A round of golf for just 7s 6d, the chance to rub shoulders with Ryder Cup legends, and refreshments at a 19th hole which, with its concrete walls and flat roof, may not quite ooze Gleneagles style but was clearly the peak of sophistication in 1969.

What fan of the sport could possibly resist making the pilgrimage to the home of golf?

While Scotland is now an irresistible lure for golf fans from around the world, today’s £286 million golf tourism sector was once just a distant pipe dream for the nation’s golf club bosses and tourism chiefs.

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And back in 1969, when the national tourism organisation VisitScotland was in its infancy, efforts to encourage the world’s golfers to hit Scottish links and fairways clutching loaded wallets was far from the glossy affair of today.

Marketing material, adverts and brochures harking back to days when golf was simply a sport and not an entire tourism sector, have been retrieved from the organisation’s archives to mark the countdown to the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles next month, the 50th birthday of Team Europe captain Catriona Matthew, and the golden anniversary of VisitScotland.

The almost dreary illustrations and tartan-trimmed imagery – including a piper in full Highland dress blowing for all his might on the Swilken Bridge - reveal a much gentler and far less sophisticated approach to harnessing the spending power of a worldwide network of golf enthusiasts and, of course, their long-suffering other halves.

It also spotlights the extent to which Scotland’s golf tourism sector has exploded over the past five decades, from a niche offering to one that is targeted to grow to £325 million by 2020.

Back in 1970, just nine per cent of home-grown Scottish and UK tourists played golf while on holiday in Scotland. They were hardly spoiled for choice – at the time there were around 350 golf courses.

Now almost half (47 per cent) of overnight golfing visitors travel from overseas, and the number of courses has dramatically risen – there are now more than 570.

One early brochure suggests the pick of the destinations to be Nairn, where the local ‘Golf Week’ featured Ryder Cup players offering golf clinics and lectures.

Most early golf marketing material focused heavily on the sport’s affordability: “Golf is the ordinary man’s game in Scotland. So, it is cheap as well as plentiful,” suggested one brochure.

Another, accompanied by a photograph of two golfers in front of a rather drab concrete and flat-roof clubhouse, trumpets: “A day’s play usually costs 7s 6d. Sometimes less, sometimes more.”

These days, of course, it is considerably more: a round at Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire will set a player back £270, while a visitor to Gleneagles can expect to pay up to £250 to play during September.

Meanwhile, many brochures and adverts of days gone by appeared to suggest golf to be a ‘men only’ sport: “Wherever he goes, the golfer realises right away he is in the Home of the Game,” suggests one.

Perhaps times haven’t changed that much; while women now make up around 16% of golf club membership in Scotland, a Women in Golf Charter was only established by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews last year, and it took until June this year for Muirfield in East Lothian to formally invite 12 women to join.

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The archives show the potential market for golf tourism was fully grasped in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the forerunner to VisitScotland, the Scottish Tourist Board, produced over five million booklets, leaflets and brochures aimed at encouraging more visitors.

A major scoop was an appearance by ‘The Golden Bear’ Jack Nicklaus, in a television advert, proclaiming: “Scotland’s for me!”

While the brochures may have helped lay the foundations for modern golf tourism, the internet and social media have elevated it to a new level.

As a result, research shows that overseas golfing visitors now spend on average of £338 per night during a trip to Scotland - more than four times the daily spend of an average overseas visitor (£78.90).

From 2008 to 2017 the value of golf tourism and events increased by 30 per cent.

Golfer Catriona Matthew said: “Golf has grown so much since I started playing as a youngster – not just as a sport but as a Scottish institution that sees benefits spread across the country.”

Meanwhile, Allan Minto, Golf Perthshire Project Manager and a former golf professional, has seen golf tourism grow in popularly since 1979 when he worked at Gullane Golf Club.

“We would get visitors coming to the course, getting lessons and buying souvenirs,” he said. “Even then, it was recognised that tourism was a wider benefit for golf and vice versa but to see this relationship grow as it has is amazing.

“Getting stars like Jack Nicklaus at the height of his fame in the 80s to appear in adverts for the Scottish Tourist Board had a huge impact – he really was a big deal at the time and would have been a draw for lots of visitors.

“You now have visitors from North America coming here to travel around the country and tick off the bucket list courses, while those from places like Sweden and Norway will be more independent and like to discover some of the lesser-known courses.”

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “Golf is one of Scotland’s unique selling points with no other country able to match our history or heritage in the game.

“The sport and events like the 2019 Solheim Cup provide an incredible opportunity for the tourism industry to capitalise on the influx of visitors to rural areas and our cities with 400 of our courses within an hour’s journey of a city or airport.”