Scottish Golf Visitor Survey and Economic Impact

Client: VisitScotland

Tourism is one of Scotland’s priority sectors with golf tourism playing a particularly important role in attracting both domestic and international visitors. The Scottish Golf Tourism Development Strategy 2013–2020 sets out the ambition to grow the market over the coming years.

In 2016, SQW and Progressive Partnership were commissioned by VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise to profile golf tourism in Scotland. The purpose of the study was to enable both the public & private sector to develop a clear strategic view of the opportunities and challenges of golf tourism in a post Ryder Cup era. SQW’s role was to measure the economic value of golf tourism in Scotland.

The research involved a survey of all 557 golf courses in Scotland to collect information on visitor green fees. The survey provided data for 205 courses (37% of all courses) which was then scaled up for the remaining non-survey courses. Golf visitor expenditure was calculated for Scotland and across eight key golfing destinations. In addition, the analysis factored in the additional expenditure generated by hosting major golf events.  

Overall, the economic value of golf tourism for the Scottish economy was £286 million (ouput), 4,700 jobs and £154 million in GVA. The scale of output has increased by £66 million since the last study which used data from 2008. This represents growth of 30% or 4.3% per annum.