“Scotland will see more golf tourists this year than ever before”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 25, 2024 12:38

An event to celebrate Scottish golf tourism has predicted that golf tourists will visit the ‘home of golf’ from more countries than ever before in 2024.

Scottish Golf Tourism Week saw 90 tour operators representing a record 40 countries spend the week visiting courses around Scotland and taking part in over 3,500 face-to-face appointments planning itineraries for visiting golfers in 2024 and 2025.

Organised by DC Thomson and supported by The Highland Council, Visit Inverness Loch Ness, Highland and Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland, deals done during the week bring an estimated 50,000 golf tourists to Scotland each year.

The six-day annual event has been taking place in St Andrews since 2016 and relocated to Inverness for the first time this year. The decision to move the event from its Fife home was taken to make it easier for north east suppliers, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to access global buyers.

The week culminated with the Scottish Golf Tourism Awards, held at the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre in Inverness.

A total of 15 awards were handed out at a gala dinner attended by over 500 people to celebrate the clubs, hotels and experiences that have helped shape Scotland’s reputation as a world-class golfing destination.

Golf clubs across the north east did particularly well with the Royal Dornoch Golf Club winning the award for best course in the over £250 category, Cruden Bay Golf Club near Peterhead winning the £150-£250 category and Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Links on the Black Isle winning the under £100 group.

A high point of the night was a standing ovation for Gary Wilkinson, former chairman of the Scottish Inbound Golf Tour Operators Association who received a special recognition award for his unwavering contributions to the golf industry.

Andy Williams, chief revenue officer at DC Thomson, organiser of the event said: “It has been very motivating to see the positivity and optimism this week as Scotland’s golf industry has been proudly showing off to the world what makes this country, that is arguably the home of golf, so special.

“We organise Scottish Golf Tourism Week as it really makes a difference to local suppliers. The average benefit for each business taking part is projected to be in excess of £215,000 in the three years following the event which is just extraordinary. The economic benefits goes beyond that, and it’s estimated that Scottish Golf Tourism Week contributes an estimated £3 million to the local economy, highlighting the vital role that golf tourism plays in supporting businesses and community development across Scotland.”

Vicki Harrison, general manager at Dundonald Links, said: “Since opening our lodges and pods in 2021, we have been inundated with positive reviews and incredible feedback.

“Being recognised at the Scottish Golf Tourism Awards is a real honour and testament to both the success of our investment and the hard work of the team.”

The full list of winners at this year’s Scottish Golf Tourism Awards are:

Best Budget Friendly Hotel – 3 Star or Equivalent: Red House Hotel

Best Premium Hotel – 4 Star or Equivalent: Dundonald Links

Best Luxury Hotel – 5 Star or Equivalent: Gleneagles Hotel

Best Exclusive Use Venue: Fenton Tower

Best Course Under £100: Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Links

Best Course £100 – £250: Cruden Bay Golf Club

Best Course Over £250: Royal Dornoch Golf Club

Best 9-Hole Course: Durness Golf Club

Best Clubhouse: Dumbarnie Golf Links

Best Clubhouse (highly commended): Carnoustie Golf Links

Best Pro Shop: Carnoustie Golf Links

Best Sustainability Project: St Andrews Links Trust

Best Golf Marketing Campaign: Bonnie Wee Golf

Best Tour Operator: Connoisseur Golf

Special Recognition: Gary Wilkinson

Meanwhile, after another record-breaking year in 2023 for visitors, Scotland’s Golf Coast has reported a positive start to 2024 with enquiries and bookings at an all-time high.

With the addition of Goswick, Scotland’s Golf Coast now has 22 golf courses, a selection of accommodation, restaurants as well as transport providers – everything you need to arrange a golfing trip. Goswick is a little over an hour’s drive from Edinburgh and offers the Gateway to Scotland’s Golf Coast to golfers arriving from the South and the Continent via the North Sea ferry.


Scotland’s Golf Coast offers an impressive range of golf courses and accommodation, making East Lothian a destination for everyone. From bucket-list golf courses, such as Muirfield and North Berwick, to the historic nine holes of Musselburgh Links, hidden gems like Gifford and the challenging second Dunbar course at Winterfield, Scotland’s Golf Coast has golf for all.

East Lothian is Scotland’s sunniest and driest region, and with spectacular courses along the coast from Edinburgh to the border, golf can be played 365 days a year. The wide range of accommodation combined with the variety of golf makes Scotland’s Golf Coast the ideal destination for all budgets.

Three of the accommodation providers have taken the hassle out of arranging golf trips with their Stay and Play packages. It is possible to book your full trip with one email, or one phone call.

Garleton Lodge is a six-bedroom small hotel perched overlooking the Firth of Forth. With a reputation for fine food, and a wonderful whisky collection, Garleton Lodge has a variety of golf packages, and they are also happy to arrange bespoke itineraries. They have just launched a new Gateway to Scotland package from £635 per person, including three nights and four rounds at Goswick, Craigielaw, Dunbar and Gullane No.2.


The golf resort of Craigielaw, just outside Aberlady, offers a links golf course, six-hole par 3 course, grass driving range, 30-bedroom lodge and restaurant. Their low season package from £243 per person includes two nights’ dinner, bed, and breakfast and three rounds – two at Craigielaw and one at Kilspindie.

North Berwick Golf Lodge is a five-minute walk from the centre of North Berwick, a popular seaside town. The four homely bedrooms and separate cottage can accommodate up to 12 guests, and their hearty breakfast make North Berwick Golf Lodge the ideal base for golfers. Three nights and three rounds at Dunbar, the Glen and Gullane No.2 will cost from £530 per person.

Scotland’s Golf Coast is a marketing alliance – including golf clubs, accommodation providers and local businesses – with the aim of developing and promoting golf tourism in East Lothian: Scotland’s Golf Coast.

The Glen

East Lothian boasts the greatest concentration of Championship links golf courses in the world. Host to the Scottish Open seven times in the past nine years, and the Women’s Scottish Open in 2018, 2019 and 2020, East Lothian hosted both the Genesis Scottish Open and the AIG Women’s Open in 2022.

For more information about Scotland’s Golf Coast, email to info@scotlandsgolfcoast.com.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 25, 2024 12:38
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