The Open will be played at Muirfield next week and in anticipation there is a chance to play golf in St Andrew Square this weekend.

So with golf firmly in our sights on these beautiful July days, it is no surprise that The Scottish Government have today launched a drive to promote Scottish golf.

Scotland’s magnificent scenery and golf courses will be showcased around the globe, thanks to a new £400,000 campaign to promote Scotland as the Home of Golf.

First Minister Alex Salmond today launched VisitScotland’s new television adverts, the first to be purely dedicated to golf, at the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart in Inverness.

The adverts will be shown during the coverage of the competition by NBC in the US and Sky Sports in the UK and will reach international audiences in the tens of millions. Scotland’s most beautiful and iconic scenery provides the stunning backdrop for the campaign, as Laura Murray, one of the most successful Scottish amateurs who has turned professional this year, hits golf balls in the shadow of Glenfinnan Viaduct as the Jacobite steam train passes across and Private Jamie Notman drives off Edinburgh Castle’s ramparts while Bombardier Ally Jones fires the famous One O’Clock Gun.

The First Minister said:-“Scotland is the undisputed Home of Golf. We have the best courses in the world and these fantastic adverts will cement that reputation to tens of millions of golf fans across the globe.

“During the Scottish Open, we have a captive global audience of golf fans so this is the ideal opportunity to give Scottish golf the biggest ever push. The fact that this magnificent competition is being broadcast on American network television, to tens of millions of US viewers, is a fantastic endorsement for Castle Stuart, and the Scottish Open.

“It is a great boost for Scotland, and for Scottish golf, as well as being an incredible opportunity to showcase our outstanding scenery and the golf on offer across the country.

“Millions of visitors each year come to Scotland to play golf and the sport pumps millions of pounds into the Scottish economy. I hope that even more viewers from around the world tuning into the Scottish Open will see what the country has to offer.

“Golf is a significant part of Scotland’s identity and culture, and I’d like to invite everyone to come and test their skills on the finest golf courses in the world.”

The First Minister brokered the broadcast deal with American TV channel, NBC, while attending the Ryder Cup in Medinah last year. The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open has now become the first regular European Tour event to be broadcast live on US network television.

As well as the TV adverts, the campaign also includes online and on-air consumer promotions, aimed at golf audiences in the UK and United States, specifically promoting the Scottish Open and its coverage on Sky Sports and The Golf Channel on NBC.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said:-“The profile of golf in Scotland over the next couple of years is going to be extremely high so it’s important that we capitalise on every opportunity afforded to us to ensure Scotland remains at the forefront of golfers’ minds all over the world.

“The large TV audience and the thousands of visitors who will witness the very best of Scotland during the next two weeks of competition will be treated to some spectacular golf on two fantastic courses.

“Golf tourism is worth £220m to the Scottish economy and therefore a major contributor to the country. We have a wealth of fantastic events this year and with the Ryder Cup next year, we are creating the optimum platform for a lasting golf legacy in Scotland.”

The Open in the Square takes place in St Andrew Square from Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 July, the week before the Championship is held at Muirfield in East Lothian.

The Open in the Square event will run in St Andrew Square from 11am to 7pm on Thursday, 11 July, Friday, 12 July, and Saturday, 13 July and will be free and open to the public.

The public will have the opportunity to try golf, to receive some tips from PGA golf professionals, to play some of the great Open courses on EA Sports games consoles and to get their picture taken with the Claret Jug.

The event will also feature a golf simulator, a large screen showing some of the great moments from The Open Championship and artificial practice putting greens.