150th Open: Westminster debate highlights the benefits of golf tournament to Fife and St Andrews

The benefits to Fife of hosting the 150th Open in St Andrews have been highlighted in a debate at Westminister.

By Kevin McRoberts
Friday, 15th July 2022, 11:19 am
Updated Friday, 15th July 2022, 11:19 am

North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain secured the debate to discuss the contribution of the event to her constituency and its place in the history of golf.

Ms Chamberlain began by recognising that the 150th Open was a significant milestone, adding: “St Andrews is very much alive to the historical significance of the championship.”

She highlighted an event earlier in the week when the three-time Open winner Jack Nicklaus was given honorary citizenship, before discussing the history of golf and the Open itself.

Hosting The Open in St Andrews brings significant benefits to the area, particularly for the tourism sector.

In her speech, Ms Chamberlain recognised that not everyone in St Andrews welcomed the significant number of additional tourists, and that the disruption caused by ScotRail’s reduced timetable had had an impact on travel to the event.

However she went on to discuss the economic benefits of the Open and its role in raising St Andrews’ international profile.

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She said: “There’s definitely scope to work more closely with local communities, especially when it comes to maintaining local facilities like cycle lanes for future events, and I will certainly be pushing for this engagement.

A large crowd turned out to watch the procession following the ceremony making Jack Nicklaus an honorary citizen of St Andrews.

“Nonetheless after two years of the pandemic, where golf tourists stayed away, hosting the Open is a significant event.

“It is a major employer in North East Fife and in 2016 it was found to be supporting nearly 2000 jobs directly. But taking into account local hospitality and other ventures and that number will be far higher.”

She added: “For a community that thrives on summer tourists, even once the Open has gone the value of being broadcast worldwide is invaluable, but it is estimated that it is worth up to £50 million to the local economy.”

Ms Chamberlain concluded: “I am so proud of North East Fife and St Andrews hosting the 150th Open at the Old Course this year.

"It is an incredibly historic event. It brings huge benefits to St Andrews and the wider community, and I am equally looking forward to the future.”