Follow VisitScotland

Scotland leads strong UK golf industry

Press Release   •   Mar 24, 2016 11:32 GMT

Golf tourism and major events in Scotland is vital to the future success of golf in the UK, according to a new report funded by The R&A.

The report, compiled by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, indicates that Scotland accounts for 20 per cent of added value to the UK economy from the golf industry, despite comprising just eight per cent of the population.

Scotland’s highly developed golf tourism and events offering, its worldwide reputation as Scotland, the Home of Golf and the country’s higher golf participation rate compared with the rest of the UK are cited as the key factors in Scotland’s strong overall performance within the UK golf industry.

The report also concludes that the golf industry in Scotland grew significantly in the three years from 2011 to 2014.Increases in consumer spending, gross value added (GVA) and job creation during this period have been linked with the hosting of major events such as The Open and The 2014 Ryder Cup as well as investment in major golf resorts and a stronger economy.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The number of jobs supported      by the golf industry in Scotland has increased from 12,000* to almost      15,000 from 2011-2014
  • Golf industry GVA in Scotland      was £409m in 2014, and consumer spending on golf increased from £636m* to      £861m from 2011-2014
  • Scotland’s golf participation      rates are 7 per cent for regular golfers and 17.5 per cent for occasional      golfers compared with an average of 3 per cent and 7.4 per cent for the UK      respectively
  • Overall, golfers in the UK      spend £4.3 billion per year, equating to 14 per cent of consumer spending      on all sport

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “This report funded by The R&A shows the huge impact and influence that Scotland has in the golf industry not only in the UK but worldwide and the considerable value of the industry to Scotland’s economy.

“Scotland is undoubtedly the home of golf but it is also a country in which the game continues to thrive to this day. Golf in Scotland is an inclusive sport and that is reflected not only in the higher participation rates but in the sheer breadth of accessible golf courses across the country and the number of visitors flocking to Scotland to experience golf in the country where it began.

“The golf industry is a key driver for economic activity across a number of sectors including equipment, accommodation, food & drink and retail. It creates jobs and encourages spending and there is no doubt that Scotland’s strong golf tourism and major events portfolio is a significant factor in this success.”

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “Golf is one of the most popular sports in Scotland and throughout the UK as a whole. This report presents an extremely positive picture of the sport and highlights the substantial contribution it makes to the economy. It will enable us to measure growth and identify emerging trends in future which will be extremely valuable.

“The return of golf to the Olympic Games in Rio this summer heralds an important period for the sport and offers us a tremendous opportunity to build some additional momentum in promoting golf to a wider audience around the world. In Scotland, we can look forward to the return of The Open to Royal Troon in July which will once again place Scottish golf in the global spotlight.”

Hosting major golf events in Scotland is a key part of Scotland’s national events strategy, Scotland The Perfect Stage. VisitScotland leads Scotland’s investment in the marketing of golf tourism and the support of major golf events, including The 2014 Ryder Cup and the recent successful bid for The Solheim Cup in 2019. The organisation has also forged close links with The R&A through the regular staging of The Open in Scotland as well as supporting a multitude of other events such as The Senior Open Championship, Ricoh Women’s British Open and Aberdeen Asset Management Men’s and Ladies Scottish Opens among many others.

VisitScotland continues to look at innovative ways of promoting golf tourism in Scotland including attending overseas events, marketing campaigns and the support of the inaugural Scottish Golf Tourism Week due to take place in St Andrews in October 2016.

The full report can be downloaded from

*According to figures quoted in 2011 study into the value of golf by KPMG.

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

Scotland, the Home of Golf

  • Scotland is renowned around the world as the Home of Golf. It is the birthplace of the game and to this day remains its spiritual home. It is also a modern, dynamic and world-class golf events and tourism destination welcoming hundreds of thousands of golfers every year and regularly playing host to the biggest tournaments in the world.
  • Through activity delivered by organisations including VisitScotland, Scottish Development International and Scottish Golf, the Scottish Government is committed to continuing to support the growth of the game in this country. This includes; supporting economic and business growth within the Scottish economy, driving increased participation in the sport and helping to nurture the next generation of Scottish golfing stars through the Clubgolf programme of junior golf activities.
  • For more information on the Scottish Government and its partners: | | | | | |


  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to

    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
  • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting