(8/23/06) PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The PGA of America has partnered with golf legend and course designer Jack Nicklaus to make Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., site of some of the most memorable moments in major championship history, into an even more spectator-friendly venue while maintaining its perch as one of America’s finest courses.
The modification program, with construction planned for this summer, will accomplish two goals – to support the golf experience for Valhalla Golf Club members and enable the course to challenge the world’s finest players who will gather Sept. 16-21, 2008, for the 37th Ryder Cup.
“The PGA of America is proud to have Jack Nicklaus join us in elevating Valhalla Golf Club into an unforgettable golf experience for the average golfer and continue its tradition as one of this country’s premier homes of major championship golf,” said PGA of America Chief Executive Officer Joe Steranka. “Valhalla Golf Club has already achieved much attention in its short history, and it will once again be showcased to the world at the 2008 Ryder Cup.”
Nicklaus designed Valhalla Golf Club in 1986, and also competed in PGA Championships contested there in 1996 and 2000, and in the 2004 Senior PGA Championship. Valhalla Golf Club is listed among “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses” by Golf Digest and Golfweek.
“The PGA of America came to me with the question and request: ‘how can we improve Valhalla for the Tour players who will compete here, the members who will play here, and the fans who will come to enjoy our events?’ ” said Nicklaus. “First, I was honored to be invited to consult on how these goals can be achieved. Valhalla is important to me, and I want to be part of The PGA’s commitment to make it the best possible golf course and major championship venue from each of these perspectives.
“We are working together to undertake several significant changes to the course to prepare it for the Ryder Cup and as a championship venue from both modern player and spectator perspectives – the changes to the golf course we have already discussed will enhance both of those experiences. We are also going to make some changes to make the golf course more enjoyable from a member perspective, the people that will be playing there every day.
“In the end, we want the Tour players, fans and members to walk away and say, ‘Wow, that is a great golf course and a great experience’ – worthy as a major championship venue and as one of the premier golf clubs in the country. For me personally, Valhalla is going to be a big part of my legacy to the game and to players for generations after I am gone. I take great pride in Valhalla and want it to be the best it can be.”
The modification program at Valhalla Golf Club will:
- Replace grass on all 18 greens, plus the practice green, with an A1-A4 blend.
- Modify some of the green contours to allow for additional and possibly more exciting hole placements
- Re-construct the greens on Holes No. 6, 10, 11 and 16
- Add additional bunkers on Holes No. 1, 5, 12, 15, 16 and 17
- Create additional spectator pads to accommodate the International Pavilion to the left of Hole No. 10
- Create a new television compound area behind No. 11 tee and No. 15 green.
- Increase the spectator viewing on Nos. 14, 15 and 16, to provide an improved spectator experience.
- Remove significant scrub foliage to allow spectators to be able to move more easily throughout the golf course, particularly on the back nine
- Refurbish and refurnish the existing clubhouse
- Expand the existing spectator bus terminal
Valhalla Golf Club is named after the hall in Norse mythology where the souls of Viking heroes feasted and celebrated with the gods. In present-day major championship golf, the club was the site of Tiger Woods’ stirring three-hole playoff with Bob May in the 2000 PGA Championship; where Hale Irwin won his fourth Senior PGA Championship in 2004; where Mark Brooks won the 1996 PGA Championship via a playoff and where Barry Evans captured the 2002 PGA Professional National Championship.
The PGA of America completed its purchase of Valhalla Golf Club in 2000, following the 82nd PGA Championship. Since 1996, The PGA of America has funded the Dwight Gahm Scholarship for students that complete at least two years in the Louisville Urban Youth Golf Program. The scholarship, named in honor of the original owner of Valhalla Golf Club, is intended for a student who attends or plans to attend the University of Louisville.
Celebrating its 90th anniversary, The PGA of America was founded in 1916, and is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the game of golf while continuing to enhance the standards of the profession. The Association is comprised of more than 28,000 men and women PGA Professionals who are dedicated to growing participation in the game of golf.