The national tourism organisation, which is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has been promoting the Home of Golf and hosting events for years.
The spin-off tourism benefits from the sport have grown in recent years and the game has been drawing in visitors for decades.
Back in 1970 nine percent of domestic visitors (from Scotland and the rest of the UK) played golf while they were visiting Scotland and in 1978 there were around 350 golf courses.
Before the Internet, the brochure was king, with the Scottish Tourist Board (as VisitScotland was previously known) producing over five million booklets, leaflets and brochures at its peak in the 1990’s.
Golf was modestly featured in early marketing with some examples stating that ‘Golf is the ordinary man’s game in Scotland. So, it is cheap as well as plentiful and wherever he goes, the golfer realises right away he is in the home of the game.
Clearly times have changed with women making up around 16 percent of golf club membership in Scotland in the last decade and a Women in Golf Charter established by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 2018.
As years went on dedicated golf tourism brochures were created but the rise of social media has led to a significant change in VisitScotland’s marketing methods.
Campaigns now target digital channels as well as the traditional routes - a far cry from the millions of brochures which kickstarted the world’s love affair with Scotland 50 years ago.
Nowadays almost half (47 percent) of overnight visitors travel from overseas to play golf in Scotland with the country boasting over 570 golf courses.
Matthew, said, “Golf has grown so much since I started playing as a youngster – not just as a sport but as a Scottish institution that sees benefits spread across the country. VisitScotland and the tourism industry’s work over the years in bringing huge golf events to Scotland has been incredible and reinforces our country’s reputation as the Home of Golf.”