MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska looks more like a housing development than a golf course.
Construction workers in trucks, backhoes, ATVs and golf carts are busy driving up and down each fairway getting set for the thousands of PGA fans expected in a little over three weeks.
“One of the most difficult things we have to do is transform a golf course that has no infrastructure on it whatsoever, other than a clubhouse, into a city,” said Jeff Hintz, Hazeltine’s 2016 Ryder Cup Director.
It was 14 years ago when the PGA announced the 2016 Ryder Cup would be coming to Chaska. Hintz says in the last two years they started the process of getting the course Ryder Cup ready.
Members have been hitting off of artificial-turf mats for the past month to protect fairways. The course officially shut down this last Tuesday, and will not re-open until after the big game.
Hintz says the white structures lining the 18th and first holes might look like tents, but really they are temporary building. Some are suites already reserved for corporate sponsors like Mercedes Benz, Omega and Samsung.
There is nearly 1.5 million square feet that will be built. Inside, they will be decorated and have Wi-Fi, kitchens, air conditioning and heat if it gets chilly.
Hazeltine hosted the PGA Championship back in 2002 and 2009, with 156 players in each tournament. The Ryder Cup has only 24 players, but its popularity is far reaching, says Hintz. He says the Ryder Cup and the PGA tournament are completely different, describing the former as more like a soccer match.
“There’s singing, there’s chanting, there’s costumes and it really affords the golf fan that one opportunity every two years, and once every four here in the United States, to kind of show their colors on who they want to root for,” Hintz said.
Ryder Cup coverage will reach 500 million homes and 160-plus countries and territories around the world.
The first tee is surrounded by bleachers with seating for more than 1,600 people. They expect 250,000 people will attend the events and matches over six days and each person who enters will be greeted with a 10-foot Ryder Cup, with which they can take a selfie.
Four-thousand Ryder Cup volunteers will help with concession, restaurants, emergency planning and security.
Events begin on Sept. 27. Matches begin Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.
Davis Love III will captain Team USA. Eight of the 12 players have been announced. They include:
Team USA will get its first look at the revised Hazeltine course next week. Love plans to bring 11 players to Chaska.
He will name the first three of his four captain’s picks Monday. The 12th and final player will be announced on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” on Sept. 25.