Monday, 25 September 2017

Scottish Captain for Solheim Cup on Scottish Soil

Catriona Matthew has been appointed as European captain for the next Solheim Cup, which will take place on the world-famous PGA Centenary Course at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland, on 13-15 September 2019.

Matthew made her ninth appearance as a player for the European team at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa last month, having served as a vice-captain to Annika Sörenstam.

Selected as the travelling alternate by the captain, she stepped into the player role after Suzann Pettersen withdrew through injury and the Scot proved to be one of the stars of the team, earning three points for Europe from her four matches.

With a career total of 22 Solheim Cup points, Matthew moved up to third on the all-time points list, behind Laura Davies (25) and Sörenstam (24). She also moved into joint third with Cristie Kerr on the all-time match victories list, with 18 career match wins, behind only Davies and Sörenstam with 22 apiece.

Now Matthew is looking forward to her next challenge: leading Europe to its sixth victory over the United States of America. She said: “It’s a great honour and a dream come true to be the captain at home in Scotland. Since my first appearance in 1998, I have always loved playing in The Solheim Cup. It’s always such an incredible atmosphere and over the years that I’ve played, I’ve enjoyed it more and more. From the extremely high standard of play, to the enormous crowds, huge infrastructure and fantastic media coverage, the event just keeps getting bigger and better. Scotland will provide the perfect stage for The 2019 Solheim Cup and Gleneagles will be a terrific venue. I was lucky enough to win there in 1998 and there is nothing better than winning in your home country.”

The outgoing captain, Annika Sörenstam, who was also Matthew’s first Solheim Cup partner at Muirfield Village in 1998, commented: “I am very happy that Catriona was chosen as the next Solheim Cup captain for Team Europe.  She has had a wonderful Solheim Cup career and she deserves the opportunity to take on this prestigious role.  With the next Solheim Cup taking place in Scotland, her home country, it’s the perfect scenario for her to lead the European Team. She helped us a lot over the past year as a vice-captain, but then stepped in and won us three points as a player. Catriona is very well respected by the players, so she is a natural choice.”

The Ladies European Tour’s Chairman, Mark Lichtenhein, said: “Everyone at the Ladies European Tour is absolutely delighted that Catriona has accepted the captaincy. Her experience, combined with her outstanding record and passion for The Solheim Cup, make her the perfect choice to lead Team Europe and not just because, as a Scot, she will be leading on home soil. Catriona’s contribution to the European Team over nine editions has been immense and her performance in Des Moines was simply brilliant. As the captain, she will continue to inspire not just her own team, but millions of fans around the world.”

Commenting on the appointment, The Right Honourable Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland MSP, said: “I’m thrilled to offer my congratulations to Catriona Matthew on being named the European Team Captain for The 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles. Catriona is without doubt one of Scotland’s most successful sporting icons and I am delighted that she has been given the honour of captaining the European side in her home country. I have no doubt that Catriona will prove to be an inspiration as captain as she has done throughout her playing career and serve as a role model for thousands of junior golfers, not just in Scotland but across the globe. I’m confident the people of Scotland will get fully behind Catriona’s captaincy and line the fairways of Gleneagles in support of the European team come September 2019.”

“We’re delighted with the choice of Catriona Matthew as the 2019 European Solheim Cup captain,” said John A. Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. “She’s an excellent and deserving choice for many reasons. As a nine-time participant in The Solheim Cup with an incredible record of 18-11-8, Catriona brings tremendous experience to a team that is determined to reclaim the event on home soil. Of course, leading the team in her home country of Scotland will undoubtedly inspire her and add even more excitement and passion to the galleries at Gleneagles which we know will be large and supportive. I’ve long admired Catriona’s calm, quiet and thoughtful approach to the game which will serve her very well as she prepares and motivates her team to reach its goal of winning The Solheim Cup.”

Matthew played in nine Solheim Cups from 1998-2017 (1998, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017) and was a member of three victorious teams, in 2003, 2011 and 2013.

She joined the Ladies European Tour in 1995 and won her maiden LET title at the 1998 McDonald’s WPGA Championship on the King’s Course at Gleneagles in the same year that she made her Solheim Cup debut at Muirfield Village in Ohio.

Her first home match was at Barsebäck in Sweden in 2003, when, as a captain’s pick, she earned 3 ½ points and holed the winning putt in her singles match against Rosie Jones, in front of some of the largest galleries ever witnessed in the competition.

