Options dwindling for hotel stays during U.S. Open at Erin Hills

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

March 24, 2017

The exterior of the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa.
Submitted photo

OCONOMOWOC — It may be almost two months away, but the Inn at Pine Terrace has already been booked up for six months for the week of the U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills. In fact, owner John Gresley said he took his first reservation a couple weeks before last year’s U.S. Open was even held.

Gresley did not raise rates for the week of June 12 to June 18, when the USGA tournament takes place at Erin Hills in the Town of Erin, but he did require a minimum of a week’s stay at the 12-room inn on Lisbon Road in Oconomowoc.

Others that still have rooms available are using packages to help lure in USGA enthusiasts.

At the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, there are two packages being offered that week in June.

The Fairways and Airways package includes private helicopter transportation and four tickets to the U.S. Open with hospitality tent access that includes a full bar, a two-night stay in one of Grand Geneva’s recently renovated three-bedroom villas and a grilled-to-order in-villa dining experience with the Grand Geneva’s executive chef. The cost is $6,999.

The golf course at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva.
Submitted photo

The other option, Aim for the Hills, includes two tickets to the U.S. Open with hospitality tent access and a two-night stay in one of Grand Geneva’s luxury one-bedroom villas for $999.

Steve Magnuson, the general manager of the Grand Geneva, said the packages are geared toward the golf enthusiasts who want to experience the U.S. Open and still enjoy the amenities the resort offers, such as its own golf course, spa and restaurant. The resort also has an on-site airport it can use to transport people to the U.S. Open.

The villas that are part of the package have never been rented out before and include a full kitchen and have a swimming pool.

Impact on local economy

Magnuson said he anticipates the U.S. Open having an economic effect in June on the area, as well as into the future.

Gresley, who has owned the historical Oconomowoc inn with his wife, Ruth, for about six years, said he also anticipates long-term benefits from the U.S. Open being held at Erin Hills and the publicity it will bring to the area.

For the week of the tournament, Gresley said he thinks it will be pretty quiet at the inn during the day until people return for dinner. He said a couple of guys who are coming to watch the U.S. Open from Washington, D.C. also asked about other golf courses in the area. Some of the other booked guests are volunteers at the U.S. Open.

Tammy Tritz, executive director of the Waukesha Pewaukee Convention and Visitor Bureau, said several of their hotel members are already sold out for the week of the U.S. Open while some still have a limited number of rooms available. The Price Pointe Inn on Bluemound Road in Waukesha also has some special U.S. Open-related specials.

“I think we are going to see a lot of national and some international travelers that will be coming to the area,” she said.

After the U.S. Open ends, Tritz said, the visitors bureau plans to market the area to golf enthusiasts as a great place to visit.

“People are very eager to golf the course after the US Open happens,” she said. “It will have a significant impact and long after as well.”

Email: kmichalets@conleynet.com

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