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From caddy to concessionaire: Charlotte native's amazing career comes full circle at Quail Hollow

David Cook's spent more than 20 years on the PGA Tour, serving up concessions at courses around the world. He says it all started at Quail Hollow.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Quail Hollow Club has been home to some of the biggest golf events, and one Charlotte native credits the course with opening the doors to a lucrative business opportunity that helped him break down barriers in the process. 

David Cook's no stranger to the world of golf. And he shouldn't be, having spent more than two decades around the sport. 

"I just finished my 17th Wells Fargo golf tournament and my fifth Ryder Cup, my 24th PGA Championship, ninth U.S. open and 113th regular golf tournament," Cook said. 

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Like thousands of others, Cook is in town for the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow. But for him, this week's about more than just golf. 

"Quail Hollow welcomed me with open arms and said if you come and you're able to do the job, and you're competitive, we'll hire you," he recalled. 

Cook started working for the country club years ago as a caddy, using the money he made to help support his family. 

"I came from a large family, eight kids," Cook said. "Leave here, go to the grocery store and buy a bag of potatoes, a loaf of bread and a chicken and that's how we ate for a couple of days."

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He eventually started his own business, Americana Group. He's now considered one of the top concessionaires at sporting events around the world. His company provides catering and food services to nearly every major sport. 

"Most of the bigger stands, we manage those, staff those and help run those," Cook said. "We do a high volume."

When Cook first started, he says it wasn't common to see Black faces on the course. 

"The only minority people were cutting the grass, cleaning the bathroom and washing dishes," Cook said. "That's what made me so prominent."

He says the representation on the golf course with his food stand didn't go unnoticed. 

"Pete McDaniel with Golfer's Digest brought Tiger Woods' mom and dad to my stand in New Jersey," Cook said. "He told them, 'we got a Black company up here running their own business.' From then on, they came to my stand all the time and it made them feel good." 

Cook now travels the world sharing his food and breaking down barriers in the process. The Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow is Cook's third tournament in six weeks.  

Contact Carolyn Bruck at cbruck@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.

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