On her second winning side at Killeen Castle in Ireland, she earned 3 points for the European team, including an an emphatic 6 and 5 victory over Paula Creamer in the opening singles match.

In 2013, Matthew was a member of the first European team to win in the United States and secured the half point to win the Cup outright at Colorado Golf Club.

The 48-year-old from North Berwick, who counts the 2009 Ricoh Women’s British Open among her 10 international titles, becomes the 10th European captain, following Mickey Walker, Pia Nilsson, Dale Reid, Catrin Nilsmark, Helen Alfredsson, Alison Nicholas, Liselotte Neumann, Carin Koch and Annika Sörenstam.  

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Final Final Open Qualifier for Ayrshire

The Open Championship Final Qualifier tees up for the final time in Ayrshire this morning at Gailes Links, just outside Irvine. The Ayrshire course previously known as Glasgow Gailes, has been hosting the Scottish round of final qualifying for the past couple of years since the format was changed. From 2018, it is heading to The Renaissance Club in East Lothian.

An old colleague of Wilkinson Travel Services sent this through to owner Gary Wilkinson,
I found the article quite thought provoking actually and it did remind me that almost all itineraries we did a decade or more ago would include a list of Open Qualifying courses to play alongside the Championship standards. It was most definitely a badge of honour. This article captured it pretty well.

Call me a Luddite or maybe just an old romantic but I kind of miss the old qualifying format. Growing up in Ayrshire saw The open being played every five years or so over Troon or Turnberry and the 36 hole qualifying events being held the week before over four local courses in the end these were Kilmarnock Barassie. Western Gailes, Glasgow Gailes (now Gailes LInks and Irvine Bogside and as far as I can recall Lochgreen and Prestwick St Nicholas were also featured on the list.

There seemed to be a greater romance about those days when as a junior you would sit waiting to pick up a bag as a caddy for the visiting golfers (I was fortuante enough to qualify with one back at Troon!) and it really was a genuine event before an event with good crowds and real tension and many top players without exemptions looknig for their passport to the main event.

Now it's gone all global and after this year's event there will be no more Final Qualifying for Ayrshire at all.

Many of the Qualifying Courses across Scotland built their visitor numbers on the cache of being a Final Open Qualifying Course and it is a shame that this has diminshed now.

Just some of these great courses included Crail, Ladybank , Leven Links, Lundin Links (St Andrews); Gullane, Kilspindie and Longniddry (Muirfield) and Downfield, Scotscraig and Panmure (Carnoustie).

Golfers visiting Scotland could take any (or all!) of the courses in Fife, Angus, East Lothian or Ayrshire that hosted the Final Qualifiers and put together a golfing tour to Scotland that would be both historic and entirely fulfilling.

It is a shame that the format has gone but we wish all of the golfers stepping onto the first tee today at the five courses the very best of luck in their quest for the elusive final slots.

I'll be heading over to Gailes Links to see if anyone needs a caddy!

Monday, 3 July 2017

US dream as youngsters get to take part in Solheim Cup handover

Who says golf has no appeal for today's youths?

Well six young Scottish female golfers are about to savour the opportunity of a lifetime as part of the handover ceremony for The 2019 Solheim Cup coming to Scotland, the Home of Golf – after launching their own bid to qualify for the PING Junior Solheim Cup.

Through the support of the Scottish Government, VisitScotland, Scottish Golf and the Ladies European Tour, the female group have been selected for a dream trip to this year’s Solheim Cup at Des Moines Golf & Country Club, taking place in Iowa from 18 – 20 August.

The initiative was borne from a Whatsapp group started by some of the girls following Scotland’s successful bid to stage The 2019 Solheim Cup. Entitled #Project19, the group began as a way of the girl’s motivating each other to climb the amateur golf rankings and qualify to represent Team Europe at the 2019 PING Junior Solheim Cup, taking place at Gleneagles.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, said: “Hearing the story of how the girls got together with the aim of playing in the 2019 PING Junior Solheim Cup really inspired us and underlined the very reason we worked so hard to bring The 2019 Solheim Cup to Scotland. We are delighted they are joining the team in Des Moines to celebrate the moment that Scotland becomes the next host nation of The Solheim Cup and we look forward to following their journey over the next few years on the road to Gleneagles.”

