HIGHLAND GOLF EVENT LEAVES ECONOMIC AND CHARITY LEGACY
A prestigious golf tournament has provided a late season economic boost to the Highland economy and to two major charities.
The annual Highland Golf Links 54-hole Pro-Am sponsored by Blue Group was held this week at three of Scotland’s finest links courses – Castle Stuart Golf Links, The Nairn Golf Club and the Championship Course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club.
Despite challenging weather conditions at times, the capacity field of 300 players in 80 teams from the UK, Europe and Doha enjoyed three days of outstanding golf, culminating in a dinner at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness last night (wed).
The Kingsmills, along with Culloden House in Inverness and the Royal Golf Hotel in Dornoch and the three courses, are members of Highland Golf Links (HGL) which promotes play and stay golfing breaks in the north of Scotland.
Joint pro winners were Neil Fenwick, Jonathan Grogan, Neil Henderson and Gareth Wright. Team winner was Glasgow Whisky2, captained by Rory Taylor and with pro James Ross.
The event, which is part of the Tartan Tour and was sponsored for the second year in succession by Blue Group, raised a total of £2,250 for two charities – The Oxygen Works, created by the MS Therapy Centre, in Inverness, which is marking its 25th anniversary this year; and Highland Hospice, which supports people, their families and carers, living with life shortening illness.
The Oxygen Works provides a range of treatments – including oxygen therapy, physiotherapy and massage and reflexology – to help people with a number of medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis, cancer, Parkinson’s and diabetes, as well as sports injuries.
It is the only facility of its kind in the UK providing such a range of therapies and services to a diverse population of individuals and uses the only oxygen chamber in the central Highlands of Scotland.
Highland Hospice has been caring for patients and their families for 30 years. The first patient entered the day hospice in November, 1987 and a year later the purpose-built inpatient unit opened. A new, upgraded hospice opened in 2016.
Prizes at the fundraising events included 4-ball matches at Castle Stuart, Royal Dornoch or Nairn, with accommodation at a HGL member.
Blue Group director Austin Carey said: “Once again, the HGL Pro-Am proved to be an outstanding success. We had a capacity field and while the weather ensured we got the full links experience at times, it was fantastic to play these amazing courses and also raise money for important charities.”
Pro-Am competitors play on successive days at Castle Stuart, home of the Scottish Open on four occasions in the last seven years; Royal Dornoch, which hosted the Northern Open last year as part of celebrations to mark 400 years of golf being played in the town; and Nairn, which has staged both the Walker Cup and Curtis Cup and this year held the international Boys Amateur Championship.
The Pro-Am is estimated to generate about £200,000 for the Highland economy, with HGL partners and other businesses in the area all benefiting from late-season business.
Event organiser Fraser Cromarty, CEO at The Nairn Golf Club and chairman of HGL, said: “The Pro-Am continues to set records with the highest ever number taking part this year. The event gets stronger and more popular each year, thanks to Blue Group and everyone who supports us over the three days.
“I’m also delighted that our fundraising this year will help two leading charities who do amazing work in the area.”
The event, which currently boasts a professional prize fund of more than £50,000, is open to teams of four players from anywhere in the world consisting of three amateurs (ladies or gentlemen) plus a professional of their choice. Teams that do not include a pro are allocated a leading player from the PGA Scotland Order of Merit.