If North Carolina had an “Ambassador of Golf,” the title would go to Johnny Harris of Charlotte, long one of the state’s most active and most effective golf promoters.
Harris’ list of accomplishments in the industry is long and impressive. Following in the footsteps of his father, James J. Harris, who was a founder of the Quail Hollow Country Club, Harris came by his enthusiasm for the game naturally, and he has worked tirelessly to bring the sport to the forefront.
Harris’ father brought the Kemper Open Tournament to Quail Hollow and his young son was a keen observer of the process. He would use his influence and promotional skills later on to spearhead the Wells Fargo PGA tour event in the Queen City.
The success of that event over the years brought much attention to the area and, at the urging of Harris, the PGA began to look seriously at Charlotte as the site of its annual championship. And it had a tournament chairman in Harris who would oversee the event in 2017.
With the PGA on the books, the next step for Harris was to procure the prestigious President’s Cup. That event is schedule for 2021 at Quail Hollow and will solidify Charlotte as a popular site for major tournaments.
Harris, a University of North Carolina graduate, is an accomplished player and a fierce competitor in addition to his promotional skills. His close friendship with golfing great Arnold Palmer has been a source of pride, and he has relied on that treasured association to help in his quest to boost the sport he loves.
Harris served on the board of the US Open championship in Pinehurst and has led numerous fund raising events for the betterment of the game. He is president of Lincoln Harris, a real estate development and management firm in Charlotte and has been a director of numerous companies and associations throughout his colorful career. He was inducted in 2016.