Charlotte will play host to the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club from Aug. 7-13 – the first major golf championship to come to the Queen City.
Following are five questions about the upcoming event:
After years hosting the Wells Fargo Championship – one of the most popular non-major events on the PGA Tour – Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club was awarded this year’s PGA Championship in 2010.
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Jason Mengel, the championship’s director, came to Charlotte in 2015 to begin preparations for golf’s fourth major tournament of the year. He called the Carolinas a golf-driven region with dedicated fans and strong economic ties to the sport.
“They're not just passionate about the game of golf,” he said, “but so many lives are directly impacted by jobs in the game.”
Mengel said the city’s governing bodies have been helpful and cooperative with security, parking and other logistics. He also lauded the area’s volunteer base, which he said should help facilitate the event during the week of the PGA Championship.
Is the course ready?
Not quite. Mengel said it won’t be until the final two weeks when the course transitions from work zone to major championship venue.
“If you were to come out today, it is a fully functioning construction site,” he said.
Mengel said more than 500,000 square feet of temporary flooring and tenting is being installed. He said hundreds of service providers are constructing a “championship stadium” with 300 individual structures – ranging from merchandise tents and hospitality venues to TV compounds and exclusive “Wanamaker Clubs” for premium ticket-holders.
He said the crew is roughly halfway through the build and is on schedule to put the finishing touches on the course in the weeks before the event.
“Once the carpet goes down on our walkways and the picket fence goes up and flags and banners come in ...” he said, “it'll really transform this build into something special.”
What’s changed about the course?
This won’t be the same Quail Hollow that last hosted the Wells Fargo Championship in 2016.
The course closed last summer to include adding Bermuda grass to the greens and rough in preparation for the PGA Championship.
In 89 days last summer, the Quail Hollow crew –including designer Tom Fazio – turned the course into a challenging venue fit for a major. The first hole is redesigned, as are the fourth and fifth holes. The ninth and 11th holes were altered.
“Right away from the first tee shot, it'll be different,” Mengel said.
There has also been an emphasis on improving the spectator experience. Nearly 1,000 trees were cleared to improve vantage points along the course. Mengel said the crew is installing thousands of bleacher seats, including two large bleachers on the green behind the fourth hole.
The fabled “Green Mile” – the final three holes of the course – has also been improved for fans, as Mengal said the area around the 17th hole was revamped to improve the fan experience.
How many people will be there?
The 2017 PGA Championship has already broken records for ticket sales and corporate hospitality sales, according to Mengel, who said he expects more than 200,000 spectators for the week.
The four days of tournament golf are sold out, as is Wednesday’s practice round. Mengel said while the event is largely supported by golf fans in the region, tickets were sold to people from 60 countries and 49 of the 50 states.
Fear not, Alaskan golf fans – you still have time to secure your spot at Quail Hollow.
“We still have Monday and Tuesday practice-round tickets available,” Mengel said, “so maybe we’ll close that gap.”
What else to know?
Fans can bring up to four “juniors” – anyone under 18 – for free to this year’s event. ... Attendees must secure off-site parking passes in advance. Those can be purchased on the event website (pgachampionship.com) by going to the transportation section. ... Questions about gate hours, restricted items and Wi-Fi access? Mengel urges fans to check out the event’s “spectator guide” – which features schedules, maps and more.
C Jackson Cowart on Twitter: @CJacksonCowart