Going to the PGA Championship isn’t like going to a Carolina Panthers game, where you can park your butt in one seat with a beer and some nachos and see everything that’s happening all over the field.
At Quail Hollow Club, the action is spread out over acres of majestic greenery with seemingly endless spots to stop and watch the players come through. And unless you’re one of those crazy people trying to fight the crowd and follow Phil Mickelson (PHIL!!) around all 18 holes, you’re not going to see everything so it’s important to pick your viewing spots wisely.
So where should you go for the best views of the tournament, which runs Thursday through Sunday? I got my 10,000 steps in yesterday at Quail Hollow, combing the course to find the five best spots to watch the action.
[Related: An insider’s guide to the PGA Championship.]
Now, obviously, if you have one of those fancy club tickets, you should definitely start there. For everyone else heading to the tournament this weekend, grab your course map and let’s go:
(1) No. 1 tee
This is the obvious first choice. It’s near where you walk in, gives you a chance to see the golfers up close and you can hear each group get announced. And you’ll probably get to see some players try to mash the living daylights out of the ball since this hole was lengthened to 524 yards this year by combining former holes 1 and 2.
(2) No. 18 green
The other obvious choice. Get there early (especially on the weekend) and claim a spot as close as you can to the green of one of the hardest finishing holes on the PGA Tour. Because you want to be there when Jordan Spieth sinks a 24-foot putt to become the youngest player to win a career grand slam. (Hypothetically.)
(3) No. 17 green
This tricky par 3 has always been a favorite of mine, but it’s even better this year with an expanded viewing area along the side of the hole. Sit overlooking the pond and watch the pros try to hit this peninsula green (while secretly the ball splashes into the water). I fully expect this place to be rowdy on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
(4) No. 14 green/fairway
First, this may be the best view on the course. From the hill above the 14th green, you get a sweeping view over the pond and can see all of 17 and the 16th green.
Secondly, at 344 yards this is a drivable Par 4, meaning you might see some golfers go for broke while trying to avoid six bunkers and the water.
(No. 8 is also a drivable Par 4 at 346 yards and has a great tee-to-green viewing area behind the green.)
(5) No. 7 fairway
Go here mostly so you can look at those ridiculous mansions on the other side of the creek. I mean seriously — how can I get adopted into one of those families?
Bonus: Have lunch on No. 13
There are picnic tables along this short Par 3, so sit in the shade and watch the action over a Thai noodle shrimp salad. The stone bridge is a nice touch.
Bonus 2: See the new holes at No. 4 green/No. 5 tee
No. 4 is the short par 3 that was added to make up for old No. 2 being combined with No. 1. If you get a spot near the green side bunker, you can also turn around and see the players tee off from No. 5.
And, for whatever reason, the front nine seems to attract fewer spectators than the back nine, so you might be able to get closer to your favorite golfer.
Now off you go.
Do you have a favorite PGA Championship viewing spot that’s not on this list? Let us know in the comments so we can make sure to check it out this weekend.
Photos: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer; Corey Inscoe; Sallie Funderburk