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Golf brings £4million boost to North Ayrshire

A sizzling summer of golf is expected to bring in around £4million to the North Ayrshire economy.

Dundonald Links hosted both the Men and Women’s Scottish Open in July, attracting more than 60,000 spectators to the Irvine golf course.

As well as providing a financial boost to local businesses, the events could have longer-lasting benefits through exposure to an international TV audience.

Although the final tallies have yet to be completed, studies into similar events indicate that around £5million is made for the Scottish economy, with around £4million of that coming into the local economy, with local hotels, restaurants and traders expected to report an increase of visitors.

Councillor Alex Gallagher, Cabinet Member for Economy at North Ayrshire Council, said: “This has been a fantastic month of sport for North Ayrshire and a huge success on every level.

“About 60,000 spectators made their way to Dundonald Links to see both the Aberdeen Asset Management Men’s Scottish Open followed by the Ladies Scottish Open just two weeks later and we hope these world-class events will create a real legacy.

“By showing that we can host events such as these, it puts North Ayrshire on the map and shows what we can offer to a worldwide audience.

“Now we will look to build on this success and hope that it helps inspire a new generation of budding sportsmen and women. Indeed, a range of events for young people were organised, including the mass participation event Give Golf a Go, which attracted a huge number of young people.

“We also hosted the Unlocking Potential: Driving for Success event, with guest speakers such as former Ryder Cup player Ronan Rafferty and our own Connie Jaffrey, who shared their experiences of what it takes to make it to the top. The event offered inspiration and ideas for our local clubs and organisations to help them nurture a passion for the wide range of sports that we have to offer in North Ayrshire.”

Dundonald Links hosted the Aberdeen Asset Management Men’s Scottish Open – won by Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello – for the first time from July 13-16, attracting players such as Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson.

Yesterday, Lee Mi-hyang won the Ladies Scottish Open, the third consecutive year in which the Irvine course has hosted the event. For the first time in its history, the championship was co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and the LPGA, and hosted at the same venue as the men’s tournament.

The Council – along with strategic business partners – has been working tirelessly to ensure the North Ayrshire gets maximum exposure during the event.

During the golf extravaganza, the American Consul Susan A. Wilson visited North Ayrshire to take in the competition and meet key local stakeholders, councillors and officers to explore investment opportunities for the area. Council officials also welcomed the Chinese Consul General.

The Managing Director of Golf De France Paul Armitage also attended and met with the Council and Dundonald Links to looks at ways to develop links between young people from North Ayrshire and France to widen participation.

Already as a consequence of these events, the Council is actively exploring the creation of international business linkages with the US, China, France, Canada and Sweden.

Councillor Gallagher added: “We’ve recently employed an International Trade and Investment Manager and we are really pushing hard to develop new international markets.

“Having world-class events like these on our doorstep gives us an ideal opportunity to bring business and investors to the area.

“While a lot of the focus was on the superb golf being played during both the men’s and the ladies’ tournaments, it was the perfect setting to showcase what North Ayrshire has to offer and to create new business and investment opportunities that could benefit the area for years to come.”

Posted on Tuesday 1st August 2017