The SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts celebrates its tenth year this week and as the tournament goes from strength to strength, it provides a shining example of what can be achieved when various parties come together with one simple goal – to build the game of golf.
The tournament, one of the most eagerly-awaited on the schedule each year, has grown year on year with the support and backing of SSE Scottish Hydro, VisitScotland and Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, with Scottish company Bounce Sports Management promoting the event.
VisitScotland has supported the event since its inception in 2006 – with a current commitment through to 2018 – and funding support this year of £125,000, and the tournament is shown worldwide by 35 broadcasters, screening a total of 216 hours of coverage.
With some of the most promising young players from across the globe regularly in attendance, the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts showcases golf in the region and supporting it is a key part of Scotland’s Ryder Cup legacy programme, to build and deliver a strong portfolio of domestic golf events.
In addition, the tournament gives Scottish golfing fans the chance to get up close and personal with some of the game’s rising stars – Ryder Cup star and Scotland’s highest-ranked male golfer, Stephen Gallacher, is a tournament ambassador, while Brooks Koepka’s victory in the 2013 event propelled him onto The European Tour, where he has subsequently gone on to break into the world’s top 25 and become a winner in the highest echelons of the game both sides of the Atlantic.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “The SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge at Spey Valley Golf Club draws players from all over the world and helps to promote golf tourism in the region to a wider audience.
“This leads to the generation of valuable income to the local visitor economy in the Highlands, and it shows the rest of the world that we can successfully host golf events of any scale and showcase this beautiful country globally.
“As we saw during the Ryder Cup in 2014, golf captured the imagination of people throughout the country. Golf tourism is worth £220m to the country annually, and hosting fantastic events like the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge here in Aviemore, only enhances further Scotland’s reputation as the Home of Golf.”
We are delighted to be bringing the Challenge Tour to Scotland for the tenth year running - players love coming to the Home of Golf
Challenge Tour Director Alain de Soultrait is delighted by the continued support the event received from Scottish fans and sponsors.
He said: “We are delighted to be bringing the Challenge Tour to Scotland for the tenth year running. Players love coming to the Home of Golf and we’re honoured that the support from our sponsors, the media and the local community in Aviemore has allowed us to keep coming back – we look forward to doing so for three more years and hopefully beyond.”
Iain Stoddart, Founding Partner of Bounce Sports Management - who promote the Scottish Hydro Challenge - is naturally proud to see golf continue to thrive in Scotland.
He said: “The Challenge Tour is an important place for players to build the foundations of a successful career on The European Tour and the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts is one of the premier events on the schedule.
“We are very proud of our continued involvement with the tournament and look forward to continuing to work with such strong partners from both the public and private sectors to keep making the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts one of the best Challenge Tour events on the calendar.”
There will be on-site activities at Spey Valley Golf Club over the tournament weekend, to provide interest and enjoyment for all the family.
To get the balance right between golf and non-golf, there will be two different areas. In the Junior Golf Zone (next to the clubhouse), there will be a long putt challenge and chipping target net and in the Spey Valley Golf Club activity area (below the marquee), there will be water walkers, water paddlers, circus skills and face painting.
Entry to the tournament is free and is a great way to watch the next generation of golfing superstars up close.