A DRIVE has been launched to make Inverclyde a golf holiday destination.

Greenock, Gourock and Skelmorlie clubs have joined forces with The Spinnaker Hotel and Inverkip B&Bs The Foresters House and Belle Vue to form Clyde Coast Golf.

It will offer 'stay and play' getaways.

Organisers hope to encourage people from all over the world to visit the area and enjoy a round at each of the three courses while spending money at local guest houses, pubs, restaurants and shops.

The idea has already attracted interest from national tourist board VisitScotland and a Nordic golf trip operator.

Allan Warwick, general manager of Gourock Golf Club, said: "The aim is to try and attract stay and play in Inverclyde.

"Golf fans can come along and stay for three or five days, play a round at each of the clubs and hopefully spend money in the area on dinners and refreshments.

"We also want to attract non-golfers as well - they can enjoy places like Gourock Pool or go shopping, for example, while their partners make their way around the course.

"We're trying to sell the area as a tourist destination, particularly around golf.

"There's a market out there that we're currently not tapping into."

The website - www.clydecoastgolf.com - has now gone live and 5,000 leaflets were handed out at the Scottish Golf Show last month.

Representatives also plan to take stands at future events locally and out with the area to promote the packages.

Rhona Wallace, owner of the award-winning Foresters guest house, said: "The unique selling point is these great courses.

"People tend to only think about the top courses yet the courses we have here are absolutely fantastic and under-utilised.

"They're hidden gems."

Heather Sinclair, secretary at Greenock, added: "These are all James Braid courses.

"A lot of people go and 'bag' Braid courses like hillwalkers bag Munros.

"This is a great way to promote the area and to really do something instead of sitting back and hoping someone will do it for us."

The plans have taken over a year to develop and also have the backing of Inverclyde Council and Inverclyde Tourist Group.

Grace Kennedy, sponsorship and marketing manager at Skelmorlie, said: "It's a great example of businesses and organisations working together in collaboration for the benefit of the area."

Golfer Stewart McCartney, owner of The Spinnaker, says the link-up is a good opportunity for all involved and Inverclyde as a whole.

He said: "I find it disappointing the lack of golf tourists we get in this area with the fantastic courses we have.

"This joint venture is about trying to bring the courses we have to people's attention and make them consider the Clyde coast as a destination."