CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When golf fans head out to the Quail Hollow Club this week, the 2023 Wells Fargo Championship might be unrecognizable from past years.
A new entrance, public grandstands, concession areas and other features make this the largest buildout ever for the competition in Charlotte, according to the man tasked with directing the tournament.
“We are thrilled to be back in Charlotte. Tournament is going to be, what I think, is the best tournament in Wells Fargo Championship history,” said tournament director Gary Sobba.
The Wells Fargo Championship took a break from Charlotte in 2022, as the Quail Hollow Club hosted the 2022 Presidents Cup. Now it’s back, and according to its director, it’s bigger than ever.
“I think we learned from them, and I think they learn from us. One of the things we really liked was their build at the first tee. Kind of U-shaped, you walk in an arena, the players will walk through a tunnel,” Sobba said.
The club is finally free from pandemic crowd restrictions, which Sobba said limited the guest experience in recent years. The club has installed several new features for this year’s tournament.
“We have a new entrance, we have a very large build with grandstands on the back of the build on the range. The come-around first tee is new. We have a lot more grandstands out on the golf course. We have a new grandstand on 12 that overlooks 11, 12 and 13 — that is a fantastic location,” Sobba said.
Included in the new entrance and driving range area is a new Wells Fargo Small Business Market. Nestled between the driving range grandstands and merchandise location, the market gives Wells Fargo-affiliated, local small businesses the opportunity to introduce themselves to thousands of golf fans.
Lauren Grohe will take her family-run small business, The Vintage Goat tap truck, to the more than 30,000 expected daily patrons. She said being invited to participate in this tournament is the result of a more than yearlong effort to introduce herself.
“I first started and actually delivered a little gift basket straight to Quail Hollow trying to introduce our truck and that was over a year ago. So we’ve been trying to get into this event for a really long time,” Grohe said.
She described it as a dream come true for her and her family, as she wants to show her kids they can run their own small business one day.
“The fact that that many people get to see it is just going to be longstanding business for us from here to come. So that part is tremendous,” Grohe added.
The Wells Fargo Championship had a similar area last year, when the tournament was in Maryland, according to Quail Hollow Club staff.
This year’s additions are part of the club’s effort to increase fan areas for both spectating and relaxing, according to Sobba, especially since this year’s event is an elevated PGA Tour stop.
“It’s going to be the strongest field we’ve had since 2007. We’re a designated event, meaning the purse has gone from $9 to $20 million. Means Rory, Matt, Xander, Collin, Tony Finau, the greats are going to be here,” Sobba said.
The Wells Fargo, WM Phoenix Open, RBC Heritage and Travelers Championship are all elevated PGA tour events for 2023.
Sobba said he is expecting 30,000 to 40,000 fans a day at Quail Hollow during the tournament weekend.
Source : Spectrum Local News