The Cost of Copying Augusta
By Stephanie Wei under General

Intern Kevin is back! First of all, he would like to thank Alan Shipnuck for responding to him on the 5th major controversy. Intern Kevin went to Quail Hollow last week to watch Johnson Wagner. He also got to see other Tour luminaries that light up your television, like John Senden, Brian Gay and Chris Tidland, play for way too many holes. I’m shocked (and disappointed) he didn’t return with any fascinating tidbits, but he did some great reporting on the club’s bunkers. Basically, the club wants to be like Augusta National and it costs a lot. But check out the picture below of Phil Mickelson on the 5th hole at Quail — doesn’t the bunkering look strangely familiar? You know, say, any par-5 at Augusta.

Take a gander at Intern Kevin’s report…

For anyone who steps on the grounds at the Quail Hollow Club, it is clear what image the wannabe-Green Jackets (Quail members) are trying to present. Everything about the place seems to be ripped from the pages of Augusta National. The reachable par-5s, lightning fast greens, shaved banks, pine straw strewn trouble areas and genteel southern gentleman, announcing the golfers at the first tee, are all reminiscent of the famous club to the south.

The one area that stands out most is the bunkers — it is impossible to look at the bunkers without thinking of ANGC. After a little research it became clear this was planned. The same firm that re-touches the Augusta property was hired at a cut rate in order to make the Quail Hollow bunkers resemble their more famous neighbors.

The original quote for the job was nearly $1 million, but due to the rough economy, the cost was sliced in half. The same bleached sand was used and an extra layer of sod was laid to create the “double lip.” The board-and-greens staff at Quail Hollow do a wonderful job recreating the Augusta feel.

That being said, it is impossible to force a 5th major when you are working with a “tribute band.” If they could get rid of Monday qualifiers (Billy Mayfair) in the final group on Sunday and celebrity-filled pro-ams, it might be possible to challenge the WGC’s and The Players for this bogus title.

Intern Kevin is an official unofficial intern for Wei Under Par. I’m taking applications. Seriously. A big plus if you’re a college student. We can probably work out a deal that’s favorable to both.

[Photos by Richard Heathcote & Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]