Quail Hollow Club
The Quail Hollow Club, which will host this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, is one of the finest in the Southeast of the United States.
You might remember the event as the Wachovia Championship until Wachovia joined other US Banks in running into trouble and had to be bailed out by the US Government.
Subsequently Wachovia has been absorbed by the giant Wells Fago bank which a year ago moved in as the event’s new headline sponsor.
Sponsor or no sponsor as was the case in 2010, it is, in fact, the Quail Hollow Club’s 18-hole, par-72, 7,442-yard layout (course rating 74.2, slope rating 139, designer George W Cobb and opened in 1961), that is the major reason why the world’s best players have been drawn to the tournament, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington being just three of the big guns who like to play here.
Quail Hollow has been an oustanding venue since it first began hosting the Wachovia in 2003. Invariably it is impressive in its presentation while remaining relatively impervious to low scoring.
The course was originally designed by famed golf course architect George Cobb in 1961 to capture the beauty as well as challenging terrain of the Piedmont region.
In the intervening years, the course has undergone a series of improvements, including modifications to several holes by Arnold Palmer in 1986, and a redesign by Tom Fazio in 1997.
The course has two signature holes.
The par four, 14th is a dogleg left that can be driven with a good tee shot. It measures 346 yards from the championship tees. A 15 acre lake frames the left side of the hole and the rough on that side slopes down to the water.
The narrow landing area measures about 27 yards across and is guarded with two bunkers on each side. The two tiered green is long and narrow with about 7,100 square feet of putting surface.
Two more bunkers guard the left front and middle of the green, and a collection area waits just off the right front of the green for short approach shots hit off line, or almost perfect drives. The area immediately left of the green slopes severely down to the lake, so shots hit left have a very good chance of ending up in the hazard.
The 17th hole is a 217-yard par three over water. A rock wall rings this part of the lake and borders the left and front of the green.
The tee shot must carry the water hazard, and a bunker that protects the center. The 6,500-square-foot green is undulating, and on the left side there is only six feet between the edge of the putting surface and the lake. On the right lies a closely mown collection area for errant shots.
If the weather cooperates and little rain falls, Quail Hollow could be even more inhospitable to potential par busters.
The PGA Tour reported in 2011 that officials had worked on plans to present a faster track in the future. The rough has being trimmed back and the greens made faster and firmer using their sub-air system.
This means, of course, that players who have performed decently at the Shell Houston Open or the Masters, where the setups were similar, might again be the front-runners for the title this week.
Yes, firm and fast, Quail Hollow is poised to cater to shot makers who can shape shots off the tee and around its tree-line doglegs like the 14th and to master putters with plenty of feel for Greens expected to run at 11.5 to 12 on the stimpmeter.
And that’s on the flat patches, something that are few a far between at Quail Hollow.
Wind might also be more of a hindrance than it has been in the past at some of the holes where peripheral vegetation has been removed “to give the course more air”.
The fact that the course has four par fives that are all reachable in two and drivable par fours at the eighth and 14th holes could help buoy up the spirits, though.
Private Equity golf course not open to the public
Designed by George W Cobb
7,442 yards off the championship tees
– 30-tee practice range putting and chipping greens
– Usual clubhouse facilities including bar and change rooms
MEMBERSHIP: According to the website of this highly exclusive club, Quail Hollow “is a private, member-owned club. Membership information is available by Member recommendation only, through current members of the Club.”
CONTACT THE CLUB:
Address: Quail Hollow Club, 3700 Gleneagles Road, Charlotte, North Carolina 28210
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