From single rooms to entire houses, people will pay to stay by Greenbrier for summer tournament
CHARLESTON, W.Va.--The Greenbrier Classic golf tournament has teed up a lodging rental boom in southeastern West Virginia, with prices ranging from $45 per person per night for a room at Snowshoe to $35,000 a week for a house at the Greenbrier Sporting Club.
The Professional Golfers' Association Tournament, to be played at The Greenbrier Resort's Old White Course July 26 to Aug. 1, is expected to draw up to 50,000 spectators a day - a potential total of 200,000 during the week.
Spokeswoman Lynn Swann said the resort's 721 rooms already are booked. Tournament director Tim McNeely said many of the tournament players, their families, tour sponsors and others in the PGA entourage will stay there.
The several thousand people who follow the tour will occupy many other rooms in the area, McNeely said. They include caddies and representatives of companies like Titleist and Callaway, which make golf balls, golf clubs and accessories.
Local real estate agents Greg Allman (on the Internet at www.gregallman.net) and Martha Hilton (www.marthahilton.com) are leading the effort to rent privately owned rooms and homes in the region.
"I've been in real estate 21 years and I've not seen anything of the magnitude this has had so far," Allman said. "It's only going to get stronger up to the tournament.
"Right now we're getting a tremendous amount of calls from people who are working the event - volunteers, production crews. Spectators have not started calling yet.
"We've had a huge number of requests from people who want to be within walking distance of the tournament," he said.
Although all of the properties he has listed are off the resort's grounds, it is possible to find a place within walking distance. For example, Allman has had listings for several homes in Villa Park, a subdivision that abuts The Greenbrier.
"The hardest part is, this is the first year so there's a little bit of guess work," he said.
"The million-dollar question homeowners ask is, 'How much can we get for our house for the week?'
"I've talked to people at Augusta and Pinehurst (where other PGA tournaments are played). They said if a property is relatively close, you can expect to get about $1,000 per bedroom for the week."
Allman said the least expensive listing he currently has is $1,250 for a two-bedroom cottage about 25 miles away at Salt Sulphur Springs in Monroe County for the week and the most expensive is $5,000 for a five- bedroom home.
"I've had at least a dozen homeowners say, 'When you get to $10,000, call me back.' "
Homeowners are offering a variety of perks ranging from breakfast to cocktails in the evening.
One potential client may offer a property that will accommodate 24 adults, Allman said. "They're talking about offering ground passes to the tournament, all of the food at the tournament, a shuttle service to and from the golf course and a chef service for breakfast and dinner," he said.
Allman said tournament lodging has become a full-time job for his wife, Jill.