Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club adds to its legacy with this week’s Presidents Cup game. The competition pits 12 players from the USA team, led by North Carolina-born Davis Love III, against 12 from the international team (rest of the world excluding Europe), led by 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman of Africa from South.
The the format is match playand the first round is Thursday.
The United States is 11-1-1 all-time and the international team hasn’t won on the road.
Here are nine things to know about venerable host Quail Hollow:
1. AT THE BEGINNING…
On June 3, 1961, the Charlotte News discovered what had been one of the great hidden secrets of the South, built beyond the fences on land that was the old Morrocroft Farm in South Charlotte. The curtain has been drawn on Quail Hollow Club.
Columnist Ronald Green (whose son, Ron Jr., followed him into golf writing) had an early insight and called Quail Hollow a “magnificent golf course that has all the makings for to be great”. According to legend, tee times at the nearby Charlotte Country Club were becoming difficult to obtain, necessitating another top-notch facility in Charlotte’s golf range.
Quail Hollow sits on what was once the largest dairy farm in North Carolina and was named for the abundance of quail that could be found on the property (Quail Hollow club president Johnny Harris, y was hunting). The course was designed by George Cobb and built on 270 acres once owned by Cameron Marsh, who gave it to his daughter, who married James J. Harris, Johnny’s father, who would become one of the founding members of the club.
James Harris was friends with Arnold Palmer and his son Johnny also had a 45-year friendship with Palmer. Johnny Harris was a key figure in the club’s resurgence at the start of this century, executing a long-term plan to improve the golf course and improve the club. (The Harris family legacy at Quail Hollow continues with Johno Harris, Johnny’s son, who serves as 2022 Presidents Cup Chairman as well as Wells Fargo Championship Chairman.)
There was no clubhouse when Quail Hollow opened in 1961, but there was a swimming pool – James Harris’ wife wanted it to be a family club – and just a small golf shop. Cobb was an architect from South Carolina who had completed a nine-hole par-3 course at Augusta National. According to a club historian, Cobb was not in the field for the completion of Quail Hollow; members helped complete the course to prepare it for its opening in 1961.
2. COMPARISONS WITH A NEIGHBOR IN GEORGIA
Quail Hollow is a majestic private facility of approximately 350 members, and features a large, muscular course and some of the tallest and most majestic trees you will ever see. The magnificent southern-style lodge has oak floors, 15 fireplaces, a grand ballroom and a card room for rainy days.
The club loves its traditions and generously salutes its champions. The overall vibe of the property evokes thoughts of a special club a few hours down the road in Georgia, Augusta National. Yet Quail Hollow, in its early days, seemed to avoid early comparisons with Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters since 1934.
Jack Crist Jr., the Greens’ first chairman from Quail Hollow, tried to dispel some myths when the club opened in 1961. He told the Charlotte News that it would have local membership, not national membership, and that it would be self-governing. “Augusta National is the best example to follow in the South in many ways, but we didn’t attempt to make our course another National,” Crist said.
Quail Hollow becomes the fourth US club outside of Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia (1994, 1996, 2000 and 2005) to host the Presidents Cup. The other three: Harding Park Golf Club (San Francisco), Muirfield Village (Dublin, Ohio) and Liberty National Golf Club (Jersey City, NJ). The 2026 Presidents Cup will be played in Medinah, Chicago, and in 2030 the event will be played in Bellerive, St. Louis.
3. MEN AND THEIR ARENA
The opening hole at Quail was once just a gentle handshake, a friendly par 4 that eased a player into a round, but after a thorough overhaul by architect Tom Fazio a few years ago, the Players today begin by essentially playing from the first tee to what used to be the second green. And theater-worthy seating around the 520-plus-yard par-4 opener is sure to bring some nervousness.
“That first hole, you better start your game before you hit it,” Johnny Harris said when the hole debuted ahead of the 2017 PGA Championship, the club’s first major.
For the Presidents Cup, that first tee shot will be hit from the center of a giant horseshoe-shaped stadium enclosure. To get there, players will walk from their respective team areas through a massive two-story compound that will make them feel like they’re back in the glory days of Rome.
The structure is two-story, with room for corporate partners on the ground floor and 2,500 fans in the stands at the top. It will be festive and fun, as always, with spirited support, patriotic costumes and lots of songs for the American and international teams.
“We are going to see a remarkable Presidents Cup,” said PGA TOUR commissioner Jay Monahan. “…I have to tell you, the way Charlotte responded, 500,000 square feet of hospitality space is more than what we have at THE PLAYERS; 40,000 people a day; a first experience of tee like you’ve never seen before…I think we’re going to have a terrific competition.