Want an unobstructed view of a major international sporting event from your backyard? It’ll cost ya — upward of $7,500 a night in some cases.
But no one can put a price tag on “the best view in golf.”
Two weeks before the Ryder Cup, held this year at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, homeowners are pitching themselves and their property to last-minute planners, hoping to cash in on convenience. Although many fans booked lodging for the biennial competition months in advance, hundreds of listings remain on vacation rental and house-sharing services jockeying for corporate elites and European travelers looking to book at the 11th hour.
It can be a windfall for residents savvy in the art of advertisement, though competition is fierce. Location and luxury matter, real estate agents say, in attracting tourists and raking in the dough.
“Golf is a sport with an affluent following, so you’re going to get affluent people coming for the Ryder Cup,” said Steve Jecha, a Twin Cities ReMax agent. “It doesn’t hurt to put your house on the market and see about renting it out. Getting $10,000 for five days, or something like that, pays a couple mortgage payments.”
Jecha recently listed a four-bedroom, four-bath mini-mansion nestled on Lake Hazeltine, just a few yards from the tee box of the course’s signature 7th hole. Among the amenities are granite countertops, a giant deck and a hot tub spa.
The rate: $3,000 per night.
When big money comes to town, even an average-sized rambler within a few miles of the course can go for upward of $800 a night. Many homes will rent for well into the thousands, with multiple-night minimums imposed on guests.
The Twin Cities is relatively inexperienced in the vacation-home market, but that could change as the region prepares to host big upcoming sporting events, including the 2018 Super Bowl and 2019 Final Four.
There are only about 40,000 hotel rooms in the Twin Cities area, far fewer than the 100,000 in greater New York City, which hosted the Super Bowl two years ago. Downtown Minneapolis has just 7,500, with about 1,500 to be added in the next two years, according to Meet Minneapolis, the city’s convention and tourism association.
The Ryder Cup, attracting an estimated quarter-million tourists over six days, has put the squeeze on hotels. While Chaska is about a 45-minute commute to downtown Minneapolis, the majority of hotels in the heart of the city are already booked.
“When it’s all said and done, downtown will be approaching sell outs, if not sold out, most of the days [of the Ryder Cup],” said Brent Foerster, a senior vice president at Meet Minneapolis.
Fewer hotels in the southwestern suburbs mean more opportunities for homeowners willing to rent space — and either go on vacation or couch surf while temporary tenants enjoy the festivities.
Kirk Johnson of St. Louis Park struck a deal to rent his townhouse to a pair of Swedish couples who wanted to be closer to the nightlife downtown.
He’ll collect $4,500 for their 10-night stay — which would be enough for two mortgage payments, but will instead fund next year’s vacation to China.
At the suggestion of a friend, Johnson posted his home on Craigslist for the days of the tournament.
He heard crickets for nearly a month. “I didn’t actually think I’d get anybody,” he said. “With only two bedrooms I didn’t know anyone would be interested.”
The payday will require some frantic cleaning, he said, along with some routine maintenance.
It’s also an excuse to buy fancy new linens and install internet and cable. Johnson, a lawyer, will live with his girlfriend while strangers take over his home.
But the closer residents are to Hazeltine, the more money is at stake.
Jecha, the Realtor, is marketing his clients’ large lake home to groups of men abroad who might decide to attend the tournament on a whim. He’s using social media and vacation rental sites to coax Europeans into at least a three-night stay.
If renters are merely fans and not athletes or corporate bigwigs, they’re typically looking for a weekend getaway rather than a full 7-day stint.
“Most people want to come in Thursday night or Friday morning and be there for the rounds that actually mean something,” Jecha said. The Ryder Cup is a six-day event that begins Sept. 30 and has three days of full competition at the end.
Another home on the course’s 15th green boasts about getting visitors as close as they can be to the action. And it’s all yours, if you can afford the price tag of $52,500 for a week in luxury.
“We are right there where it is happening live,” the owners posted in their Event Homes ad. “Be sure and wave as you will be on television as we were in 2009 during the PGA Championship.”