You can read the full article and find out more about the girls' plans - Click here

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

McIlroy Confirms Entry to Scottish Open in July

It's been confirmed that Rory McIlroy is set to make a return to Scotland to play at the Aberdeen Asset Scottish Open from July 13th - 16th at Dundonald Links in Ayrshire.

He will join a line up of "major" stars including Open Champion Henrik Stenson, 2013 Masters Champion Adam Scott and defending champion Alex Noren when they tee it up at the west coast golf course next month.

McIlroy’s season has been affected by a rib injury but as he prepares to make his second return from the sidelines this season at the US Open, the World Number Two revealed he has added the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open to his summer schedule.

The Northern Irishman had success at the 2014 Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen finishing tied 14th going on the following week to win his first Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. The Scottish Open is viewed as ideal preparation with four of the last five Open champions having played in the Scottish Open the week before.

McIlroy said,
“I'm going to play Scottish, so I'm going to play Irish, Scottish and The Open,” said the 28 year old. “That’s a great run of three weeks of links golf and will be a great way to get ready for the Open. I’m excited about that run and to be able to play a lot of links golf in that short time frame.
“Having had such stop-start season with the injury means I need to, and really want to play golf. One thing you realise when you are injured is how much you want to play and miss playing and I need to play in events to get some momentum and hopefully knock off a couple of really big wins over the summer.”
Gary Wilkinson from SIGTOA commented,

“It's great to see someone of the stature of Rory McIlroy choosing to play in the Scottish Open. It is always positive when the stars are seen playing courses that are not normally seen on TV by golfing fans and it will highlight just how good a golf course Dundonald Links is and what a diverse destination Ayrshire itself offers.
All of our Tour operators have been singing the praises of the links at Dundonald for many years and it is always impressed first time players from across the world. We ourselves offer it as part of a great three day links golf pass which is ideal for visiting golf groups and societies."
This Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will be the fourth event in the European Tour’s new Rolex Series, a premium category of tournaments on the Race to Dubai with minimum prize funds of US$7million.

Find out more about The Ayrshire Golf Pass here

Carnoustie Appoints first Chief Executive

The Scottish Incoming Golf Tour Operators Association have a new name to work with in the future with the appointment of the first every Chief Executive at Carnoustie Golf Links with the appointment of Michael Wells.

As part of an ambitious drive to further its reputation as one of the world’s top golf destinations, Wells joins the Carnoustie team from The R&A in St Andrews, where he was the Director of Championship Staging at The Open.

The Open Championship, will return to Carnoustie in July 2018 and SIGTOA are looking forward to both the appointment and the return of the championship to Scotland.

A SIGTOA spokesman said,
"We'd all like to wish Michael Wells the very best of luck in his new position at Carnoustie and we are all looking forward to helping work with the new CEO in maximising the opportunities for developing the golf travel trade side of the business over the years ahead. Such a high profile appointment is good news for Scottish golf as a whole and reaffirms the importance of the sector to the economy"

He won the post over an impressive field of candidates from all over the world and Carnoustie Chairman, Pat Sawers, said, “Michael has extensive knowledge of all facets of golf administration, particularly in relation to staging major tournaments.

“He has done a great job as a Director at The R&A and I believe he is the right leader to entrust with developing our brand and ensuring that Carnoustie Links continues to be recognised as one of the most challenging Links golf courses in the world.”

Michael Wells already knows Carnoustie Links well. During his time at The R&A, he has been involved in The Open on two previous occasions there, including his first Open in 1999 when Paul Lawrie lifted the famous Claret Jug, and in 2007 when Padraig Harrington won the first of his back-to back victories in the Championship.

He is expected to take up his post shortly after The Open at Royal Birkdale and said,

“I feel privileged and honoured to be selected to become Carnoustie Golf Links’ first Chief Executive. Carnoustie has a reputation for being one of the toughest courses in the world and one that every golfer should aspire to play. I am very excited about the opportunity to work alongside the fantastic team at Carnoustie and to help develop its reputation as a world-class golfing destination.”

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

There were certainly concerns raised at the time about the decision of the R&A to give the contract for live coverage of The Open to Sky Sports over the tradition of the BBC. Whether the argument has been settled or not the level of coverage and style of delivery of The open clearly went up a notch or two at Troon in 2017 and this has been recognised in awards.

