VALHALLA GOLF COURSE FUNTO PLAY
By Scott A. Sumner
After watching the 2008 Ryder Cup in which the US Team took back the cup it a real treat to be able to play the Valhalla Golf Club course on a beautiful sunny afternoon November 7th, 2008.
The process of developing the course was started in 1978 by the Dwight Gahn family who owned the land and were all avid golfers. Including in the Gahn family were three sons- Walt, Gordie and Phil, all avid golfers. There was 400 acres of land available with the golf course ending up on 265 acres with some additional land around it.“ Walt played football at Purdue with Bob Griese and they met Jack Nicklaus who they wanted to have design Valhalla. The mid 80’s was the second golden age of golf with so many great courses built then. The course opened for play in 1986. Jack won the Masters in April of that year and opened Valhalla in June 1986,” stated Mike Montague, GM of Valhalla Golf Club. “ We held the 2008 Ryder Cup and previously the 1996 PGA, 2000 PGA and the Senior PGA in 2004. Today Valhalla is a private club with 265 local members. You can play the course by applying through a PGA professional if you live outside of a 100 mile radius of Louisville. The PGA pro will call us and go through a written procedure. It is on a limited basis but we can make most requests. We do about 18,000 rounds a year.”
“ The best months for play are April through October. December, January and February are for the hardy souls but we play all year. The PGA of America owns the course. We also own PGA Golf Course and PGA Country club in St. Lucia Florida and the PGA Learning Centre
there as well. The PGA also have involvement in Nevada in a project called Coyote Springs which is a huge real estate and golf project NW of Las Vegas,” said Montague. “The PGA of America were responsible for the Ryder Cup. This years event was fabulous. It couldn’t have
gone any better. We had Hurricane Ike hit the tournament area and the golf course the Sunday before rather than in the middle of the event so all things considered it was great. On the golf course from Sunday evening to Monday morning we had over 2000 man hours cleaning
up, a fair amount the work. Ticket sales were 40,000 a day and totally sold out. There were 5 or 6 requests for every ticket so it was a lottery. It was great for everyone. The European team, the American team, the Valhalla club, the city, the state. Everyone had a great time.”
“ I love the variety of the course with the front nine being more Scottish links in style and the back nine a more traditional wooded course. There are great elevation changes. It is just a lot of fun to play. You have different skill levels and everyone can enjoy it from the different tees. We were one of the best new courses when we opened and are best in state each year. At the end of the day the best accolades are from the guys who have played the course a lot.”
The Valhalla Golf Club proved to be a great course for me to play. My caddie Barry and I had the course almost to ourselves and I particularly liked the back nine where I got a birdie and several pars. It was fun to see the holes I had watched the pros play on TV during the Ryder Cup. I have always been a Jack Nicklaus design fan and find his courses a great test of your game. After a slow start this 12 handicap golfer shot 95, which I was happy to achieve on one
of Jacks courses! You really must play Valhalla, so ask your PGA professional to apply and you will have a great day of golf!