Planning to head over to the USA to catch some of the Ryder Cup at the end of September? You’ll be lucky to get a ticket for one of the most exciting sports events of this or any other year. Tickets for the Ryder Cup are still available according to the official website but only via certain hospitality tickets, travel packages and by using resellers. And, as these figures from AO show, the costs all add up.
The consolation prize is that every drive, putt and bunker shot of the Ryder Cup will be covered live on television. It’s often referred to as the third most viewed sporting event in the world, after the FIFA World Cup and summer Olympics; it will be broadcast to more than 180 countries. For UK viewers, Sky Sports has a devoted Ryder Cup channel, which will deliver 240 hours of coverage. In the USA, NBC Sports are providing similar coverage. With visual and sound technology - some latest models are listed here - rapidly evolving constantly, watching sport on television has never felt so real.
But if you want to get even closer to the action, you can. How? Well, how about really soaking up some of the unique Ryder Cup atmosphere by heading out to Minnesota, which hosts the 2016 event?
The Ryder Cup venue is Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska - a modest town which has a population of around 25,000 and has a relatively low profile (though the Ryder Cup will certainly change that, at least for a week).
The town has been planning for the event for the last year. South West Metro magazine wrote that, ‘because of the tournament’s match play component, the cup is actually just as much fun - if not more - to watch on television. In fact, many of the people who watch the tournament live end up gathering around one of the large screen televisions throughout the course to keep track of the play.’ Walk into any bar or restaurant in town over the three days of play and you’ll inevitably be watching the drama with a crowd - cheering every successful putt and groaning when a wayward drive finds the rough.
Of course, Chaska will be packed over Ryder Cup weekend and Minnesota is a large state - there’s loads for holidaymakers and vacationers to do there. Sports fans will be interested - and excited - to know that Minnesota has a professional team in every major sport. Right now, the Minnesota Vikings has just begun its NFL season and likewise, the Timberwolves are in the middle of the 2016-17 NBA campaign.
Those heading out to Minnesota specifically for golf will find more than 500 courses located around the state, and 90% of those are open to the public. Explore Minnesota writes: ‘You don’t have to travel far from Hazeltine National in Chaska to find a great course to play while in the area,’ Indeed, Chaska Town Course is right on the doorstep.
Looking further afield, and if you’re planning a longer visit to Minnesota, there’s certainly enough to occupy a two or three-week visit. There are plenty of activities planned in and around Ryder Cup weekend. There are several suggestions here, including a visit to the Chaska Curling Center.
Why not immerse yourself in the spirit of the Ryder Cup, and build a fantastic holiday around Minnesota at the same time?