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Survey has Quail Hollow 14th of 52 PGA courses

When Golf World magazine released its player rankings of the courses used on the PGA Tour, Quail Hollow Club was 14th of the 52 courses included.

The poll was based on anonymous responses from 81 PGA Tour players who were asked to talk about what they like and don't like about various courses.

Compiled by Geoff Shackelford and Craig Dolch, Quail Hollow's mini-review read this way: "The 'pretty' and 'solid' host to nine tour events that landed the 2017 PGA Championship 'fits your eye' and is 'overrated but the best overall tournament on tour.' Another player agreed that Quail Hollow's 'hype' is 'influenced by service, conditioning and aesthetics' and 'it's not as great as the CBS drones say.'

"The reasoning? 'So-so course on great land.' Another feels a change is in order. 'Should be a 9, actually a 6. Bring in Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw or Gil Hanse and in six months it'll be a 9.' Players raved about the 'top-notch conditioning' but said the greens are 'too severe in spots.'

"Said one: 'Not sure who to blame for that but I'm guessing (Tom) Fazio,' architect of changes to George Cobb's 1961 original layout. 'Jim Nantz is always saying they could host the U.S. Open the next day ... not even close,' said a player who cited the 'goofy eighth hole' and the 'stupid' 17th green where 'the best players in the world are trying to miss it to the right and get it up and down.'

"And 2017 is already in their sights: 'Can't believe the PGA is going there in August.' "

No great surprises there. The eighth and 17th holes aren't popular with many players, members included, and both are likely to look different by the time the PGA Championship is played there.

Is Quail Hollow ranked too low? Personally, I'd have it a few spots higher. I've seen most of the courses ranked higher but not all of them. It's tough to quibble with the top six on the list.

But it's a subjective ranking, that's all it is.

When you consider the list of Wells Fargo Championship winners - from Vijay Singh to Tiger Woods to Rory McIlroy - the pedigree of champions speaks to the quality of the course.

Every course takes its shots, even top-ranked Augusta National, which drew tons of praise but also was criticized for its fairway bunkers being too deep and, according to one player's description, "the course is too gimmicky."

Quail Hollow Club President Johnny Harris said he has called Golf World editors in hopes of getting all the confidential comments players made in hopes of improving the course. Ironically, Fazio was in Charlotte last week discussing possible changes to the layout, an appointment made before the Golf World poll was released.

"We welcome all comments," Harris said. "Sometimes they may be things you don't want to hear, but we want to know what players are thinking so we can try to improve our course."

Harris also said it was "interesting that year in and year out we've had we've one of the best fields of any tour stop other than the majors and there were people who didn't care for the course. We appreciate anybody's comments, and we're sorry that some haven't enjoyed the experience because so many guys have."

When Phil Mickleson complained about Quail Hollow's greens in 2010, Harris said he welcomed comments and input from players, eventually sitting down with Mickelson in California to talk about the greens. Despite his pointed critique of Quail Hollow's heavily contoured greens, Mickelson has been among the event's biggest supporters.

There are plans to make several changes at Quail Hollow before the 2017 PGA Championship. In addition to putting in Bermuda greens and subtly softening the contours on some putting surfaces, the par-4 eighth hole will be tweaked and there are plans to reshape the 16th and 17th holes.

"We've known we have to modify many of our greens because we're going to Bermuda. We think we have 10 or 11 greens now that can handle the change from bent to Bermuda but the others will need to be modified," Harris said.

It's possible the eighth and 12th greens might be modified after the Wells Fargo Championship in May, Harris said.

Down the road, the par-4 16th will become more of a dogleg to the left with the green perched on the edge of the lake, and the par-3 17th tournament tee would move toward where the 16th green now sits and the green would be redesigned.

"We know how (the pros) feel about No. 17," Harris said. "We plan to change the angle of attack and make everyone feel better about the hole. It may not be as severe as it is now, but it will still be a great hole."

As for the future of the Wells Fargo Championship beyond 2014 when the contract expires that question remains unanswered.

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