CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA | On Thursday morning, moments before the gates opened for the first round of the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Club, the dew was still burning off the fairways and inside the Green Mile Club, the final touches were being made for the approximately 750 guests who would begin arriving shortly.
The Peter Millar pro shop with Green Mile-logoed merchandise was ready for business. Food stations around the perimeter of the lower level were moments from being filled. The indoor-outdoor bar on the main level showcased the premium brands available on the rounded bar.
“Thirty minutes to kickoff,” club president Johnny Harris said upon walking in.
Situated in the midst of Quail Hollow’s famous finishing holes – Nos. 16, 17 and 18, which will play as the 13th, 14th and 15th in the Presidents Cup to assure their inclusion in match play – the Green Mile Club is the most exclusive hospitality venue at an event that is redefining tournament hospitality.
While the price tag doesn’t fit every budget – a weekly ticket for one started in the $6,500 range and dynamic pricing topped out at $15,000 when capacity was achieved – the Green Mile Club offers arguably the best viewing experience in tournament golf.
It is part of what sets Quail Hollow Club apart.
It is modeled after Berckmans Place at Augusta National but with a twist. While Berckmans Place is situated on the edge of Augusta National, the Green Mile Club sits smack dab in the middle of the action, offering sweeping views of four holes situated around the lake that defines Quail Hollow’s back nine.
Stand on the corner of the upper deck looking across toward what will play as the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th holes and it’s like standing on a mountaintop looking down. It’s easy to linger and stare.
The 17th hole at the Players Championship is a stadium unto itself. Amen Corner at Augusta National is the most famous spot in American golf. A ticket to the Green Mile Club is a precious invitation to golf watching at its finest.
“If we’re charging what we’re charging, people want an experience that’s different from anything they’ve experienced before.” – Johno Harris
What began nearly 20 years at the Wells Fargo Championship as “a premium hospitality venue” has grown into an aspirational goal for other events. It is 46,743 square feet of elegance, right down to the teak flooring at the entryway and on the decking outside where guests will gather when matches come their way.
“There aren’t many places like it in professional golf,” said Adam Sperling, who spent the past 4½ years bringing this Presidents Cup to life as its executive director.
The Green Mile Club is a partnership between Quail Hollow and the PGA Tour’s Championship Management group, and it bears the special touches that elevate the club.
It’s not enough to have the circular logo on display: three quail-feathers set to resemble the three holes as seen from above. It’s set as a piece of artwork atop the roof of the bar, visible from the second deck in the atrium-styled club.
It would have been easier to have it painted on, but then it wouldn’t be the Green Mile Club or in the style of Quail Hollow Club.
The Green Mile Club can be described as 46,743 square feet of elegance. (Click on images above to enlarge.)
There are leather couches and chairs in small seating areas, allowing relatively private visits for guests inside. The food service is hidden from view, down to building special stairways to allow workers to move supplies in and out without being seen.
The attention to detail is a point of pride. When someone noticed one of the flowering bushes framing the entrance was sitting slightly differently than the others, a call was made and it was fixed.
The elegance seems effortless, but it is the product of years of experience, a commitment to excellence and the Harris mantra, passed down from Arnold Palmer, of greatness always being under construction.
“What we’re trying to do is to take a product that has always been good and grow from there. We’re always trying to take it to the next level.” – Johno Harris
There are literally hundreds of hospitality spots scattered around Quail Hollow this week and a handful are super-high end including those for global partners Citi, Rolex and Cognizant. What separates the Green Mile Club – aside from its location – is its particular exclusivity.
The Green Mile Club (the club has trademarked “The Green Mile”) isn’t for companies looking to host big groups.
“The first year we did this we had a company call asking to buy 100 tickets. We limited them to four,” Johnny Harris said.
In a city built on banking – Bank of America and Truist are headquartered in uptown Charlotte – the Green Mile Club is open to members who want to upscale their experience and caters to those who want a smaller, more intimate experience with their clients. Or they just want to watch golf like no place else.
The Green Mile Club offers one-of-a-kind views of Quail Hollow’s most famous holes. (Click on images above to enlarge.)
“If we’re charging what we’re charging, people want an experience that’s different from anything they’ve experienced before,” said Harris’ son Johno, the event chairman.
“What we’re trying to do is to take a product that has always been good and grow from there. We’re always trying to take it to the next level.”
The first golfers wouldn’t arrive at the Green Mile until mid-afternoon Thursday, but at 10 a.m., the Presidents Cup was open for business.
Standing on the corner of the upper level looking across at the golf course and, in the distance, a specially constructed dock that can hold 5,000 spectators, Johno Harris did a full turn taking it all in before the crowds arrived.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” he said.
Like no place else.
Top: Quail Hollow’s Green Mile Club offers the most exclusive views in golf. Photos: Ron Green Jr., Global Golf Post
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