More than 700 PGA of America professionals have become national ambassadors for Scotland, the Home of Golf after VisitScotland, Gleneagles and Machrihanish Dunes all signed up to support the innovative PGA Magazine Ambassador Programme.
With PGA professionals in America playing an increasingly influential role in the travel destinations of golfers and club members, the scheme will see the ambassadors promote Scotland, the Home of Golf as a must-visit destination for golf travelers.
The scheme was announced at the renowned PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, which is attended by more than 40,000 golf industry representatives including PGA professionals, travel and tour operators and media.
The programme will give the Ambassadors access to a wealth of information about Scotland, the Home of Golf, Gleneagles and Machrihanish Dunes as well as the opportunity to visit the venues to experience what they have to offer. As well as encouraging private and non-private club members to travel to Scotland, the Ambassadors will also be able to influence the other 27,000 PGA professionals across the US through regular features in the PGA Magazine.
According to a recent PGA Magazine survey, almost 98 per cent of PGA professionals said they were influential when it comes to their members travelling to play golf, with almost a third being cited as “extremely influential”.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “The PGA of America members are invaluable in helping to grow the game across the United States but they are also playing an increasingly important role in influencing the travel dispositions for golfing tourists. VisitScotland is delighted to support the PGA Ambassador programme alongside our partners at Gleneagles and Machrihanish Dunes.
“This is a fantastic way to further promote Scotland as the Home of Golf to an audience of golfers across the United States and alongside the terrific pictures that will be beamed around the world from our strong portfolio of golf events in 2015, should entice more golfers to visit our country.”
Billy Murray, Gleneagles’ Golf Marketing Manager, said: “We’re excited to be part of the PGA Ambassadors programme, which is a great opportunity to build relationships with a very influential group of golf professionals. After the success of last year’s Ryder Cup, we hope to welcome many more US visitors to Gleneagles to play our three championship courses. This partnership will be a fantastic way of spreading the word about everything Gleneagles – and Scotland – have to offer.”
David Southworth, President and CEO, Southworth Development, commented: “Machrihanish Dunes has quickly become a must-visit destination for PGA professionals and their travelling members, and we look forward to extending our warmest welcome to this PGA Ambassadors group in March. Our corner of Scotland has been famous for its links golf since the days of Old Tom Morris, and with the addition of Machrihanish Dunes, there are now two world-class links courses to enjoy as well as accommodations, dining and traditional pub experiences that are worth going out of your way for. Our staff at Machrihanish Dunes is known for exceeding our guests’ every expectation, and it will be wonderful for this group of PGA professionals to have a chance to experience that friendly service and this beautiful region first-hand.”
Brian Folino, Executive Vice President of the PGA Magazine, said: “We are very excited to be working with VisitScotland, Gleneagles, Machrihanish Dunes and having Scotland, the Home of Golf represented in our PGA Magazine Ambassador Program. All of our Ambassadors are active in escorting, influencing or booking golf travel for their members and is comprised of mostly private clubs throughout the U.S. Collectively, PGA Professionals speak with over 1 million consumers on a daily basis, which lead to opportunities for influencing golf travellers to plan trips – both domestically and internationally. We will be highlighting golf in Scotland across our print and digital outlets and will also be informing and educating our 700+ Ambassadors about golf in Scotland, which will lead to higher interest to book golf trips to Scotland in the coming months and years ahead.”
Golf tourism is worth £220m to Scotland annually and supports 4,400 jobs. Scotland attracts 220,000 golf visitors to Scotland every year while 92,000 other visitors play golf whilst on holiday. There are more than 550 courses across the country, over 400 of which are within an hour of a city or airport.