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A look inside the luxury homes up for rent after cancellation of 149th Golf Open 2020 in Sandwich

Today would have marked the first strokes of one of the biggest golfing events on the planet, taking place along the Kent coast.

The 149th Open was due to return to Royal St George's Golf Club, in Sandwich, for the first time since 2011.

Open Championship final qualifying at Prince’s Golf Club last year
Open Championship final qualifying at Prince’s Golf Club last year

But the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced the sporting event - like many scheduled for this summer - to be postponed until the following year.

With the cancellation comes spades of disappointment from businesses in Sandwich and nearby seaside town Deal, which would have been hoping to capitalise on the influx of companies, spectators and players to the area.

Among those missing out are those who were due to rent their properties out to people attending the event, who are now having to wait until next year's rescheduled tournament to earn from their houses.

Colebrook Sturrock, an estate agent with eight branches including those in Sandwich, Elham, Hawkinge and Bridge, markets nearly 300 Open accommodation options in the area, from modest two-bed houses to huge seven-bed properties.

Simon Greaves, managing director of the agency, said: "As far as my clients are concerned, there's a delay in securing the income which they were reliant upon.

Simon Greaves is the managing director of Colebrook Sturrock
Simon Greaves is the managing director of Colebrook Sturrock

"We were looking forward to 2020 with a lot of expectation - it was a great event in 2011, despite the weather, a lot of rain.

"Now we're looking forward to a successful event this time around in 2021."

One property in North Road, Sandwich Bay, is on the market for a whopping £35,000 for the ten-day duration of The Open, which works out at £3,500 a day.

At a glance, you might expect these pricey properties to be snapped up by high-profile golfers like Tiger Woods, Darren Clarke, or Rory McIlroy.

But Mr Greaves said these expensive lets often go to luxury affiliated brands like Rolex and Mercedes Benz.

This huge property on North Road is available to let during the tournament for £35,000. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
This huge property on North Road is available to let during the tournament for £35,000. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
Mr Greaves said these properties are often bought out by luxury brands like Rolex. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
Mr Greaves said these properties are often bought out by luxury brands like Rolex. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
The brands will use the properties to put on corporate entertainment during the tournament. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
The brands will use the properties to put on corporate entertainment during the tournament. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock

He said: "It's a lot of money and £35,000 is not the highest price paid by any stretch.

"The bigger the house - when you're talking about six-seven bedrooms - quite often they're taken by companies for use as a hub.

"They are going to take huge amounts of space and do corporate entertaining in a big way."

Many of the huge expensive properties are based right by the side of the course, on Kings Avenue.

Mr Greaves said the big names of golf are much more likely to look for something smaller and quieter away from the bustle of the competition.

The Open in 2011. Picture: Barry Goodwin
The Open in 2011. Picture: Barry Goodwin

His own property in Fosters Court, Sandwich, has been rented out for previous tournaments by the Danish golfer and Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn.

He said: "The Tiger Woods' of this world will probably take a family home in a quieter location if they can find one."

Although properties closer to the course are most popular, some prospective landlords further afield have approached Mr Greaves with some interesting solutions.

He said: "I had somebody who had a property 25 miles away but was offering to provide a helicopter service.

"We've had to tell our landlords to be realistic, you can still make good money out of it. But don't get too ambitious or you'll fall flat on your face."

This Deal property is available for £2,500 a day. Pic: Colebrook Sturrock
This Deal property is available for £2,500 a day. Pic: Colebrook Sturrock
The house is four miles from the course. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
The house is four miles from the course. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
Properties like this often double up rooms to accommodate more people. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
Properties like this often double up rooms to accommodate more people. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock

One property, four miles from the course, is asking for an impressive £25,000 for a ten-day stay.

The nine-bedroom house on Marine Road, Deal, can sleep up to 17 people, with breakfast and cleaning available at an additional cost.

Colebrook Sturrock take the application of Open properties very seriously, and visit each one to appraise it and make sure it's up to standards.

The letting agency director said: "The people who are paying those sorts of figures are expecting a good four-star hotel or good quality accommodation.

"So that means probably new linen on all the beds, modern, fitted kitchen with all the latest appliances and gizmos, barbecue and patio areas."

This four-bed in Sandwich is available for £11,000. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
This four-bed in Sandwich is available for £11,000. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
Even smaller properties can make a lot of money during the tournament. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
Even smaller properties can make a lot of money during the tournament. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
Mr Greaves said smaller properties like this are more likely to be taken by the golfers themselves. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock
Mr Greaves said smaller properties like this are more likely to be taken by the golfers themselves. Picture: Colebrook Sturrock

Away from the gargantuan properties on offer, even the slightly more modest homes are asking for a pretty penny.

A four-bed, one-bathroom Mock Tudor house near Sandown Road, Sandwich, is on the market for the full ten-day tournament at £11,000.

Although businesses and renters have missed out on thousands of pounds in the wake of the cancellation, many are taking a positive view and looking forward to opportunity from the rescheduled 2021 tournament.

Speaking to KMTV in April, Tim Checketts, Royal St George's secretary, said: "It was going to be a brilliant championship this year, but we've got 15 months to make it even better.

"It puts this corner of Kent on the world stage with a huge television audience - it probably drives visitor business for years in the run up to the Open and years after."

Speaking of the rescheduled tournament, David Shaw, from Kent Chamber of Commerce, said: "Given all the circumstances this was absolutely the right thing to do and the best possible outcome we could have expected."

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