include:

The inception of the innovative ClubGolf programme, which is being used as the blueprint for junior golf participation across the world, which to date has seen more than 350,000 schoolchildren in Scotland introduced to golf.

The creation of an envied portfolio of golf events in Scotland. Between 2003 and 2014, £10.9m was invested in supporting golf events across Scotland with The Ryder Cup being the 55th supported event.

For a full list of Ryder Cup legacy benefits see The 2014 Ryder Cup Highlights report:http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0046/00463924.pdf

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