The PGA Tour makes a statement with a grand Presidents’ Cup that sets a new standard for revenue and hospitality
The Green Mile Club offers an ultra-VIP experience for 750 ticket holders in a premier hospitality space.pga tour
After more than seven years in the making – a wait spanning three US presidents and extending another year due to the pandemic – the Presidents Cup at Charlotte’s famed Quail Hollow Club is ready for its big shot.
The PGA Tour, which organizes the Presidents Cup, and its stakeholders have gone to great lengths to make this year’s event as grand and as successful as any flagship event in sport. It promises to be a notable achievement for the organization after a tumultuous summer struggling with the Saudi insurgent-backed LIV golf circuit.
When competition between American and international teams begins on Thursday, guests will be greeted at the gates of Quail Hollow by a sprawling temporary city built to host a global event that will be seen in more than 235 countries. This year’s Presidents Cup – the biennial event started in 1994 – is poised to set new benchmarks in many metrics.
Corporate hospitality sales more than doubled by all previous standards in the event’s history, said Geoff Gray, executive committee member and chairman of the organizing committee. As of the end of last week, tickets were sold out for all days except for a small batch remaining for Thursday, with daily crowds reaching 40,000. Charitable contributions are expected to top a record 10.7 million dollars generated in 2017. And the over 500,000 square foot build for the event is approximately 65% larger than any previous Presidents Cup.
The first Presidents Cup in the South East will be of a striking scale. There are over 800 corporate hospitality partners, a 40,000 square foot fan shop and even a 6,500 pound smoker with a floating aroma that is sure to tempt fans.
To capture the scale of what will be unveiled this week, tournament chairman Johno Harris said most golf tournaments have one or two major infrastructure builds. A major event? Two or three, he said. “You could say,” he noted, “we have five or six.”
“The on-site experience, from entry to exit?” asked Presidents Cup executive director Adam Sperling. “There just isn’t a part of the property that’s left untouched for someone. We did everything we could to hit on all cylinders.
Start from the first tee, with a stadium-like environment unlike anything the Presidents Cup has ever built. Golfers will walk through a tunnel – almost like the entrance to a football team – and emerge onto the first tee amid the din. There is hospitality on the first level and above these guests a few thousand other guests will also be listening. Add 2,000 square feet of surrounding video panels and the fans have an exciting, all-encompassing vibe.
But Quail Hollow will also stand out as it will be Charlotte only. A dozen local restaurateurs will be dotted along the route. The flavor of Charlotte’s neighborhoods, NoDa, nestled just behind the green at No. 4, and South End, between the greens at 10 and 14, will be well represented with a range of culinary offerings from these respective communities. Additionally, the tournament worked with ArtPop Street Gallery to identify six artists to commission artwork for use in fan-facing areas of the course.
One of the most attractive areas is the Green Mile Lawn, an open-air space between the 13th and 15th fairways, offering Noble Smoke BBQ and Viva Chicken as well as accessible seating and scoreboards. And some 750 tickets have been sold for what Gray believes is the first ticket on the course, providing exclusive access to the Green Mile Club. “You walk in there and unless you look up you won’t realize you’re in a tent,” Harris said of the ultra-VIP hospitality experience adjacent to 13 and behind the 14.
For a unique view, enthusiasts can walk the edge of the lake adjacent to the 10th fairway, facing the 14th green. Overlooking the lake is The Dock, which allows fans to watch matches from three different holes while enjoying a Tito’s Vodka-branded bar.
There are many more attractive areas, including the 1994 Club, located in the center tee at No 1; the Captains’ Club, located between the first and eighth holes and equipped with a large balcony and a sports bar; and the International Club, located on the club’s back lawn and offering upscale themed food and drink to reflect the international flavor of the event.
On four occasions, organizers have raised – and exceeded – their corporate hospitality sales goals, which doubled what was achieved at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, NJ, the last Presidents Cup in the United States. United in 2017.
Now the bar has been raised overall, the excitement is building and after a very long preparation, Quail Hollow is biding its time. As Gray said, “It’s going to be electric.”