Thursday, September 1, 2016

News: Willett chips in with support for golf tourism drive

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Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters winner and a member of Rotherham Golf Club and Lindrick Golf Club, has given his backing to a national initiative to target the lucrative golf tourism market and drive inbound golf tourism.

The UK government, in collaboration with Visit England, has unveiled a series of strategic investments, designed to grow the tourism economy for the nation. Golf Tourism England was one of a number of successful applicants in the first tranche of investments from the Discover England Fund, which sets out to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry.

Golf Tourism England was set up in 2014 and has made significant inroads, developing new product strands and unlocking new trade partnerships, providing a clear pathway to increased inbound visitor volumes. The grant will enable it to work with a range of stakeholders to develop an online platform that brings together England's golf-related businesses for the Asia, Europe and North America markets. This initiative capitalises on the untapped potential of England's golf tourism sector and responds to demand from international tour operators who are keen to have better access England's wide-range of golf experiences.

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The funding comes on the back of quite a period of distinction for England's, and this region's, golfers.

Willett, the son of a vicar and maths teacher, grew up in Hackenthorpe in Sheffield and has honed his skills at Rotherham Golf Club at Thrybergh and with world-renowned coach, Pete Cowen, whose academy is also in the borough at Kimberworth. His biggest win to date was the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National, his first major championship. He was also selected for the 2016 GB Olympic team alongside eventual gold medal winner, Justin Rose.

Danny Willett was quick to praise the Government's commitment to investing in England's golf tourism framework. He said: "It is a champagne era for golf in England and I think it is a great move from the Government to invest in positioning the country in the minds of international golfers. There is an abundance of great courses, across all of the counties that together create a match for the very best golf destinations in the world."

Willett will be back on the world stage later this month as part of the European Ryder Cup team. He will be joined on the defending team by Sheffield's Matt Fitzpatrick, who is also coached by Pete Cowen, and Worksop's Lee Westwood.

All three professionals, who where all part of the victorious European Team in the 2016 EurAsia Cup, are members of Lindrick Golf Club, which is inside the Rotherham borough boundary and hosted the Ryder Cup in 1957 after Sir Stuart Goodwin, a Sheffield steel industrialist, donated £10,000 to finance the British team and was invited to nominate the venue.
The fund will also support Golf Tourism England's product development strategy with funding and internal resource support. With their internal channels and global connectivity, VisitEngland and VisitBritain will work in conjunction with the organisation to fuel increased interest within the valuable golf consumer sector.

Andrew Cooke, CEO of Golf Tourism England, said: "Two things have been clear since setting up the association; the quality and depth of the golf product in England and the willingness of stakeholders to collaborate on cumulative strategies to drive their businesses forward. It has been this cumulative attraction approach of pooling assets into clusters that has really brought England's golf product to life and showcased it against the very best the world of golf has to offer."

Rotherham and Lindrick are both members of the association.

Golf Tourism England website

Images: Danny Willett / twitter


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