Why we need another world class golf course
One course is a curiosity, two is a destination
One of the few things we can agree with our opponents is that our area does not need just any new golf course. No, what our area needs is a new world class golf course, created by a world class architect and built by a world class developer.
If a world class golf course at Coul Links is created to complement the already world renowned Championship Course at Royal Dornoch, the Dornoch Firth will become a major base for ‘staycations’ for golf tourists from Scotland, the rest of the UK and Worldwide.
Visiting golfers wishing to play both courses will be much more likely to stay in East Sutherland or Easter Ross rather than travelling each day from further afield. This will also add visitor rounds to the other excellent 18-hole golf courses in the area at Brora, Golspie and Tain, and the 9-hole courses at Bonar Bridge and Portmahomack.
So it is no surprise that the people running these other golf courses are fully supportive of the development of Coul Links golf course.
And visiting golfers who stay overnight spend more, on average, than almost any other type of tourist. In 2016, the VisitScotland/Scottish Enterprise Scotland Golf Visitor Survey found that the average spend for a golfer staying overnight, excluding those on a package trip, was £245.18 per person per night. Visitors from overseas tended to spend the most, averaging £338.49 per night, with those visiting from North America spending considerably more (£405.27 per night) than visitors from Europe (£257.18). The full survey can be found here.
Having two world class attractions in close proximity to each other has long been recognised as good business practice. For example, Universal Studios announcement in 1986 that it would begin construction on its park in Florida prompted Disney to fast-track plans for its own studio-themed attraction, the Disney-MGM Studios, which opened in 1989. The outcome of having two new world class parks in the same area was that many more people chose to holiday in central Florida, creating jobs and generating prosperity for the area.
For some people, it is the new attractions that help to draw in new visitors and keep people going back year after year. A world class golf course at Coul Links would be the Dornoch Firth’s major “new attraction” and would have a profound effect on our local economy.