The co-title sponsors of the Aberdeen Asset Management Men’s and Ladies Scottish Opens have hailed the successful staging of both events at the same venue for the first time.
Scotland’s national tourist organisation, VisitScotland, manage the investment provided by the Scottish Government for the national Opens and believe that having both events at Dundonald Links has helped raise the profile of the ladies game as well as providing a tourism boost to Ayrshire.
“Overall, we’re delighted from our perspective,” said Alan Grant, VisitScotland’s senior golf manager. “We’ve been able to use both events to enhance Dundonald Links – a relatively new course – as a tourism venue and also Ayrshire as a region over the past couple of weeks.
“For the ladies event, there were so many advantages of hosting it after the men’s event. For starters, the tournament infrastructure was much improved and there was a far more engaging spectator environment.
“There was a grandstand on 18 which hasn’t been there previously as well as the hospitality tent, media centre and players lounge. Yes, it was solely a hospitality tent for the men’s event but it remained and gave the feel of a nice arena.”
VisitScotland were heavily involved in the Ladies Scottish Open becoming a co-sanctioned event with the LPGA Tour in order to try and raise the profile of women’s golf in the build-up to the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.
It worked. Five of the world’s top ten – So Yeon Ryu, Ariya Jutanugarn, Inbee Park, Lydia Ko and Shanshan Feng – teed it up last week in Ayrshire, with the event won by Korean Mi Hyang Lee.
Ko, who missed the cut, has already said she’s determined to come back next year and improve her showing.
“We wanted to raise the profile of the ladies event and I think we did that with the players that were attracted and the prize money being trebled,” added Grant. “The media coverage was much improved on previous years and next year when the event comes back, hopefully people will be a bit more aware of the event.
“The players loved Dundonald Links, really enjoyed the challenge and in playing at the same venue as the men’s two weeks earlier, I don’t see any reason why the can’t happen more often.
“I think we delivered a great week and hopefully we can continue to do so over the years to come to raise the profile of women’s golf.”