The best women golfers from Europe and the USA will compete for the sport’s top team prize at Gleneagles next September, with 100,000 spectators expected. Major golfing events in Scotland have traditionally relied on local people letting out homes for a week to provide extra accommodation. But rental firm Accommodation for The Event (AfTE) so far has only 10 properties listed compared with the 200 or 300 it was expecting.
AfTE accommodations manager Brian Higgins admitted larger groups in particular might struggle to find suitable lodgings.
He said: “I don’t know why it’s been so slow to take off. Maybe the event has not been that well advertised in Scotland.
“Most hotels and bed and breakfasts we’ve spoken to seemed to be unaware the Solheim Cup was returning to Scotland. They are fully booked with usual rates and obviously can’t go changing that now.
“A lot of groups with 15 to 20 people are looking for three to four homes, all neighbouring one another, so they can stay together.
“Ideally, the location should be within 30 minutes of Gleneagles hotel. A three to four-bedroom property can command £1,200 to £1,400 per person for a 10-night duration. Of course there are also celebrities who want something more secluded and remote, ideally with an opportunity to land a helicopter. All they’ll need is half-an-acre of flat land so maybe there’s a farmer or a landowner that can help.”
The Europeans, captained by Scot Catriona Matthew, will be bidding to win the trophy for the first time since 2013 after two successive triumphs for the USA.
Next year’s event is expected to generate around £20million for the Scottish economy with up to 30,000 spectators a day and a worldwide TV audience of millions.
It will be the first time it has been held in the UK since the 2000 event at Loch Lomond, when Scot Dale Reid led the home team to victory.
Mr Higgins said golfing tourists, especially golf society members, often stayed for a few extra nights to play a few rounds or see the sights.
He added: “Usually by this close to a tournament we’d expect to have between 200 and 300 properties on our books.”
The homes currently available on the firm’s website vary from £6,500 for a four-bed in Aberfeldy to £17,000 for a five-bed near Scone Palace.
VisitScotland said the aim was to make next year’s cup the “best ever” and insisted there would be plenty of accommodation options for visitors.
A spokesman added: “With up to 30 per cent of admissions expected from outwith Scotland… the 2019 Solheim Cup will deliver a strong economic impact for Perthshire and beyond with the opportunity for extended stays from international visitors.”