Scottish Open led to huge benefits for Ayrshire economy

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams September 12, 2017 12:05

The men’s and women’s Scottish Opens, both held at Dundonald Links in North Ayrshire this July, led to significant benefits for the local economy.

Reports have estimated that the two events delivered about £4 million to the area, and there are now calls for more women’s events to follow the men’s tournaments at the same venue shortly afterwards.

Data from North Ayrshire Council suggests more than 60,000 people attended the golf course for the events, and local hotels, restaurants and traders reported an increase in visitors.

The Scottish Open – won by Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello – attracted top players such as Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson.

There was also a strong international field for the Ladies Scottish Open, which was won by South Korean Lee Mi-hyang.

North Ayrshire cabinet member Alex Gallagher said the events would “create a legacy”.

He said: “This was a huge success on every level.

“By showing that we can host events such as these, it puts North Ayrshire on map and shows what we can offer to a worldwide audience.

“We’ve recently employed an international trade and investment manager and we are really pushing hard to develop new international markets.

“Having world-class events like these on our doorstep gives us an ideal opportunity to bring business and investors to the area.

“While a lot of the focus was on the superb golf being played during both the men’s and the ladies’ tournaments, it was the perfect setting to showcase what North Ayrshire has to offer and to create new business and investment opportunities that could benefit the area for years to come.”

Alan Grant, the senior golf manager at VisitScotland, added: “Overall, we’re delighted with how the tournaments went. We’ve been able to use both events to enhance Dundonald Links – a relatively new course – as a tourism venue and also Ayrshire as a region.”

Grant added that there were many advantages with staging the ladies’ event soon after the men’s.

“For starters, the tournament infrastructure was much improved and there was a far more engaging spectator environment,” he said.

“We wanted to raise the profile of the ladies’ event and I think we did that with the players that were attracted and the prize money being trebled.

“The media coverage was much improved on previous years and next year, when the event comes back, hopefully people will be a bit more aware of the event.

“The players loved Dundonald Links, really enjoyed the challenge and in playing at the same venue as the men’s two weeks earlier, I don’t see any reason why the can’t happen more often.

“I think we delivered a great week and hopefully we can continue to do so over the years to come to raise the profile of women’s golf.”

 

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams September 12, 2017 12:05
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