This year’s top golf honours have been announced at the glittering Golf Tourism Scotland’s Gold Standard Awards held at the Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa in North Berwick. During the sell-out event, which was attended by 175 golf industry professionals, 21 nominees vied for three, golf-specific awards.
The top honour of Golf Course of the Year went to Castle Stuart Golf Links which beat off competition from Kingsbarns and the Old Course in St Andrews. The Highland links’s managing partner, Mark Parsinen, was also honoured with the acclaimed Special Achievement Award.
“Our mission every day is to send our customers away happy“, said Stuart McColm, general manager of Castle Stuart Golf Links. “From meet and greet, to checking-in, to caddies, food and drink, it’s all about great customer service. The Highlands can deliver and we’ve got a great product.”
Elsewhere, Davy Gilchrist of Kingsbarns Golf Links picked up the CaddieMaster of the Year accolade for the second successive year, and the Crail Golfing Society was proud recipient of the Golf Secretariat award.
“It’s been a fantastic year for golf tourism,” said Nick Hunter, chairman of GTS. “Scotland has hosted a number of high-profile tour events which have showcased exactly why playing golf here is so special. And despite tough times, our members have upped their game so that once again our facilities have improved and our standards of service have been fine-tuned. The Gold Standard Awards recognise the very best exponents of this process, but I think the golf industry generally should be congratulated for a job well done.”
On hand to meet the winners was two-time major winner Sandy Lyle, who highlighted the importance of the GTS awards. “Playing golf in Scotland is very special indeed,” he said. “And often what makes it special, apart from the terrific courses, are the people who arrange your trip, transport you between venues or meet you at the hotels. In my view, the GTS Gold Standard Awards celebrate the efforts of these individuals who are the golf tourism industry in Scotland.”
In all, 11 awards were handed out on the night, three of which were sponsored by some of the country’s leading businesses. Joining the awards’ host resort, the Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa in North Berwick, was Arnold Clark Car and Van Rental, Europe’s largest independently owned, family run motor dealer, and the Fairmont St Andrews.
GOLF COURSE OF THE YEAR.
Nominations for this category were open to any golf course in Scotland that offers tee-times to visitors.
Castle Stuart Golf Links
GOLF SECRETARIAT OF THE YEAR.
Nominations for this category were open to any golf club/course whose administration provides a service to visitors and/or the travel trade.
Crail Golfing Society
CADDIEMASTER OF THE YEAR.
Nominations for this category were open to any caddiemaster providing a service to visitors and/or the travel trade.
Davy Gilchrist, Kingsbarns Golf Links
HOTEL OF THE YEAR (Small hotel/guest house category).
Nominations for this category were open to accommodation providers with 20 or fewer bedrooms that provide services to golf visitors.
Ugadale Cottages, Machrihanish
HOTEL OF THE YEAR (Country house hotel category).
Nominations for this category were open to hotels and exclusive-use properties operating in rural areas that provide services to golf visitors.
Rufflets Country House Hotel, St Andrews
HOTEL OF THE YEAR (Large hotel category).
Nominations for this category were open to hotels with more than 20 bedrooms which provide services to golf visitors.
Royal Golf Hotel, Dornoch
HOTEL OF THE YEAR (Resort hotel category).
Nominations for this category were open to resort hotels with golf course(s) attached.
Fairmont St Andrews
GOLF TOUR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR.
Nominations for this category were open to any tour operator bringing golfers to Scotland.
Links Golf St Andrews
TRANSPORT OPERATOR OF THE YEAR.
Nominations for this category were open to any business providing transport services in Scotland including rail, road, air and sea.
St Andrews Executive Travel
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD.
Mark Parsinen, Castle Stuart Golf Links
YOUNG INDUSTRY PERSON OF THE YEAR.
Angus Watson, Fairmont in St Andrews
Golf Tourism Scotland www.golftourismscotland.com