• Top Scottish resorts enjoying post-Brexit economic boom
• Bookings for next year are 'substantially up' at Carnoustie
• St Andrews Links also 10% up across 2016 from 2014
SCOTTISH GOLF | BREXIT
Some of Scotland’s most famous golf facilities are enjoying a post-Brexit economic boom which is expected to continue well into 2017.
Golfbreaks, one of Europe’s largest golf travel companies, reported earlier this month that sales to US-based customers between July and September had increased by 238% on the previous three months as the dollar exchange rate grew favourably in the wake of the referendum result in late June.
"Our bookings looking ahead to next year are substantially up" - Colin McLeod
Carnoustie (above), host venue for the Senior Open back in July and the Open Championship in 2018, is one of the places that has benefitted the most – along with St Andrews and Kingsbarns – with Americans seizing on the opportunity for the best value-for-money golf trip possible.
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“Our bookings looking ahead to next year are substantially up,” Carnoustie Golf Links’ Golf Services Manager Colin McLeod told bunkered.co.uk. “60% of our visitors are from the United States anyway but we’re ahead at the minute. Of course, it may not finish like that as once our tee times are full, they’re full.
“We’re 20% cheaper for American golfers than we were a year ago as a result of Brexit, so there are a lot of people taking advantage of that, and it’s not just green fees.
"This is certainly creating an additional boost" - Colin McLeod
“If you take it down to the price of a caddie, £50 is around $65 whereas a year ago it was up around $80 or $85. So it’s the associated items that go with it too, including the likes of food, drink and accommodation.
“Scotland has developed itself over the years as the No.1 golf destination in the world and this is certainly creating an additional boost – linked in with the fact that we hosted the Senior Open this year and will host the Open in 2018.”
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While Americans take advantage of the cheaper rates, McLeod believes that for golfers in the UK, the prospect of it being 20% more expensive when they go abroad will make them think twice about going on holiday – instead opting for a ‘staycation’.
“As for bookings from UK visitors, we’ve been steady thus far,” added McLeod. “We believe the exchange rate is going to create a ‘staycation’ scenario.
"We believe the exchange rate is going to create a ‘staycation’ scenario" - Colin McLeod
“Golfers will be encouraged to stay put. If everything’s 20% dearer, it’s going to make people question whether they should really be going abroad and it’ll maybe result in looking more within the UK.”
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However, at St Andrews Links (above), External Relations and Media Manager Laurie Watson was more reluctant to pin its growing popularity solely on Brexit – despite its visitor numbers also continuing to rise.
“I’ve looked through our data for the year to date and we would say we’re approximately 10% up on visitor numbers across the courses on 2014,” he told bunkered.co.uk. “We compare 2016 to 2014 rather than 2015 due to course closures in the height of summer for The Open.
"It is really pleasing to see visitor numbers rising" - Laurie Watson
“It is really pleasing to see visitor numbers rising, especially when it’s over and above the Old Course, which is pretty close to capacity year on year.
“We couldn’t attribute it to one nationality or Brexit but we certainly feel very confident about the appeal to play our courses and our commitment to presenting them and the wider experience in the best way possible.”
Brexit boom for Scottish golf courses
Would you agree that Brexit is so far having a positive effect on golf in Scotland? And how long do you think this will continue? Leave your thoughts in the 'Comments' section below.