PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - More than 100,000 spectators are expected at the Honda Classic this week, packing into hotels all around PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.
Finding any vacancy at this point may be as easy as sinking a hole in one. Many golf fans are looking elsewhere for lodging this late in the game.
All along PGA Boulevard, visitors will be hard-pressed to find any vacant hotel rooms close to the links at the Honda Classic. Some golf fans are ditching the search for available hotel rooms and instead searching online and finding homes to rent in the heart of PGA National.
"Those are pros right there and the caddies, right outside the window, right there," said Susan Silverstein-Kaufman, who hails from New Jersey. She said she is done with 'camping out' in a hotel room. Silverstein-Kaufman is instead renting a home just feet from the 12th hole of the golf course. "It's like having a little vacation home but not having the full responsibility of having to worry about it," Kaufman said.
Real estate experts say more people who own homes close the major sporting events, such as the Honda Classic, are willing to offer up their properties to visitors who are willing to pay. "It really is a good moneymaker," said Patti Hoenings.
Hoenings is renting out a two bedroom, two and a half bath condominium at PGA National. She regularly posts advertisements on Craigslist.org and in the last few days, she has been offered top dollar for her place next to the course. "I actually got somebody that emailed me this week that basically told me to name my price," she said.
Rental rates on a home inside PGA National can vary widely. Experts say rates can go from $300 per day to thousands of dollars per week. "The shorter term rentals are going to have a higher price. You're not going to have the monthly rate divided by four weeks," said Pamela Quinn, a Sales and Leasing Agent with Illustrated Properties.
It is worth it for out of town guests like Silverstein-Kaufman, who is shelling out $6,000 for the month.
It is also worthwhile for homeowners like Hoenings who is already feeling like a winner at the Honda Classic. "If you've got family that you can go visit for the week and you can leave your unit and make some money on it, why not?," said Hoenings.