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24 March 2016, 11:11
Scotland plays a vital role in golf tourism, helping boost UK income from the sport, a new report has found.
The study found Scotland accounts for 20% of added value to the UK economy from the golf industry at £409 million in 2014, despite comprising just 8% of the population.
Scotland's well-developed golf tourism, its reputation as the home of the sport and the country's higher golf participation rate than the rest of the UK were found to be key factors in its strong performance.
Participation rates for the sport across Scotland - 7% regular golfers and 17.5% for occasional golfers - are higher than the UK average of 3% and 7.4% respectively.
A boom in golfing jobs and spending in Scotland has been credited to the country attracting major events in the sport.
The study found jobs supported by the golf industry in Scotland increased from almost 12,000 to 15,000 between 2011 and 2014 while consumer spending on the game jumped £225 million to £861 million in the same period.
The increases were linked to the country attracting key golf championships such as the The Open and the 2014 Ryder Cup as well as major investment in golf resorts and a stronger economy.
The report was compiled by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University and funded by golf governing body the R&A.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: "Golf is one of the most popular sports in Scotland and throughout the UK as a whole.
"This report presents an extremely positive picture of the sport and highlights the substantial contribution it makes to the economy.
"It will enable us to measure growth and identify emerging trends in future which will be extremely valuable.''
VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead said the report "shows the huge impact and influence that Scotland has in the golf industry, not only in the UK but worldwide, and the considerable value of the industry to Scotland's economy".