Golf Highland
11 December 2001

Local News & Scottish News  Caithness.org News Index

NORTH GOLF SECTOR DRIVES AHEAD

Businesses and golf clubs which rely on golf tourists as part of their trade each year are being given the chance to attend a new look training programme designed to help them increase profits and encourage repeat custom.  Welcome Golfer, which uses the highly successful Welcome Host suite of customer awareness programmes as its foundation has been re-launched to highlight the continuous need for meeting and exceeding the needs of today's golf tourists. 

The new programme is specifically designed for employees of golf courses, accommodation providers and hospitality businesses who are in regular contact with golfers to enable them to understand and appreciate both the sport and needs of the players.  As well as being a training programme on staff awareness, it also acts as a guide for tourism businesses to customise their facilities towards golf tourists. The new programme is being backed by north development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise with the first courses having recently taken place in Campbeltown and Southend in Argyll.

Tourism training manager at HIE, Chris Taylor said: "Welcome Golfer provides a wide range of information on how to maximise the golfers' enjoyment from the very start of their holiday to the very end. These first two courses proved a great success with a wide range of people attending - from B & B's and hotels on the accommodation side to golf professionals, ground staff and club stewards from golf courses themselves.

"Welcome Golfer helps the golfing sector build up a good reputation which in the longer run should result in more repeat custom and the area becoming an even more attractive option for those who are considering where to go for their next golfing holiday."   Welcome Golfer has been revised recently to take account of new trends, markets and business opportunities arising from the significant importance of golf as a niche market for Scottish tourism.

Susan Grant, golf tourism development manager said: "Since Welcome Golfer was initially launched in 1999, it has become a registered benchmark for those involved in the golf hospitality sector. This revised scheme is now in line with what the golfing sector now expects of the Scottish tourism industry, and is an additional tool to increase the economic impact golf has on the Scottish economy."

Steven Dott a sector development manager with Argyll and the Islands Enterprise said: "All those that attended these first courses were very enthused by them which bodes well for future delivery both in our area and the wider Highlands and Islands. The delegates put in a great deal of effort during the courses and this should convert to more return visits and the area enhancing its reputation as a high quality golf destination."

Caithness has four golf courses at -
Wick,
Situated at Reiss Links, 4 miles north of the town, Wick is a typical Scottish links course. The first 9 holes run straight out to the River Wester, the second 9 run straight back along the line of the dunes which separate it from Reiss beach. Its relative difficulty is demonstrated by the SSS of 70 as compared to the par of 69.
Under way at present is a programme of alterations and improvements to the course under the guidance of Ronan Rafferty, European Tour player. This involves the construction of some new holes and realignment of others in order to further enhance the course and better utilise the natural features. These are being carried out without in any way affecting play on the course as it stands. Visitors are welcome, and in general it is not necessary to book tee times.
The clubhouse has a fully licensed bar, meals and snacks are also available.
20 per day  20 per round - winter rates 15
Wick airport is three miles away on the outskirts of Wick.  It has its own refuelling facilities for aircraft and helicopters.

Thurso
Situated 1 mile from the centre of Thurso, this is the most northerly 18 hole golf course on mainland Britain with panoramic views of Dunnet Head and the Orkney Islands. It is a "heathland" type course with two halves of par 35. Visitors are welcome, it is not generally necessary to book tee times. It has a fully licensed bar.  15 per round.
Two miles south-west of Thurso on the B874
Nearest airport - Wick - 20 miles east of Thurso.
Club premises.....   MAP
Newlands of Geise,
Thurso, Caithness KN14 7XD
Tel : +44 (0)1847 893807

Lybster - 9 holes
Situated in the village of Lybster, this is a 9 hole course which is possibly the shortest in length in Scotland. It is a heathland course, with magnificent views of the Moray Firth. Visitors are welcome, it is not generally necessary to book tee times.

50 per year membership and only 10 for juniors.
Nearest airport is at Wick approx 15 miles north of Lybster.
The Clubhouse is situated in the former Wick Lybster Railway Ticket office.  The railway closed in 1944.  At 1929 yards it is one of the shortest in Scotland but is very popular with a wide range of ages and abilities.  A day ticket is 10.
Accuracy is the key rather than length with the longest hole 318 yards and the shortest just 90 yards.

 

Reay,
The course is situated in the village of Reay, 11 miles west of Thurso, overlooking Sandside Bay. It features varying ground conditions, but could be generally classified as a links course. Visitors are welcome, it is not generally necessary to book tee times. The clubhouse has a fully licensed bar, and catering is available.
Club Premises...  The Clubhouse, Reay.  Caithness : Tel 01847 811288

Golf Links & News Updating Highlands & Islands Enterprise