SkySports’ innovative coverage of The 145th Open at Royal Troon in July 2016 has earned them a BAFTA after being named best sports production during the awards ceremony in London.

The Sky Sports team won the award for best sports production for their enhanced coverage of the championships, including the thrilling climax when Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson were embroiled in a sensational final-day battle watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

The Open was named the winner ahead of BBC's coverage of the Rio Olympics and the Six Nations clash between England and Wales, while the Paralympics on Channel 4 was also nominated.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, said: “This is a tremendous accolade, not only for the team at Sky Sports but for golf in general to have beaten off competition from so many top-class sporting productions. It is also a triumph for the stunning Ayrshire coastline which provided the perfect backdrop for the high-class drama that unfolded on the course.

“I’m especially delighted for our Golf Events Executive Katy Mathieson, who was part of the Sky Sports team producing coverage from Royal Troon before joining EventScotland last year. We have a great relationship with Sky Sports through the world-class portfolio of golf events taking place in Scotland and we look forward to working with them on many more in the coming years.”

However, we all know that regardless of how good the TV coverage may be there's nothing to beat watching the pros in action in real time whether it be in searing sunshine or from under an oversize golf umbrella!

SIGTOA members are already booking ahead for clients for Carnoustie 2018, Portrush in 2019 and of course the return to The Old Course for the 150th anniversary in 2021.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Tickets are now available for the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open to be played at the wonderful Kingsbarns Links jsut south of St Andrews in Fife and with the world’s top five players already confirmed, golf fans can be assured of witnessing some world-class play between the 3rd and 6th of August.

The Women's British Open is renowned as one of the world’s most international Majors, with players from 30 nationalities competing last year, the 2017 Championship makes its welcome return to Scotland playing over Kingsbarns for the first time and 21-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn will be looking to defend her title over the challenging layout.

There is a special advance purchase offering there is 20% off general admission one-day tickets and season tickets for all purchases online until Midnight 10 June 2017. If you are playing nearby at that time or looking to plan a trip around the event why not give one of the SITOA members a call or email and they will advise you on golf, accommodation, transfers and tickets for your Scottish golf trip.

Upgraded Clubhouse tickets and Official Corporate Hospitality packages are also available in the Champions Club overlooking the 18 green and these areas of upgrades and VIP add ons is for certain one of the areas of expertise of every golf tour operator in SIGTOA.

The Ricoh Women’s British Open was founded by the LGU in 1976 and has been staged in conjunction with IMG, a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion, since 1984. The event has been co-sanctioned by the LPGA and LET since 1994, and gained Major status in 2001. The LGU merged with The R&A in January 2017.

Kingsbarns has hosted the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship since 2001, Final Qualifying for The Open in 2010 and the 2013 Ricoh Women’s British Open Final Qualifying. The course has been widely acclaimed by players and media alike since opening 14 years ago and has fitted seamlessly into the famous golfing area of St Andrews.

Purchase Tickets Online

Select a SIGTOA member

Thursday, 27 April 2017

What are Scotland's Best Golf Holes

Maybe one of the most subjective questions you could pose for any golfer with every single one likely to have an entirely different collection in their preference lists. However VisitScotland recently ran a poll to get a snapshot of their consumers and found the following results. 

Like any best of lists it will divide opinion. What do you think?
  • Tom Morris, the 18th hole on St Andrews’ Old Course voted best golf hole in Scotland
  • Old Course also awarded best closing hole and best Par 4, the 17th
  • Postage Stamp voted best Par 3, with Machrihanish taking title of best opening hole
  • The 9th hole at Cruden Bay’s Championship Course took the award for Scotland’s best view
The closing hole at St Andrew’s Old Course has been voted as the best golf hole in Scotland, after a poll of 3,000 golfers chose it ahead of a formidable selection from the country’s world-class courses.

The poll, undertaken by VisitScotland, set out to discover which golf holes in Scotland exhibited #ScotSpirit – a feature of the national tourism organisation’s Spirit of Scotland campaign. It asked golfers to vote for the best opening and closing holes, a best Par 3, 4 and 5, as well as a best view and a best overall hole from a selection of shortlisted holes across the country.

Tom Morris, St Andrews’ iconic final hole and home to the Valley of Sin, took the award for the best hole and best closing hole, while its neighbouring 17th hole was voted the best Par 4 in Scotland.

