Talking turf with Tom Fazio

By |  August 12, 2017 0 Comments

The final push to reshape Quail Hollow and get it ready for its major championship debut may have started in May 2016, but the master plan of modifications was struck almost 20 years ago.

“Work has been going on for a long, long time. We started with a long-term plan in the late-90s,” says celebrated architect Tom Fazio, who did an initial redesign of Quail Hollow in 1997. “The long range master plan for refinements and tweaks of the golf course were geared to bring a PGA Tour event to the course, which happened and has been successful for several years. Then the next goal was to have a major championship come which is going to happen with the PGA Championship.”

That last renovation that reshaped multiple holes on the front 9 of the course was always a part of that master plan, according to Fazio. The changes were made to strengthen the holes, to give the maintenance team an easier path around the course and aid gallery flow.

“It’s really a case study on how to put together a whole program for multi-uses,” adds Fazio. “Whether it’s a just a member operations or a regular PGA Tour event or major championship, the course has gone through multiple stages of testing. Now we’re coming up to the real test with a major tournament.”

Another major change at Quail Hollow is the switch on the greens from bentgrass to Champion Ultradwarf bermudagrass, and Fazio gave the change his seal of approval.

“It’s an upgrade on golf courses that used to struggle through those transition times of the summer with the bentgrass. After years of technology and research these grasses give us great putting surfaces basically year round,” says Fazio. “The playing surfaces are outstanding, and it certainly will work well in Charlotte in August.”

With Superintendent Keith Wood in charge of the maintenance of those greens and the rest of the course, Fazio knows the course and the PGA Championship is in good hands.

“Keith is a calm, levelheaded guy who is very professional,” says Fazio. “He has a ton of experience with tournament golf, and knows what the expectations are. It’s not a surprise. He’s good at it. He knows what his job is, he knows how to get the job done, they’re going to have a great venue and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

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