THE newly expanded, and improved, Askernish Open, now expanded into a weekend festival of golf in South Uist for the first time, is reported to have brought a significant five-figure boost to the local economy.
Taking place in the last weekend in August, the Askernish Open Golf Weekend held at the restored ‘Old’ Tom Morris golf course on South Uist is said to have been worth a phenomenal £18,000 to local businesses.
Community Estate Company Storas Uibhist’s Askernish Development Manager John Kemp drove the new initiative and also implemented monitoring tools to evaluate the success of the Open to great success.
Numbers show there was a 40 per cent increase in competitors over 2010 and the number attending came close to that of the opening of the restored golf course in 2008 when Honorary Club President Kenny Dalglish teed off to huge interest.
Nearly three-quarters of all the players came from outside the Uist islands and of these visiting golfers 47 per cent were playing golf at Askernish for the first time.
The truly international field came from as far away as the US, Canada, and Belgium, and there was a party of golfers visiting from Finland.
This makes the Askernish Open Golf Weekend a considerable tourism draw to the Islands. The average golf visitor attending is reported to stay for three-nights and spends just over £300 during their time on the isles which means this weekend of golf was worth an approximate 179 tourist days and over £18,000 to the Uist economy.
Records show that 45 per cent of the golfers visiting the islands stayed in bed and breakfasts, whilst 36 per cent stayed in hotels with 39 per cent of the golfers rating their accommodation experience as ‘very good.’
The preferred method of transport to the Open was by sea with 88 per cent doing so whilst there was a handful that came by private jet direct to the isles.
But every single golfer at the Open Weekend’s said they will recommend the Askernish Open Golf Weekend to others, with an incredible 99 per cent saying they are considering returning to play again in 2012.
Plans are already afoot for the further development of the Askernish Open Golf Weekend in 2012 to make it bigger and better.
March 2012 will also see a new golf and island experience event hosted at Askernish with funding from Scotland’s Islands.
For further information about the Askernish Open Golf Weekend, and the participant survey results contact John Kemp, Askernish Development Manager by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org