Movie on course to inspire visitors

Press release   •   Jul 06, 2017 11:21 BST

VisitScotland hopes a movie biopic of the ‘Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods’ of the 19th century could inspire more people to tee off in the Home of Golf.

The national tourism organisation believes Tommy’s Honour, which is released in Scottish cinemas tomorrow (Friday 7 July) via distributors Thunderbird Releasing, could lead to a surge in people hitting fairways across the country. It will be out in the rest of the UK on 14 July.

Directed by Jason Connery and based on the critically acclaimed book by Kevin Cook, the film tells the story of a father and son from St Andrews who have a difficult personal relationship but who go on to change the face of the game. It was filmed in various locations in Fife, East Lothian, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders.

Golf historian Roger McStravick, award-winning author of St Andrews In The Footsteps of Old Tom Morris, describes the men as “the Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods of their day”.

Young Tom Morris (Jack Lowden, who also stars in upcoming Christopher Nolan war epic Dunkirk) is considered the first true superstar of golf, winning The Open four times before he was 21, while Old Tom (played by Scottish acting veteran Peter Mullan) was not only a four-time Open winner, but he is also credited with designing or influencing around 60 courses throughout the UK & Ireland, many of which are still considered among the world’s best.

Probably Old Tom’s greatest legacy is the Old Course at St Andrews, where he created the famous 1st and 18th holes – the most famous starting and finishing holes in golf.

To celebrate the film’s release, VisitScotland has produced a map highlighting the filming locations in Fife and East Lothian as well as a trip planner detailing some of the best Old Tom Morris-designed golf courses around the country.

In addition, the national tourism organisation supported a behind-the-scenes documentary of the film, which also includes top US golfer Jordan Spieth playing with hickory clubs similar to those used by the Morrises.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Old Tom Morris is known as the Grandfather of Golf, while Young Tom was the game’s first superstar, so their sporting legacy is immense. Tommy’s Honour will help to highlight their unique contribution to Scottish history, helping to cement the worldwide reputation of Scotland as a whole – and St Andrews in particular – as the Home of Golf. One of Scotland’s most famous exports, golf tourism is worth £286 million to the Scottish economy with almost 750,000 visitor rounds played every year.”

Jason Connery said: “Tommy’s Honour is a true Scottish story and by seeing the film, you are effectively seeing Scotland. It is a story that is truly close to my heart as I grew up with my father on a golf course. It is an extraordinary and intimate tale of love and family at the beginning of the great game of golf.”

Stephen Owen, Chair of Fife Golf, said: “Tommy’s Honour provides a wonderful insight into the history of the game of golf through the lives and relationships of two of the game’s most iconic figures. When you play golf in St Andrews, and throughout Fife, you quickly become aware of the impact Old and Young Tom have had on the game in the region.

“A number of our courses are amongst some of the oldest in the world and visitors today play on layouts that have changed little since golf’s most famous family honed their skills on them in the 19th century. Fife is fortunate to also have some of the finest modern links in the world, giving the visitor a fantastic opportunity to experience golf through the ages.”

East Lothian Provost John McMillan said: “Some of the film was shot at Musselburgh Old Course which plays a pivotal role in the development and history of golf not just in Scotland but as an international sport. Indeed the four and a quarter inch diameter hole made mandatory by the R & A in 1893 resulted from the use of a random implement used to cut Musselburgh’s course holes during the Victorian era.

“It is ‘wholly’ appropriate that Tommy’s Honour, which depicts the story of leading Scots Victorian golfers, included this iconic venue which hosted the Open on six occasions between 1874 and 1889. Filmgoers may be interested to know that they can re-create their own ‘Tommy’s Honour’ by playing Musselburgh Old Course using hickory clubs.”

Roger McStravick said: “Tom and his son Tommy were the Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods of their day. Crowds would flock in their thousands to see them play – the oldest and youngest winners of The Open and the only father and son ever to come first and second. American architects would spend time with Old Tom, like CB Macdonald and then head back to the States to create hundreds of courses. Simply put, no single pairing have had a greater impact on the game or the growth of the game worldwide. 

“The beautiful backdrop to this film shows Scotland at its best. It may be set 140 years ago but the joy of Scotland is the scenery, especially in places like St Andrews, where little has changed. The timeless beauty of Scotland on show in the film will undoubtedly inspire golfers and non-golfers alike.”

To view the trailer, click here:

Notes to Editors

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
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  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
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  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
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