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It’s the Home of Golf – and now Scotland’s status as the best destination in the world is official.

The country has been awarded the accolade at the World Golf Awards, scooping the crown of “best golf destination” for the first time in the gala’s nine-year history.

Part of the World Travel Awards, it celebrates excellence in golf tourism with the winners chosen by tour operators, media and golf fans from all over the world.

Scotland has also been named the best destination in Europe in a separate category, marking the first time a country has won both awards in the same year.

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It comes on the back of a huge year for the sport, headlined by the 150th Open which was held at St Andrews.

The country also hosted the genesis Scottish Open, Senior Open Presented by Roles, Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, Hero Open, AIG Women’s Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship,

In total nearly half a million spectators attended the events, and bosses hope the historic double will attract more visitors to the sport’s birthplace.

“These awards are a fitting end to an extra special year for golf in Scotland and fantastic recognition for all the people who work so hard to grow and enhance our reputation as the Home of Golf,” said Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland.

“I’d like to extend our congratulations to everyone, as well as the wider tourism and events industries and suppliers.

“Every year we welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors eager to play our great golf courses and relax in our accommodation after a day’s golf, enjoying local produce and visiting nearby attractions. Golf tourism is a significant boost for the economy and raises Scotland’s profile on the international stage.”

Other awards will also be dished out at the ceremony in Abu Dhabi this week.

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Prestwick Golf Club has been named Scotland’s best, while Wilkinson Golf was named the country’s best inbound tour operator.

Former Open champion Paul Lawrie has earned a lifetime achievement award in recognition of his on-course success and the work of his foundation to encourage more young people to get involved in the sport.

“Scottish golf tourism is thriving, and Scotland is a bucket list destination for most golfers around the world,” said Dermot Synnott, director of global partnerships at the World Golf Awards.

“It offers a vast range of parkland and links options across all its regions, so the travelling golfer really is spoilt for choice. No stranger to hosting landmark events, this award is fitting recognition to a top-quality golf destination that successfully staged the 150th Open in St Andrews earlier this year.”

Image: John Paul Photography

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