The 9th hole at Cruden Bay Golf Club on the Aberdeenshire coast claimed the award for best view. The course, which boasts stirring views across the Bay of Cruden and Slains Castle, beat out competition from the Castle Course at St Andrews, Machrihanish Dunes and Gullane Golf Club. The category included nominations for more than 300 individual holes, testament to the wealth of stunning views across Scotland’s courses.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “We’re thrilled that the golfing public have taken the time to put their support behind their favourite courses in Scotland, from local favourites to the home of golf itself, St Andrews. Every club plays it part in making Scotland the essential golfing destination, so we’re proud to honour such a diverse range of our spectacular courses.”

The Machrihanish Golf Club confirmed its status as the owners of the best opening hole in the world. The Battery, whose tee box already features a plaque to that effect, received over 1,000 votes as the best opening hole in Scotland.

Machrihanish and Cruden Bay weren’t the only local courses to perform better in the poll than some of their more well-known compatriots. Moray Golf Club’s closing hole, overlooking the Moray Firth, came second in its category, ahead of both Carnoustie and Turnberry. The 12th hole at neighbouring Hopeman Golf Club, received more than 120 votes for the best view, despite not being shortlisted.

The Postage Stamp (8th) at Troon was voted the best par 3 in Scotland, while the 12th hole at Kingsbarns Golf Club on the Fife Coast was voted the best Par 5. The neighbour of St Andrews finished ahead of holes from Castle Stuart (18th), 2014 Ryder Cup venue Gleneagles (16th) and the recently redesigned Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry (10th).

The final results of the poll were as follows:

Best Hole – Tom Morris, 18th at the Old Course, St Andrews (799 votes, 27% share)

Best Opening Hole – The Battery, 1st at Machrihanish Golf Club (1025 votes, 30% share)

Best Closing Hole - Tom Morris, 18th at the Old Course, St Andrews (825 votes, 24% share)

Best Par 3 – The Postage Stamp, 8th at Royal Troon (891 votes, 26% share)

Best Par 4 – Road, 17th at the Old Course, St Andrews (1176 votes, 36% share)

Best Par 5 – Orrdeal, 12th at Kingsbarns Golf Club (654 votes, 19% share)

Best View – 9th at Championship Course, Cruden Bay Golf Club (662 votes, 20% share)

For more information on the poll and the breadth of courses Scotland has to offer, visit

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Golf tourism driving Scotland’s economy

According to data released today the economic value of golf tourism and events to Scotland has increased to £286 million per year following a bumper decade in Scotland, the Home of Golf.

The new figure has been revealed as part of an independent study commissioned by VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise, confirming the key contribution of the golf tourism and events industry to the Scottish economy.

The study reveals that the value of golf tourism and events has increased by 30 per cent (£66 million) since 2008, supporting 4,700 jobs and spreading benefits across the country’s golfing regions.

It also shows that overseas golfing visitors spend on average £338 per night during a trip to Scotland, which is more than 4 times the daily spend of an average overseas visitor (£78.90)*.

Other key findings include:
  • Almost half (47 per cent) of overnight visitors traveled from overseas to play golf in Scotland
  • he North American market remains key, representing 30 per cent of all overnight golfing visitors with 14 per cent coming from Europe
  • On average, overnight golfing visitors spend on average 6.79 nights in Scotland on their trip while for overseas visitors the duration jumps to 10.21 on average.
  • Overnight visitors spend on average 7.5 days playing golf while they also average 3.85 days participating in other tourism activities, meaning they are also benefiting non-golf tourism businesses and attractions
  • On average an overnight golfing visitor will spend £245 per night but this number jumps to £338 for visitors from overseas. For North Americans this figure increases to £405 per night
  • The majority of overseas visitors (57%) had been to Scotland before suggesting that, for many, a trip to Scotland is not seen as a once in a lifetime experience
  • Of all overnight visitors, 81% overall agreed their trip was one of the best golfing holidays or short breaks they had ever taken (higher for North Americans)
The results of the study come after a stellar period for golf in Scotland, which has benefited from the global media profile and economic impact of a number of key golf events including multiple Open Championships, Ricoh Women’s British Opens and The 2014 Ryder Cup among others. However, crucially, the economic impact of major one-off events such as The Ryder Cup is not included in the £286 million figure and therefore represents additional value to Scotland.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “These findings outline the importance golf tourism and events play in supporting Scotland’s visitor economy and the Scottish economy as a whole.

