Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus has been voted Golf Course Designer of the Year at the World Golf Awards.

Nicklaus – nicknamed the Golden Bear – was the big winner at golf tourism’s event of the year, which took place at La Manga Club earlier, welcoming the elite of the golf hospitality industry to Spain.

Also among the winners was TaylorMade.

The American manufacturer, whose mission is to create the best-performing golf equipment in the game, took the title of World’s Best Golf Club Brand.

Elsewhere St Andrews Links (Old Course) in Scotland scooped the award for World’s Best Golf Course, while The Belfry was recognised as Europe’s Best Golf Hotel, and Portugal picked up the trophy for World’s Best Golf Destination.

Sky Sports Golf was also honoured during the red-carpet event, winning the award for World’s Best Golf Channel.

An extensive programme of events is taking place over the weekend, seeing guests invited to engage in three days of exclusive networking and to play the Robert Putman designed West Course and classic South Course at La Manga Club.

World Golf Awards managing director, Chris Frost, said: “The fourth instalment of the World Golf Awards has been the most successful to date, welcoming industry leaders to Murcia, Spain, for a weekend of golf, networking opportunities and our fabulous Gala Ceremony.

“It has been an honour to recognise so many world-class organisations here this evening and I offer my sincere congratulations to all our winners.”

In a unique presentation, the World Golf Awards Academy honoured golf industry stalwart, Ian Baker-Finch, with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

One of the most popular and successful golfers and golf commentators, the Australian – who is known for his easy-going manner and his love for the sport – has more than 15 years in sports television and 17 titles under his belt.

Voting for the 2017 Gala Ceremony closed at the end of September, with a record number of ballots cast by leading golf industry tourism professionals.

These were tallied alongside the votes of hundreds of thousands of golf consumers around the world, with the winners revealed earlier this evening at the five-star La Manga Club – an unrivalled sports and leisure paradise in south-east Spain.

Find a full list of 2017 World Golf Awards winners on the official website.