Page last updated at 07:31 GMT, Thursday, 26 January 2006

Rooms with a Ryder Cup view

By Diarmaid Fleming
BBC Northern Ireland reporter in Celbridge, County Kildare

Golf fans are eagerly awaiting the first ever Ryder Cup to be played on an Irish course.

The exclusive K Club
The exclusive K Club is hosting the 2006 Ryder Cup

But regardless of whether it is a string of winning birdies or eagles at the exclusive K Club tournament in September, the residents of a Kildare housing estate will be celebrating in style at their own 19th hole.

Ten of them have united and intend to rent out their Celbridge homes in the Temple Manor estate to European and American fans attending the tournament.

That way, no matter who wins - they win. Estimated profits of a few hundred thousand euro for the fortnight's golfing tournament are being bandied about.

However, the group remain tight-lipped and have their eyes firmly fixed on the ball. They have already begun their pitch with a world-wide marketing campaign.

Although it is a modern suburban development, it is a close-knit community, with families in the development holidaying - and golfing - together.

Pub dream

The idea came up in the pub after some locals who had been to the Ryder Cup in Spain in 1997 saw how scarce accommodation was.

Niall Dunne from Temple Manor said that big business interest in the event should provide a market for the houses.

Prime location - up close to the K Club and the Ryder Cup
Prime location - up close to the K Club and the Ryder Cup
"Ideally, we are aiming at the corporate sector of the market and, if someone wanted to bring over say 20 clients from the United States, we have the rooms in the houses here available," he said.

"They are all self-contained houses, there are barbecue facilities. One neighbour even has a swimming pool, so if we get any decent Irish weather they can take a dip in the pool after the day," he said.

The houses are five-star luxury, with each house boasting five double bedrooms.

Debbie Fealy said their target market would match up with the decor of the houses.

"We'd like to work closely with the client to see what their specific needs are. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that anyone staying here would have as enjoyable a time as possible," she said.

Just like Ireland's economic boom, the K Club in County Kildare did not exist 20 years ago, only opening in 1991.

Worldwide web

Neither did the internet, which has enabled a world-wide marketing drive to operate from the houses in Celbridge, without the need for expensive advertising, office administration or middle men.

A dedicated website takes potential customers on a virtual tour and, already, the owners said, people from the USA, the UK and as far away as Israel have made inquiries.

The houses do not come cheap, but no-one is saying for how much just yet, said Niall Dunne.

One newspaper suggested as much as 35,000 euro for each house, a figure which, said the group, "has been plucked out of the air".

The US Ryder Cup team of 2004
US fans will be in Ireland to support their team

"I think we'd like to get as much as we can. But we have to be realistic.

"Looking from a corporate point of view you'd have to ask how much would an American multinational be prepared to pay, but really some people are just throwing out figures left right and centre. No fixed price has been decided on yet," Mr Dunne said.

This new form of Irish hospitality - has a distinctly professional touch.

But the hundred thousand welcomes, could, if all 10 houses are let, net a few hundred thousand euro for the lucky - or perhaps plucky - households.



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