HE is one of the most controversial leaders of our time but President Donald Trump's golf empire is helping fuel a boom in the sport's economy in Scotland.

Tourists enjoying a golfing holiday to Scotland are spending nearly £300 million each year and the figure is rising.

New research also cites US President Donald Trump's new Aberdeenshire course and his revamped Ayrshire resort as having helped boost the 30 per cent rise in golfer numbers within a decade to the Home of Golf.

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The figures have been revealed as part of an independent study commissioned by VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise, underlining the key contribution of the golf tourism and events industry to the economy.

The report said the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and the 2015 Open Championship at St Andrews, new courses and investment including Donald Trump's in Aberdeenshire and at Turnberry, and Arnold Palmer’s plans for a new course at Castle Stuart "will all have influenced the size of the golf tourism market, both for spectators and players".

The study reveals the value of golf tourism and events rose by £66m since 2008 to £286m, supporting 4,700 jobs and spreading benefits across the country’s golfing regions.

The top three regions in golf tourism are Fife, which includes the seat of the game in St Andrews, which brought in £52m, the picturesque Highlands which has gems such as Royal Dornoch and earned £23m, and the sweeping links of East Lothian including Muirfield and Archerfield bringing in £22m.

It also shows that overseas golfing visitors spend on average £338 per night during a trip to Scotland, which is more than four times the daily spend of the average overseas visitor of £79.

The North American market remains key, representing 30 per cent of all overnight golfing visitors with 14 per cent coming from Europe.

Input from the US also includes Mr Trump's £150m-plus investment in Turnberry, which last month won the award for Golf Hotel of the Year, triumphing at the Prestige Scottish Hotel Awards.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said the findings "outline the importance golf tourism and events play in supporting Scotland’s visitor economy and the Scottish economy as a whole".

He said: "Golf is one of Scotland’s unique selling points which resonates with potential visitors all over the world and signifies why we place huge importance promoting Scotland as the Home of Golf to a global market place.

"Our support of international golf events and our global golf marketing activity gives us significant media profile and I am delighted that this is in turn reflected in golf’s contribution to the Scottish economy.”

Danny Cusick, tourism director at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Scotland has some of the finest golfing assets in the world as well as a rich golfing history and heritage, and with such tremendous international appeal, it comes as no surprise that the value of this important tourism sector has grown enormously in recent years.

“But we mustn’t rest on our laurels; we want ambitious Scottish golf tourism companies to capitalise on this upward trend and consider how best they can develop and scale their business to meet the growing domestic and international demand."

The results of the study will now be used to aid achieving targets of hitting £300m worth to the Scottish economy by 2020.

Key findings for future strategy highlighted the importance of the home market and pointed to evidence that domestic golfing visitors in Scotland showed a younger age profile than those travelling to Scotland to play golf.

Scotland won the right to host the Solheim Cup in 2019, the leading team event in women’s golf, and the report also showed some key opportunities for growth for female golfing visitors.