Tom Marzolf discusses Quail Hollow ahead of 2017 PGA Championship

Tom Marzolf discusses Quail Hollow ahead of 2017 PGA Championship
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Golf course architect Tom Marzolf has discussed recent work at Quail Hollow Club ahead of this year’s PGA Championship.

In a special Twitter event hosted by the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), Marzolf, a ‎senior design associate at Fazio Golf Course Designers, Inc, and his colleague Blake Bickford, answered questions from golf fans.

Marzolf started by providing some history of the course at Quail Hollow Club, which is located in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“George Cobb, ASGCA, designed course which first opened in 1961,” he said. “We still use the same fairway corridors today. Though the greens are certainly larger.”

Fazio Golf Course Designers have a long and rich history with Quail Hollow, and carried out a renovation of the course in 1996.

“That renovation impacted about 25 per cent of course,” Marzolf said. “For example, the ninth green was within 30 feet of the clubhouse; that’s valuable real estate! So, we moved the golf away a bit from the clubhouse.”

Marzolf explained that the masterplan drawn up for Quail Hollow by Fazio’s firm many years ago is still in use, though updates have been made to greens, grasses and bunkers. 

“In 2016, there was a redesign of four holes following the PGA Tour event; bermudagrass was planted on greens and bunker sand was replaced,” he said. 

When asked whether golfers will be playing on a dramatically different course, Marzolf answered: “Yes, certainly on the front nine. Hole No 1 was lengthened by 100 yards; No 2 was removed completely and the course routing greatly improved.”

When asked about signature holes at Quail Hollow, he said: “The final several holes are known as the ‘Green Mile’. It is a tough way to finish. No 18 has a number of fairway angles, bunker on the right is in play, as is the creek on the left.”

Marzolf added that Champion bermudagrass will keep the greens firm and fast during the 2017 PGA Championship. “Originally, the course was planted with 328 Bermuda; now we use 419 Bermuda,” he said.

A final question was with regards to the masterplan philosophy at Quail Hollow.

“The focus has been on continuing the quality facility that goes back to the days of the Kemper Open PGA Tour event in the 1970s,” Marzolf said. “The club has evolved as the game has evolved to stay current, keeping up with technology and advances in clubs and grasses. The growth of the renewed PGA Tour event has allowed championships to grow.”

Quail Hollow will host the 2017 PGA Championship from 7-13 August. The course will also host the Wells Fargo Championship in 2018, and the Presidents Cup in 2021.