Quail Hollow transforms into major venue

Quail Hollow Club modified several holes, grew bermuda rough, and re-planted the greens ahead of the PGA Championship

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Open since 1961, Quail Hollow has seen a number of reconstructions and improvements over the years.

George Cobb built it, Arnold Palmer modified it and world-renowned golf course architect, Tom Fazio, has helped perfect it. 

Right from the start, fans will notice a few differences at Quail Hollow since last year's Wells Fargo Championship. Fazio combined the old No. 1 and No. 2 to create a new first hole. 

"What he's done by combining those [two holes], is he's really turned it into a major championship venue," Quail Hollow superintendent Keith Wood said. 

Before the changes, the world's best golfers faced an easy start by their standards. Now, they face a monster, 524-yard par four. Downhill, dogleg right to a small green guarded by huge bunkers on both sides.

"They're faced with quite a test, quite an opening hole," Wood said. "They better be on the money when they get started."

Two holes later, the field will face another new challenge. Fazio split the old fifth hole in two, creating a new par three followed by new par four.

While the new holes are the most obvious changes to the fans, it's the new grass that will have the biggest impact on the players. 

"Thick bermuda grass rough is completely different than tall rye grass rough," Wood said.

Since the Wells Fargo is usually played in May, Quail Hollow grew rye grass in case the bermuda was still dormant. But with the PGA Championship played in August the rye grass is gone, and the bermuda grass is thick and challenging.

"It has the potential to play completely different than it used to," 2016 PGA Champ Jimmy Walker said. "You can get some horrendous lies. That's something that guys are going to have to deal with."

The last change is a welcome one, All 18 greens were fumigated and re-planted to give the field the purest putting surface possible. Add it all up and Quail Hollow has provided an excellent test of golf for its first ever major championship. 

 

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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