I’ve been lucky enough to get tickets to the Wells Fargo Championship the past several years. The first year I went, it poured all day Sunday and I spent most of the time huddled in a chair near the 10th green.
Since then, I’ve perfected my strategy for maximizing my time at Quail Hollow Club. It can be overwhelming to watch a golf tournament in person: Where do I go? How long should I stay here? Who’s winning? Should I put on more sunscreen? Why does that guy keep putting his hands in the air?
If you want to follow one golfer — I’m looking at you, “PHIL!” fans — that’s great. And if you have one of those fancy tickets that gets you into a private club, by all means — do that.
But if you have a grounds ticket here’s my strategy for seeing as much action as possible.
Here’s your course map. Let’s get started.
(1) Get there early and set up your chairs beside the 18th green.
I usually show up fairly soon after the first couple groups tee off. Find a good spot on the hill by 18 and leave your chair there. I like to sit near the creek. Trust me — you won’t be the only one, and you’ll be glad you did this in the afternoon.
(2) Head over to No. 1 tee.
If it’s Saturday or Sunday, you’re not going to see the leaders teeing off. (Thursday and Friday you might see some bigger names.) But it’s still fun to see the golfers come off the practice green, be officially announced and hit that first shot. And this area is just going to get more popular throughout the day.
(3) Find a golfer you like and follow him for a couple of holes.
After you’ve seen a few golfers tee off, follow a group. If you pick a popular golfer, like Phil Mickelson or Rory McIlroy, you’ll be fighting a crowd. But with other groups you should be able to follow along pretty easily. Then you get the experience of seeing a golfer play a full hole.
You could follow to the No. 2 green and hang out there for a while, or go all the way through No. 3, which puts you near …
(4) The driving range.
By now (mid-to-late morning) some of the better golfers will be out warming up. A good chance to see some golfers up close. (Though this would be way more entertaining if they did the driving range Topgolf style.)
(5) Take a break for lunch.
There are plenty of local restaurants, but don’t overlook the tomato and mozzarella sandwich, which you can find on at the ninth green, the ninth tee and the sixth green. And maybe it’s about time for that first drink of the day. Then find a nice, shady spot and relax. Or you could eat your lunch on …
(6) No. 7 fairway.
It’s worth going over there just to see the massive mansions on the other side of the creek.
(7) Sit behind the green on No. 8.
This is a short par 4 with a little turn at the end, which means some golfers will try to blast their first shot onto the green — always entertaining. And it also opens up the opportunity for short chip-ins for eagles — also entertaining. You can see the whole hole from this spot.
(8) Head to All-American Pub’s spot near No. 13 and the 10th green.
It’s time for another drink (or two), right?
(9) Enjoy the “stadium seating” of No. 17 green.
On the course’s “signature hole,” a hill rises up beside the green so there are many places to get a good view of the golfers hitting over — and sometimes into — the lake as they try to hit this tough peninsula green. This spot and No. 8 are my favorite places on the course.
(10) Relax on the hill beside No. 14.
There’s shade here under the trees, which was necessary last year. But sitting on the hill to the right of the 14th green also gives you a great view of the lake and hole 17 from the other side. This is another short Par 4, so you might see some players get ballsy (pun intended) and go for the green.
(11) About those chairs at 18.
By now the leaders are on the back nine, you’ve seen most of the course and you’re ready to park it in your comfy chair. Head back to 18 — for a scenic route, walk all the way around 15 — and park your butt beside the green to watch the players come in and, if it’s Sunday, to watch the next Wells Fargo Champion be crowned.
See you on the course.
Have other ideas or suggestions? Tweet us @Charlotte_Five.
Photos: Charlotte Observer file. Hole images from the Quail Hollow Hole Descriptions on www.wellsfargochampionship.com.