What did the Dunhill do for you?

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CARNOUSTIE was one of three hosts to a major golfing tournament at the weekend, but what benefits did it bring to the town?

The Alfred Dunhill Cup which brings together professional and amateur golfers was played over Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and St Andrews from October 4 to 7.

It attracted celebrities, industry leaders and golfers from all over the world, eventually being won by early leader Branden Grace from South Africa.

Coverage was broadcast globally and Carnoustie Country was mentioned in golfing magazines, blogs and national papers.

The question is – what does all this good press mean to Carnoustie at a grass roots level?

The Guide & Gazette contacted a few local businesses to find out just what the Dunhill Cup meant to them, and the answers provided a mixed bag.

For most the obvious benefactors would be Carnoustie’s many public houses, which overall did better than was expected.

Linda Dargie, manageress of the 19th Hole, possibly the closest pub to the competition was quite surprised.

She said: “We definitely did better than previous years and it was a lot better for meals.

“We were actually busier. I don’t remember getting so much business last year. We were very pleased.

“Whether we cashed in because of where we are I don’t know, but last year we didn’t feel the impact so much.

“It was definitely a positive experience for us this year.”

Similarly, the proprietor of the Station Hotel, Kathryn Farmer, noticed an improvement over 2011, but more importantly tangible proof the coverage helps trade.

She said: “It was better than normal. There were no more residents than usual, but we did have folk staying on Monday night who were there because they saw Carnoustie on the television.

“We definitely did better than previous years and it was a lot better for meals.

“Because of the good weather a lot of local folk were going out and eating out. It was definitely a lot better for meals and the bars were up compared to last year.”

For the Kinloch Arms Hotel’s landlord Jonathon McInally, the impact was mainly felt on Thursday when the celebrities were out in force.

He said: “It certainly was busier on the Thursday. It was good for us when there were more well known celebrities in town. It was like a Saturday afternoon in the Kinloch, it was great.

“Parties of people from Monifieth and Broughty Ferry were out and about in Carnoustie making a day of it.

“It was good day trade. We didn’t really do anything at night, it seemed as though people were mostly just visiting for the day.”

However, the further from the golf course one went, the less the effect of the Dunhill was felt. Stuart Anderson, manager at the Aboukir Hotel believed there was a minimal impact on their trade.

He said: “We didn’t expect it to be busier given experiences over the last few years. It’s probably a lot to do with the location.

“It was a good week anyway, but personally I don’t see that being because of the Dunhill.”

Businessman Dave McNicoll who owns the Carnoustie Golf Shop agreed that the competition made little difference to customer footfall.

He said: “It’s the end of the season for us. We’re busy online, we’re always mega busy online. The Dunhill Cup is great for the town but no, it wasn’t busy for us.”

In the opinion of Independent Carnoustie Councillor Brian Boyd the Dunhill Cup did a good job bringing local people out for the day.

He said: “Certainly a lot of Carnoustie people were coming out and using the opportunity to spot a few celebrities, and they were staying out and eating or drinking. The car parks were quite full.”

He concluded: “I was speaking to a few guys in the hotel who were staying there specifically for the competition and were eating locally, but I think as a whole there were not that many people coming in and out of the town.”

Do you own a business in Carnoustie? How did the Dunhill Cup affect you? Are there ways in which more can be made of the competition to benefit the town?

Send us your input in the usual ways.