The latest round of course changes is nearly complete at Quail Hollow Club, promising PGA Tour players and fans a new look in several spots during the Wells Fargo Championship.
The most noticeable changes will be at the fourth and eighth holes, which have undergone significant renovations.
To accommodate a new short-game practice area, the tee on the par-4 fourth hole was moved approximately 50 yards to the left of its previous location, eliminating the soft left-to-right bend in the fairway. The new straightaway hole can play 500 yards from the championship tee, though it will likely play shorter.
To frame the hole, several full-grown trees have been planted along the right side, separating the new short-game area from the golf course.
The short, par-4 eighth hole has a new green and it’s likely to produce as much controversy as the previous green. Players didn’t like the elevated, slender three-tier green and it was replaced by a green that sits lower and more to the left, reducing the dogleg to the hole. However, the putting surface is heavily contoured and guaranteed to create conversation.
The heavily sloped 12th green has been softened after criticism from Phil Mickelson and others. There are also new tees in several places, including Nos. 1 and 10 where lengthening the holes will likely eliminate bleachers behind those tees.
More course changes are planned next summer, including a conversion from bent-grass putting surfaces to Bermuda, a move originally planned in 2015.
Discussions are continuing about an extension of the tournament beyond 2014 when the current contract expires. There are several factors at work, including new contract requirements from the PGA Tour, the willingness of Wells Fargo to continue as title sponsor and finding an alternate site in 2017 and possibly 2016 to accommodate the PGA Championship, scheduled for Quail Hollow.
Officials are cautiously optimistic a long-term extension will be reached, but no deal is likely until early next year. Charlotte Country Club is being considered as a possible alternate site for the Wells Fargo Championship, though no agreement has been reached.
CHARITY DONATION: The Wells Fargo Championship has announced it donated $1.3 million to area charities this year, bringing its cumulative total to $14.8 million donated since the tournament’s inception in 2003.
MOVING UP: Seven junior golfers from Carmel Country Club were honored Wednesday by the club after earning college scholarships. Davis and Austin Morrison will attend William and Mary, Andy Simmons will attend Davidson, Philip Oweida will attend High Point University, William Rainey will attend the College of Charleston, Keegan Hoff will attend Richmond and Davis Bateman will attend North Carolina.
Bateman is the 2012 Joe Cheves Junior champion as well as NCISAA state champion; Davis Morrison is an HP scholastic All-American; Austin Morrison played for the U.S. team in the North American Cup; Andy Simmons was named South Charlotte player of the year; Oweida won the 2011 Golf Pride Tarheel Junior; Rainey was a three-time all-conference golfer; and Hoff had four top-10 finishes in 2012.
CHIP SHOTS: Jensen Rubinstein, a senior at Cox Middle School, recently won the Coca-Cola First Tee Futures Scholarship, a $5,000 award open to participants in First Tee programs across the country. Rubinstein was one of five finalists invited to the Tour Championship in September, where she was interviewed by a panel of judges who determined the scholarship winner…
Ike Grainger is the new executive director of The First Tee of Charlotte. Grainger hopes to continue to increase participation and expand the group’s presence in Charlotte…
Trevor Banks of Lancaster, S.C., is having a big year at NAIA Virginia Intermont. Banks recently won his fifth individual championship of the year for the Cobras.
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