A spectator guide to the 2017 PGA Championship at the Quail Valley Club in North Carolina

The Quail Hollow Club is no stranger to playing host to the best players in the world. For the better part of the last 15 years, the private member club has been the site of the Wells Fargo Championship, a popular PGA Tour event conducted in May.

The club also hosted the Kemper Open from 1969 through 1979, the PaineWebber Invitational from 1983 through 1989.This year, however, the Wells Fargo Championship was held on another course, Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, N.C., while Quail Hollow was getting ready for the PGA Championship.

This is the first major championship for Quail Hollow, of course. The dates are Aug. 9-13. Rory McIlroy is considered a betting favorite despite the fact he hasn't won recently due to his stellar record at the course during the Wells Fargo including wins in 2010 and 2015. Jordan Spieth will look to win the career Grand Slam.

Where is the 2017 PGA Championship?

Quail Hollow is in Charlotte, N.C., situated in the scenic Piedmont region of Charlotte in the Quail Hollow development, about 25 minutes south of downtown.

Who designed Quail Hollow?

The course was originally designed by George Cobb in 1961 and renovated by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay in 196. Tom Fazio, however, has done the most renovation work on the course, including 1997 and 2003 as well as a recent round of renovations that ended this year. The came on the first five holes, where Fazio completely reworked each of them, including lengthening the first hole into a par 5 for members (par 4 for the Championship) and building a brand new par 3 and par 4 where the old par-5 fifth used to be.

One aspect of the course, which can play up to 7,600 yards as a par 71, that hasn't changed much recently is the stretch of three finishing holes dubbed "The Green Mile," the three finishing holes, which doesn't exactly add up to a mile, but certainly feels that way for players. It consists of the par-4 16th that plays over 500 yards, the 223-yard par-3 17th, and one of the toughest finishing holes in the golf, the par-4 18th hole that is almost 500 yards. Just ask David Toms, thankfully had a six-stroke lead going into the last hole of the 2003 Wells Fargo Championship when he survived a triple bogey eight.

How do you get tickets to the PGA Championship?

Tickets for the 2017 PGA Championship are sold out, but it doesn't mean you can't still get tickets. There are quite a few available on the secondary market. For example, StubHub is listing daily grounds tickets for the weekend starting at $117 per person.

Also, military personal can get in for free by showing their military I.D. And juniors 17 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult, even if the event is sold is out.

Practice round tickets ($30) for Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 7-8, are still available by going to PGAChampionship.com.
As far as what to wear attending the PGA Championship, golf attire sans golf shoes is certainly appropriate, but you might want to avoid cutoffs and gym clothes. (T-shirts are acceptable.)

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PGA Championship parking: Where do spectators park for Quail Hollow?

Off-site PGA Public parking for the 2017 PGA Championship is only available through advance purchase. Complimentary shuttles are provided at PGA Public lots to transport attendees to the Main Spectator Bus Terminal.

Locals who are driving a Mercedes to the event, though, can contact their local Charlotte area Mercedes-Benz dealers for information about the complimentary parking at a special Mercedes-Benz Loyalty Lot.

For everyone else, public transportation or Uber might be their best bet. Anyone with a valid PGA Championship ticket can ride the CATS LYNX light rail system for free to the Sharon Road West station, where a complimentary shuttle bus will take them to the Main Spectator Bus Terminal on the tournament grounds.

And spectators can take Uber to the PGA Championship. Simply enter 8801 Park Road, Charlotte, NC as the destination in the Uber app and your driver will take you to the designated Uber pick-up/drop-off lot.

What you can and can't bring to the PGA Championship

Bags carried through the gates at Quail Hollow cannot be larger than 10 inches by 10 inches and 10 inches in their natural state. Backpacks and drawstring bags, regardless of size, are not permitted. Mobile phones must be kept on silent or vibrate, and camera flashes should be turned off. Mobile photography and audio/video capturing is permitted in all areas during practice rounds (Monday-Wednesday); however, it is prohibited during Championship Rounds (Thursday-Sunday) anywhere within 100 yards of competition or when requested by players, caddies, marshals, volunteers, security or Championship staff and officials.

How do players qualify for the PGA Championship?

