Ron Green Jr.: From coast to mountains, golf is part of fabric of life in the Carolinas

Rory McIlroy tees off on hole No. 4 during the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am at Quail Hollow Country Club on May 4, 2011. Quail Hollow hosts the 2017 PGA Championship, which begins with practice rounds Aug. 7. Todd Sumlin –

In August, when the Bermuda grass is growing like a  teenager and the summer heat has become a sweaty way of life, the center of golf’s universe will be located at the Quail Hollow Club as it hosts the PGA Championship.

The game should feel at home.

Golf in the Carolinas is part of the fabric of life here. Like the people who play it, the game comes in different sizes and shapes.

It’s played by guys who stow their clubs in the bed of their pickup trucks, by young women with a bag of clubs slung over their shoulders, by youngsters imagining themselves as the next Rickie Fowler, by club members who spend their weekend mornings playing friendly games and by so many others who have felt the game’s undeniable tug.

In the Carolinas, golf is played big and small, at the beaches and in the mountains, at exclusive private clubs and at daily-fee layouts where everyone is welcome.

Other parts of our country justifiably celebrate their golf pedigree. Texas has produced an inordinate number of great players. Up around New York, Philadelphia and Boston, extraordinary clubs and courses dot the map. Florida and California sell golf among other charms.

Here in the Carolinas, it’s just a part of who we are and what we do. That’s why the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow feels right.

Charlotte is accustomed to hosting the game’s best players, having done so off and on for five decades. It’s only right that a major championship lands here.

Golf in the Carolinas is as big and wide as a sunrise over the Atlantic.

It’s Pinehurst, the true heart and soul of American golf. It’s where the U.S. Open is played every decade or so and where players from around the world come to see what course designer Donald Ross did there.

Pinehurst is both timeless and contemporary, busy over the next several months reworking course No. 4, building a short course and a new sprawling putting green, enhancing one of the game’s most revered resorts.

The gallery watches as Martin Kaymer tees off from the 8th tee box at Pinehurst No. 2 during the second round of the U.S. Open on June 13, 2014 in Pinehurst, N.C. Pinehurst No. 2 will host its fourth U.S. Open in 25 years in 2024. Jeff Siner –

It’s golf along the coast. Maybe it’s the Outer Banks with its rugged, windswept landscape or Myrtle Beach, where golf courses are as plentiful as T-shirt shops.

Maybe it’s golf in the Lowcountry, where gators lounge in the sunshine and Spanish moss drips off the live oaks.

In the mountains, golf can offer a respite from the summer heat and spots where you want to take a moment just to look at where you are, smell the air and let the frustration of a double bogey bleed away.

In the big cities and the small towns, golf is never far away. You can take your pick from golf equipment superstores or mom and pop operations. Topgolf, the wildly popular concept that blends golf and nightlife, is opening soon in Charlotte.

Drive the backroads through the Carolina Piedmont and you’re likely to run across a driving range just off the road.

The game has always been about the people who play it and love it. No one has ever suggested golf is for everyone but for the people who have embraced it, it’s more than a game.

It’s shepherded in the Carolinas by devoted souls like Carolinas Golf Association executive director Jack Nance, LPGA Hall of Fame teacher Dana Rader, Bobby Long in Greensboro, Johnny Harris and Mac Everett in Charlotte and a legion of golf professionals who have made golf their career.

The Carolinas has its share of pro golfers – Webb Simpson, Johnson Wagner, Lucas Glover and Harold Varner III to name just a few – but golf professionals do the everyday work of building and nurturing the game and the people who play it.

In the Carolinas, we love our football and basketball, weekends at the beach, the buzz of big-city life in Charlotte and the comforting sense that most of what we want, we can find around here.

Golf is part of that. One of the best parts.

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