Award Nomination is Par for the Course
An international golf tournament has set a new standard for the sport by being short-listed for a marketing award in Scotland.
They may be hundreds of miles apart geographically, but the International Pairs and VisitScotland - the Scottish Tourist Board - sing from the same scorecard when it comes to promoting golf.
They have been nominated jointly for a Communication Excellence Award within the Marketing Excellence Awards Scotland.
The Awards, developed by the Marketing Society - Scotland, in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, aim to recognise and celebrate excellence in all sectors of Scotland's thriving marketing industry. More than 160 entries were submitted from organisations across Scotland spanning the public and private sectors.
International Pairs and VisitScotland have worked together since VisitScotland became sponsor of the tournament, securing the right to the semi-finals and final for three years from 2003. In the entry document, VisitScotland's brand manager, Neen Kelly, says: "Through communicating with 3,032 clubs each year, VisitScotland has reached a potential audience of over 1.5 million golfers in the UK and Ireland, delvering £1.3 billion of economic benefit to Scotland.
"In addition, the advertising cost equivalent of the press coverage is substantial and is valued at £2.5 million, which delivered an estimated readership of 20 million in the key target market. "VisitScotland's database records have doubled from 60,000 to 120,000 thereby exceeding the original target of 90,000. The value of this should not be underestimated."
The founder and chairman of Portsmouth-based International Pairs, Ross Honey, explained: "Merely being nominated for this award is a huge achievement for us. "When you consider who our fellow nominees are, it shows the scale of the achievement. We've worked exceptionally well with VisitScotland over the past few years and the benefit to both parties is clear to see.
"From a marketing perspective, Scotland has a fabulous product and we are delighted to be able to promote it alongside them. And with the continued expansion of the International Pairs - we will have around 30 countries competing at the world finals this year - we will ultimately be able to carry the message across the globe."
The short-listed entries were selected by a panel of 36 judges including academics, senior marketers and representatives from The Marketing Society National Awards for Excellence team. The winners will be announced on April 22 at a ceremony in Edinburgh's Prestonfield Hotel.
The International Pairs - the largest club competition of its kind in the world - is now in its sixth year with as many as 20,000 club golfers across UK competing this year alone. And every participant is entitled to a free Hippo lob wedge. The special Hippo 60˚ lob wedge, worth £39.95, is subject simply to a £9.99 postage and packaging charge.
The tournament's simple concept is what makes it so successful. All it costs is £5 to enter - £10 per pair - unchanged for the fifth successive year.
Golf clubs host a qualifying event and the winning pair from each club travels to Scotland for a semi-final on a championship golf course, which includes complementary accommodation and golf, with an invitation to a special Scottish-themed welcome reception.
If they make the cut they stay on in Scotland for two more days and experience the golfing event of the year at the luxurious St Andrews Bay Golf Resort & Hotel with two nights' accommodation, two rounds of complimentary competition golf - one each on the Torrance and Devlin courses - the championship gala dinner and the chance to win the coveted International Pairs title and progress to the 2006 world final, representing their country.
On top of all that, competitors are also entitled to take advantage of myriad special offers from the event's sponsors and partners - not a bad return for a £5 investment.
To find out more about the International Pairs visit: www.internationalpairs.com.