“Golf is one of Scotland’s unique selling points which resonates with potential visitors all over the world and signifies why we place huge importance promoting Scotland as the Home of Golf to a global market place. Our support of international golf events and our global golf marketing activity gives us significant media profile and I am delighted that this is in turn reflected in golf’s contribution to the Scottish economy.”

Danny Cusick, Tourism Sector Portfolio Director at Scottish Enterprise, commented: “Scotland has some of the finest golfing assets in the world as well as a rich golfing history and heritage, and with such tremendous international appeal, it comes as no surprise that the value of this important tourism sector has grown enormously in recent years.

“But we mustn’t rest on our laurels; we want ambitious Scottish golf tourism companies to capitalise on this upward trend and consider how best they can develop and scale their business to meet the growing domestic and international demand.

“We have a range of support available for companies looking to expand, develop their products, find new customers and assist their growth plans, and would encourage companies to contact Scottish Enterprise to find out more.”

The results of the study will now be used to further inform Scotland’s Golf Tourism Strategy: Driving Forward Together which specifically targets growing the industry to the value of £300 million to the Scottish economy by 2020.

Some key findings in relation to the strategy include the importance of the domestic market, particularly to Tier 3 courses and the evidence that domestic golfing visitors in Scotland showed a younger age profile than those travelling to Scotland to play golf.

In relation to The 2019 Solheim Cup, the report also showed some key opportunities for growth for female golfing visitors. On average 12 per cent of golfing visitors to Scotland were female but for Europeans this jumped to almost 1 in 5 (18 per cent). Female golfing visitors also tended to be more ‘committed’ golfers than male counterparts with more having handicaps and golf club membership and less inclination to describe themselves as social golfers.

To access the full results of the survey click here 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Solheim Cup to be played in September 2019

It has been announced that the 2019 Solheim Cup will take place from the 13th to 15th September 2019 as the prestigious biennial contest between Europe and USA heads to the world-famous PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles in Perthshire.

Scotland won the right to host The Solheim Cup in 2019 after an extensive and very competitive bidding process, coming out on top of a list of ten countries who submitted expressions of interest in hosting the event.

Significant planning and preparation for one of the world’s foremost sporting events has been under way for some time and now the dates of the event have been confirmed after careful deliberation between key partners including VisitScotland to ensure that the dates allowed for maximum attendances and benefits to tourism.
Courtesy of Gleneagles

Ticketing plans are now being developed with plans in place to have tickets on sale during The 2017 Solheim Cup in West Des Moines as part of official travel packages. General registration for event information is available via but it is always worth your while discussing the arrangements first with your preferred SIGTOA golf tour operator who can advise you not just on tickets but travel and add ons either side of your visit to Scotland.

SIGTOA chair Dave Harris was delighted with the news, "It's another great event to have in Scotland with the eyes of the golfing world firmly focused on Scotland again and September is a great time not only for spectating but playing golf too. The majority of SIGTOA members all build golf packages around the major golf events including The Open, Ryder Cup and events such as The Solheim simply give another reason for visiting Scotland. SIGTOA's members are all well qualified to help with the logistics of the trip and well versed from the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles on how to get the best from a visit to Scotland"

The week itself will begin with the PING Junior Solheim Cup taking place 8th – 10th September at Gleneagles with the participants made to feel an important part of the main event. This unique U18 event will be showcased as never before as Scotland seeks to ensure that this is the most family orientated Solheim Cup ever staged. VisitScotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government, has stated the ambition to ensure the 2019 edition of the Solheim Cup in Perthshire will serve to both grow golf and leave a lasting legacy of increased participation in women’s sport.

Themes of equality, innovation and experience will be thread through all the events communications as The 2019 Solheim Cup aims to engage both the traditional golf audience and the wider sport fan, raising the profile of women’s golf both in Scotland and internationally. The Scottish Government and VisitScotland have been long-time supporters of the women’s game having partnered with the Ricoh Women’s British Open for many years and more recently, significantly enhancing the Aberdeen Asset Ladies Scottish Open as it becomes a co-sanctioned LET and LPGA event for the first time this year.

