HIGHLAND GOLF VISITOR DRIVE PAYING OFF
Stuart McColm, general manager, Castle Stuart Golf Links, a Highland Golf Links partner
There has never been a better time for golfers to head to the Highlands and new figures show record numbers are doing just that.
This year we have seen the highest number of golfing visitors take advantage of Play and Stay packages offered by Highland Golf Links to boost business during the ‘shoulder’ months of April, October and November.
Last year the number of packages increased by 22.6 per cent on 2014 and this year they have risen again by a further 32 per cent, providing significant off-peak income. We are already receiving bookings for 2017 and, with prices remaining the same, we hope our record will again be broken next year.
Starting at £299 per person, the packages offer the chance to play rounds at three of Scotland’s most renowned links courses – Castle Stuart Golf Links, Royal Dornoch Golf Club and The Nairn Golf Club – as well as enjoy luxury accommodation at leading hotels, the Kingsmills and Culloden House in Inverness and the Royal Golf in Dornoch.
These are now being snapped up by visitors from across the UK, as well as by golfers from the US, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Norway.
Play and Stay is a fantastic initiative that has helped increase business at times of the year when we would otherwise be quieter. It lets golfers play top-ranked and high quality courses without having to pay the high season fees and they get top of the range accommodation at a great price also. It’s very easy to book – you just tell us where and when you want to play and we do the rest.
What makes it even better value for money at the moment is that the drop in Sterling after the Brexit vote means it is cheaper to holiday in the UK, pay for green fees and buy food and drink. New flights introduced this year connecting Inverness to Heathrow and Amsterdam have made it easier and more convenient to travel to the Highlands.
And a great year of golf at our three leading links courses has helped raise the profile of the area even further, as was evident during my visit to Scottish Golf Tourism Week recently.
Castle Stuart staged the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, Nairn hosted the Fairstone Men’s Home Internationals and Royal Dornoch was the venue for the Northern Open as well as the biggest gathering of ‘royal’ clubs ever organised as part of the celebrations to mark 400 years of golf being played in the town. In addition, the three clubs have just staged a successful Highland Golf Links Pro-Am, sponsored by Blue Group, which attracted a capacity field.
It was all welcome business for the HGL partners, which are benefiting from the publicity generated by these events, but also hard work on the marketing front, both
individually and collectively, to promote the area like never before.
For further information on Play and Stay see www.highlandgolflinks.com/packages/