An independent study of the economic impact of the last Open Championship in Scotland, at Troon in 2016, revealed that there had been a direct spend of £23 million in the Ayrshire area and £110 million in the country as a whole as a result of hosting the championship.
It’ll be the same, possibly a little more, for Carnoustie, Angus and the wider area from the 147th championship this week. What do we in the local community give up for this?
We lend them the precious Championship Course, and its environs, for six to seven weeks. We put up with a few road restrictions, most of which only come into effect for seven days, tops.
Once every decade.
I’ve been covering golf at Carnoustie for thirty years, and wrote scores of articles in the 1980s and 1990s in the often desperate campaign to get the Open back. I remember only too well what the links was like in the barren years between 1975 and 1999, and I remember what the town was like as well.
The idea that this small sacrifice once every ten years is too much to put up with is simply small-mindedness and frankly, self-destructive. If the Open was lost to Carnoustie visitors would dwindle all too quickly, attention would go elsewhere, the huge benefits of the town’s major asset would be wasted.
Once the Open has left, the course and the town will go back to being what they were in a matter of days. No harm done. Inconvenience, minimal.
But the benefits, long-term, are beyond measure. The Open must keep coming to Carnoustie.