Quail Hollow was shut down following James Hahn’s win at the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship for requisite pre-PGA Championship doctoring under Tom Fazio’s scalpel.
Golfweek’s Bradley Klein detailed the surgery with far more eloquence and expertise than I can muster here, but a quick sketch of the changes looks like this.
Before the 2016 shutdown, Fazio and company had already worked to move the first and 10th tees, ninth and 18th and greens for more spectator room, as well as strengthen the 14th through 18th holes. They also moved the par-4 16th hole 50 yards to the left.
Since 2016, the greens were regrassed with a new variety of bermudagrass. Predictably, tree work, rebunkering followed.
As Klein writes
“The old first and second holes have been combined into a demanding dogleg right par 4 measuring 524 yards (played as a par 5 for members). The old third and fourth holes were re-sequenced as the second and third holes, then comes a virtual splitting up of the old par-5 fifth into two holes through use of some lateral land.
“The new fourth hole, a 184-yard par 3, calls for a forced carry over three front bunkers. A new fifth hole, a 449-yard par 4, was flipped to the right.”
Interestingly, it seems like some players are less than enthused about the changes to the first hole and fourth green, as ESPN’s Michael Collins found in his latest Caddie Confidential feature.
“Collins: All the players in front of the camera are saying the course (Quail Hollow Club) is fine, but off camera that ain’t what they’re saying. What’s the truth?
“Caddie: I would say most of the guys are not happy with No. 1 or No. 4, to be fair. I would say No. 1 should be played as a par-5. The green was designed to be a par-5 green.
No. 4, I think the green is just too penal. It’s too severe for the length of shot. I think if it was a shorter shot, you’d actually have a third (tee) box for that to be fair.”
Collins then indicated he heard from a Quail Hollow member that there are plans to entirely redo the fourth green.
Now, it’s important to keep in mind that the opinions of the anonymous caddie are not necessarily representative. However, Collins, a former caddie himself, is one of the most plugged in guys out there. If he says this is what the chatter is, you have to be inclined to believe him.
All of this leads to the obvious question: Why has Fazio’s carte blanche doctoring yielded two holes players hate before even facing them in competition?