Many don't know this, but the PGA Championship is run by the PGA of America, not the PGA Tour. It's an all-professional event featuring the best tour players from around the world and the best club professionals who are members of the PGA of America.
Tour pros can qualify in a variety of ways. Past winners of the Wanamaker Trophy, and the Senior PGA Champion qualify automatically as do members of the last Ryder Cup (which is also run by the PGA of America) teams and the top 70 on the PGA Tour's money list. In 2016, the field also featured 73 foreign players from 24 different countries among its field of 156 players.

Additionally, the top 20 finishers in the previous PGA Professional National Championship also qualify. These are very good players, but because they have regular jobs in the golf industry (e.g. head professionals and teachers) and don't play for a living, it's difficult for them to make the cut, much less contend.

That hasn't always been the case, though. When the PGA Championship started in 1916, there was no PGA Tour and nearly all the players had club jobs. The Championship was conceived as way to bring notoriety to professionals in a time when amateur golf had much more prestige. As a side note, the format was match play until 1958 when it became stroke play and Dow Finsterwald edged out Billy Casper at Llanerch Country Club in Pennsylvania to win $5,500 in first-place prize money.

Where to play golf around Charlotte

Charlotte has plenty of great golf, both on the private and public side. Here are a few public courses for PGA Championship fans looking to enjoy a round of their own while they're in the area.

Dr. Charles L. Sifford Golf Course at Revolution Park is one of the closest public courses to Quail Hollow and it comes with a history lesson. This was Charlotte’s first municipal golf course. The county did a $1.5 million renovation in 2010 and renamed it in honor of Charlotte native Charlie Sifford, who played the course often while growing up. Sifford went on to become the first African-American golfer on the PGA Tour and the first African-American golfer in the World Golf Hall of Fame. He won twice on the PGA Tour and also captured the 1975 Senior PGA Championship. The First Tee of Charlotte is headquartered at this golf course.

Rocky River Golf Club at Concord is an upscale daily fee course designed by Dan Maples and is part of the Embassy Suites Golf Resort & Spa beside Charlotte Motor Speedway. The course features nice views of the race track from the front nine, while the back nine has more of a woodlands feel.

Verdict Ridge Golf & Country Club is a semiprivate course designed and developed by former Charlotte Mayor Eddie Knox. The name is derived from Knox’s years spent as an attorney. It is hilly course with several good holes, particularly considering Knox had no formal training in golf architecture.

Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation is another semiprivate course, this one designed by prolific architect Tom Jackson, a member of the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame. The challenging layout features lots of woodland-style holes.

Springfield Golf Club, located just south of Charlotte across the South Carolina state line in Fort Mill, is a challenging and well-maintained daily fee course designed by longtime Southeastern designer Clyde Johnston.

Where to eat and hang out near Quail Hollow

Close to Quail Hollow is SouthPark, which is an upscale area with great restaurants and watering holes. SouthPark used to rolling farm land that was developed in the 1960s by former NC Governor Cameron Morrison. Morrison's grandson, Johnny Harris, is now the president of Quail Hollow and the man responsible for bringing the PGA Championship to Charlotte. Harris also played a key role in developing SouthPark. Here are a few places to check out:

Village Tavern: located in the Rotunda Building developed by Johnny Harris, this is an excellent upscale casual restaurant with quality food, a nice drink menu and plenty of opportunities to people watch. Its large veranda is a popular spot for outdoor dining and drinks if the weather is not too hot.

Harper's Restaurant: Longtime Charlotteans know this as a great place in SouthPark to get a good meal and drinks and not bust your budget.

Upstream: A high-end seafood restaurant featuring Pacific Rim cuisine. It is cocated in Phillips Place, which very close to SouthPark and Quail Hollow.

Beef 'n Bottle: Step inside this vintage restaurant off South Boulevard, and you'll swear you're in a scene from Mad Men. Not much has changed as this place since the 1950s, including the amazing cuts of beef and stellar service. Most tourists don't know about this place, but it is so popular among locals that you'll need a reservation.

PGA Championship TV Schedule

The PGA Championship will be broadcast on TNT and CBS Thursday, Aug. 10-Sunday, Aug. 13.

On Thursday and Friday, TNT will provide coverage from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. (All times EDT) CBS will have highlights from 1237 a.m. to 1:01 a.m., hours after the live coverage.

Weekend coverage will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on TNT and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on CBS.

In addition, you can stream live coverage on PGAChampionship.com.

Mike Bailey is a former Golf Advisor senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. He has also been on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
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A spectator guide to the 2017 PGA Championship at the Quail Valley Club in North Carolina