The 2019 Solheim Cup will not only showcase the stunning assets of Scotland, the Home of Golf, but also build on the legacy of the successful 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. It will underline that Scotland is the perfect stage for major golf events as it seeks to help inspire a new generation of children to take up the game invented in their home country.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Escorted Tours with Wilkinson Travel Services

Gary Wilkinson of Wilkinson Travel Services has been offering and organising escorted golf tours for his clients for more than two decades and his latest offering features Steve Johnson from Pinehurst.

Steve has been a PGA of America member for over 35 years, has been making the trans-Atlantic trip to the UK for over 20 years to enjoy and test the greatest links courses in the world.

Steve, an accomplished player, has a real passion for playing the great links courses throughout the UK, and Steve puts Scotland at the top of his list of favourite places to visit.

Steve's love for the game of golf, along with and affection for the game's history and his knowledge of golf course architecture kindles his desire to continue making trips to Scotland the Home of Golf.

As well as having worked for the late legendary golfer Arnold Palmer for many years, Steve
has also worked with such renown golf course architects as Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus, P.B. Dye, Bob Simmons, Bruce Charlton (RTJ,III), Chi Chi Rodriquez, among others.

Steve is very excited to be escorting another group of avid golfers to Scotland and share his broad knowledge of the history game and the courses that are included in this wonderful
golfing package.

Steve Johnson Escorted Tour to Scotland

Date of arrival - September 16th
  • Day 1 Arrive Edinburgh Carnoustie Golf Hotel Sat 16th
  • Day 2 Castle Course Carnoustie Golf Hotel Sun 17th
  • Day 3 Carnoustie Radisson blu, Edinburgh Mon 18th
  • Day 4 free day Radisson blu, Edinburgh Tue 19th
  • Day 5 North Berwick Radisson blu, Edinburgh Wed 20th
  • Day 6 Prestwick Marine Hotel, Troon Thu 21st
  • Day 7 Western Gailes Marine Hotel, Troon Fri 22nd
  • Day 8 Depart Glasgow Sat 23rd
Price inclusive of:
  • 7 nights accommodation with breakfasts
  • 5 rounds of golf
  • Dedicated coach and driver throughout
  • Welcome and farewell dinner
  • Clubhouse lunch at Western Gailes
  • Airport meet and greet 
You can read about the whole experience here

Morton Golf Open Championship Packages 2017

As it happens The Open has to be played outside of Scotland occasionally!

In 2017 it's the turn of Royal Birkdale to host the annual week by the seaside. However that doesn't stop Scottish Incoming Golf Tour Operators spreading their wings and offering inclusive packages across the border!

Morton Golf Holidays have published their week long package for this summer and you can download it here.

Download PDF


Mon 17th : Arrive in Liverpool and stay in 4* Hotel for 7 nights

Tues 18th : Royal Liverpool

Wed 19th : : West Lancashire GC

Thur 20th : Formby Golf Club

Frid 21st : Open Championship

Sat 22nd : Open Championship

Sun 23rd : Open Championship Final Round

Mon 24th : Royal Lytham & St Annes GC


  • Accommodation for 7 nights at the 4* Staybridge Suites in Liverpool Bed & Breakfast basis. Very close to great bars and restaurants.
  • Open Championship tickets for 3 days
  • 4 x Games of golf
  • Sightseeing information
  • Restaurant list / Dinner reservations made if required Caddies requested if required
  • Trip Information summary

Gullane No 1 Course is one of the best links courses in the world

Feature from SIGTOA member Peter Craigon, Managing Director, Morton Golf Holidays. – 17th Feb 2017

Gullane No 1 Course on Scotland's East Coast is one of the best links courses in the world and yesterday I was delighted to play it as a guest of long time member and champion Lindsay Gordon.

Lindsay was partnered by another member of over 10 years standing, Alastair Taylor whilst my partner was my life-long golfing buddy and friend Iain (Giddy) Simpson who is the Managing Secretary at Crieff Golf Club.

Now Giddy and I did not play too badly but we were very soundly beaten by an onslaught of birdies especially from Lindsay who in the words of his partner “somebody should remind Lindsay what age he is.

In fact, he is actually 66 years old and in his round yesterday he beat his age scoring a sensational 65 ( 6 under par ) – and we were off the medal tees so the course was playing just under 6600 yards with an SSS of 72.

All I can say is that it was a privilege to witness such a fantastic round at such close quarters – having 8 birdies round the course which in 2015 hosted the Scottish Open won by Rickie Fowler was wonderful golf.

