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HOME INTERNATIONALS TEE UP ANOTHER SHOWCASE FOR THE HIGHLANDS

Tracey Milton, Sales Manager, Kingsmills Hotel, a Highland Golf Links partner

As the prestigious Fairstone Men’s Home Internationals get under way this week at Nairn Golf Club, the Highlands has another chance to showcase itself as a major golfing destination.

The pictures from the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open last month are still fresh in the mind. Spectacular images of the stunning Moray Firth location were seen by millions of people around the world, providing a tourism legacy that could benefit the area for many years to come.

The feedback from some of the world’s leading players, media and golf commentators was also extremely positive and can only help promote the area across the globe.

Our golf-related business at the Kingsmills has grown 14 per cent year on year and we expect to see even more of an increase after the international coverage of the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart. Add to that the interest in the Highlands generated by Royal Dornoch’s programme to mark 400 years of golf being played in the town, and now the Home Internationals, followed by the Women’s International Team Challenge in September, also at Nairn.

The Highlands’ famous links courses, backed by hotels like the Kingsmills and other HGL partners Culloden House and the Royal Golf, as well as public bodies and sponsors, have shown on many occasions now the venues, setting, infrastructure and accessibility are there to host large-scale golf events.

This year’s Scottish Open was the fourth in six years held at Castle Stuart. Nairn has previously successfully held both the Walker Cup (in 1999) and the Curtis Cup (in 2012) and next year will welcome the Boys Amateur Championship. Royal Dornoch won plaudits for its hosting of the Jacques Leglise Trophy last year and Northern Open this year, while it has previously hosted the Senior Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship, both the men’s and ladies’ Home Internationals, the men’s and ladies’ Scottish Amateur Championships and the British Amateur Championship.

Accessibility to the Highlands has never been better with both British Airways and KLM starting new daily air links to Inverness this year to add to existing services, making it easier for visitors to use the area at a gateway to Scotland for their golfing holiday.

And competitive or leisure golfers should also bear in mind the Kingsmills has an admirable record of hosting winners. The last four champions at the Scottish Open held at Castle Stuart have stayed at the hotel during the tournament – Luke Donald (2011), Jeev Milka Singh (2012), Phil Mickelson (2013) and this year’s winner Alex Norén.

Not only that, we have also had as guests Scottish Open competitors who have gone on to become champions in The Open the following week – Henrik Stenson this year, and also Darren Clarke (2011), Ernie Els (2012) and Phil Mickelson (2013).