Around 70,000 golf fans are set to flock to some of the north of Scotland’s most iconic courses in the coming weeks, providing a significant impact to the local visitor economy.
VisitScotland is investing a total of £1.4 million into events at Aviemore, Lossiemouth and Inverness which kick off a summer of nine professional golf events across the country.
The SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Qualifier and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Openat Castle Stuart all take place over the next three weekends, with each event receiving funding support from the EventScotland team within VisitScotland’s events directorate as part of the golf legacy programme from The 2014 Ryder Cup
The SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge, which has been supported by VisitScotland since 2006, takes place this weekend (23 – 26 June) and is designed to leave a legacy by providing the opportunity for the next wave of Scottish touring professionals to advance to the next stage in their careers.
The event, which is free to attend, takes place at Spey Valley Golf Club in Aviemore and will feature a host of family activities as well as a chance to see the best up-and-coming players in the world.
The Hydro Challenge is followed by the the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Qualifier in Lossiemouth, Moray the following weekend (2 – 3 July).
The free-to-attend event is part of the PGA of Scotland’s Tartan Tour Series with a £50,000 prize fund and five qualifying spots for the Scottish Open the following weekend up for grabs.
In 2015, local amateur Calum Hill was one of the five qualifiers to earn a place in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open where he played a practice round with eventual champion Rickie Fowler.
The final event sees return of the biggest golf event to take place annually in Scotland, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart, Inverness (7-10 July).
The tournament, which occupies an envied position on the golf calendar, the week before The Open, boasts one of the strongest fields of any European Tour event with names such as Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson and Scotland's world number 24 Russell Knox, born in nearby Inverness, all set to tee off at Castle Stuart.
Castle Stuart will also be showcased to a massive North American television audience thanks to a broadcast deal with NBC and The Golf Channel.
The event is the only regular European Tour event to be shown live on US network television with this year being the fourth consecutive year that the tournament has been broadcast in the US.
As part of the agreement, VisitScotland’s ‘Spirit of Scotland’ cinematic adverts will also be screened throughout NBC’s coverage.
Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director said:
“These high profile sporting events have an immense impact on tourism in the Highlands and surrounding areas, attracting golf fans from across Scotland and beyond.
“Events are a vitally important part of the local visitor economy with the ripple effect of event tourism felt in shops, hotels, restaurants and a wide variety of other businesses across the region.
“Golf tourism is worth £220m to the country annually and hosting fantastic events like the ones here in the north of Scotland in the coming weeks only enhance further our country’s reputation as the Home of Golf.”
HIGHLAND AND MORAY GOLF EVENTS SUMMER 2016
Date: 23 – 26 June 2016
Event: SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge
Location: Spey Valley Golf Club, Aviemore
Date: 2 – 3 July 2016
Event: Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Pre-Qualifier
Location: The Moray Golf Club, Lossiemouth
Date: 7 – 10 July 2016
Event: Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open
Location: Castle Stuart, Inverness