In fact Lindsay had 8 birdies in a 13 hole stretch from the 4th to the 16th – 5 of those coming in a row from the 12th!

It’s a long time since I have been in a match where I was rooting so much for my opponent – Iain and I having lost 5 and 3 on the 15th green.

When on 16 Lindsay knocked a 5 iron into 6 feet and holed it for two – that meant if he could birdie the last 2 holes it would be a 10 birdie round with 8 of those coming on the back 9 !!!

As it turned out both birdie putts on 17 and 18 missed narrowly but what a round – and from a golfer who is an OAP !

Yesterday we were blessed with the most fantastic Scottish winter weather – no wind, sunny all the way round and a temperature of around 10 degrees centigrade.

The views “up” the (Firth of) Forth to Edinburgh and beyond to the new Forth Bridge were nothing short of sensational.

I am delighted to say we have a number of clients playing at Gullane this year and I know they will have a wonderful golfing experience.

Thanks to Gullane for yesterday – the course was fantastic as was the revamped clubhouse and of course I will remember Lindsay’s round for many a year to come.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Gleaneagles part of Glasgow's 2018 European Championships

Gleneagles, the world-renowned luxury hotel, has today been unveiled as an Official Supporter of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships – an exciting new multi-sport event that will see Gleneagles make golfing history as host of the first ever European Golf Team Championships.

To be staged every four years, the European Championships will combine the existing European Championships of Athletics, Aquatics, Cycling, Gymnastics, Rowing and Triathlon. The first edition will be held in 2018 in a unique sporting partnership between Host Cities Glasgow and Berlin.

The European Golf Team Championships is the only new event being staged as part of Glasgow 2018 and will take place at the famous Jack Nicklaus-designed Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course – the same venue that hosted Europe’s memorable victory over the USA in the 2014 Ryder Cup.

The Championships promise to be a game changing moment for golf, with Europe’s elite men and women set to compete together for the first time. It is backed by the European Tour and Ladies European Tour and will include a men’s and women’s event along with a ground-breaking mixed competition.  

Host Venue and Official Supporter Gleneagles is home to some of the best golf facilities in the world including three championship courses and the PGA National Golf Academy. Gleneagles is a former long-standing European Tour and Ladies European Tour venue and has unrivalled experience of hosting international events such as The Ryder Cup.

The European Golf Team Championships will also build on Scotland’s reputation as the perfect stage for major events such as The Open, Scottish Open and Women’s British Open as well as major one-off events like The Ryder Cup and The Solheim Cup.

Aileen Campbell MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Sport, said: “Gleneagles has staged many prestigious golf tournaments through its history and was the home to what many regard as the best Ryder Cup ever in 2014. In 2018 Gleneagles will be the magnificent setting for European Championships and will see elite men and women golfers compete together for the first time.

“In 2014 the Ryder Cup players spoke about the top class facilities, an enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd and left with good memories and we know it will be the same for those taking part in the inaugural European Championships in 2018.”

Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The European Championships will be a new highlight on the global sporting calendar, set to be played out in front of a potential television audience of up to one billion people.

“Gleneagles is a world leader when it comes to golf and we are delighted that they will play such a crucial role in the delivery of the new European Golf Team Championships, which will be a real first for world sport.

“Glasgow is the gateway to Scotland and partnerships such as this with Gleneagles will help us bring one million more people to the city as part of Glasgow’s Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023.”
Bernard Murphy, Gleneagles’ Managing Director, said: “We’re proud to be associated with what will be a ground-breaking moment in sporting history. The event will build on Gleneagles’ long history of raising the bar in golf and breaking cultural boundaries in sport – including the first match between British and American professionals in 1921.

“We look forward to continuing that tradition at the European Golf Team Championships, when Europe’s leading men and women compete together for the first time, in what will be a real historic moment for the sport.

“We are therefore delighted to be announced as an Official Supporter of Glasgow 2018, and look forward to delivering an inspiring event that will strengthen Gleneagles’ reputation as one of the foremost golfing venues in the world.”

Attendances across Glasgow 2018 are expected to be in the region of 250,000 with registration for priority access to tickets currently available at for all sports including golf.

As part of the inaugural European Championships in 2018 around 3,000 athletes will visit Scotland for six events (Aquatics, Cycling, Golf, Gymnastics, Rowing and Triathlon) while a further 1,500 athletes will compete in Berlin as part of the European Athletics Championships.