Charlotte native goes from caddy to biggest golf dealership

David Cook has spent more than 20 years on the PGA Tour, offering concessions on courses around the world. He says it all started in Quail Hollow.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Quail Hollow Club has hosted some of golf’s biggest events, and a Charlotte native credits the course with opening the door to a lucrative business opportunity that helped him break down barriers in the process.

David Cook is no stranger to the golf world. And he shouldn’t be, having spent more than two decades around the sport.

“I just finished my 17th Wells Fargo golf tournament and my fifth Ryder Cup, my 24th PGA Championship, ninth US Open tournament and 113th regular golf tournament,” Cook said.

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Like thousands of others, Cook is in town for the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow. But for him, this week is about more than just golf.

“Quail Hollow welcomed me with open arms and said that if you come and are able to do the job and are competitive, we will hire you,” he recalled.

Cook started working for the country club years ago as a caddy, using the money he earned to help support his family.

“I come from a large family, eight children,” Cook said. “Get out of here, go to the supermarket and buy a bag of potatoes, a loaf of bread and a chicken and that’s how we ate for a few days.”

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He eventually started his own business, Grupo Americana. It is already considered one of the biggest sports event dealers in the world. His company provides catering and food services for almost every major sport.

“Most of the larger stands we manage, equip and help manage,” Cook said. “We do a high volume.”

When Cook started, he says it wasn’t common to see black faces on the course.

“The only minority people were mowing the lawn, cleaning the bathroom and washing dishes,” Cook said. “That’s what made me so prominent.”

He says the depiction on the golf course with his food stall did not go unnoticed.

“Pete McDaniel of Golfer’s Digest brought Tiger Woods’ mom and dad to my booth in New Jersey,” said Cook. “He told them, ‘We have a black company here running their own business.’ From then on, they came to my booth all the time and it made them feel good.”

Cook now travels the world sharing his food and breaking barriers in the process. The Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow is Cook’s third tournament in six weeks.

Contact Carolyn Bruck at cbruck@wcnc.com and follow her Facebook, twitter and Instagram.

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