FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has revealed he uses an internet simulator to brush up on his golfing game.

The passionate golf fan let it slip he is a fan of the World Golf Tour website which lets players tee off on famous virtual golf courses across the globe.

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Mr Salmond described his digital secret on a visit to Lewis as he announced a further £4 million investment for the Home Energy Scotland Renewables Loan scheme which helps ­householders cut their energy bills.

In 2007, the the SNP leader reportedly played off an 18 handicap. His current level of competitiveness is not known.

He was visiting the Smith family of Ballantrushal who have reduced their utility bills by two thirds after installing an air source heat pump and a 5Kw wind turbine for their home, thanks to a loan from the scheme.

The First Minister asked seven-year-old Seumas Smith and his sister Faye, 9, what they would do with the savings.

Seumas replied: "I would get a new X-Box One."

Mr Salmond thought that was a great idea and revealed he was a dab hand at playing the virtual reality World Golf Tour (WGT). He said: "It will let you play on any course in the world. It's very good, actually."

Mr Salmond told them it would be even better once the Western Isles got improved broadband links referring to new telecommunication subsea cables being laid to the Hebrides this summer.

The upgrade is part of a £146 million investment in fibre broadband across the Highlands and Islands.

The San Francisco-based World Golf Tour (WGT) media company says it has more than 13 million players who are spending more than 90 minutes online per visitor.

Its website reports: "WGT Golf features 20 famous virtual golf courses that are recreated using HD photography and patented technology, including Merion, Pebble Beach and St Andrews.