Valhalla prepares for the PGA Championship


by Whitney Harding

Posted on June 18, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 18 at 6:52 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Past tournaments at Valhalla Golf Club have definitely lived up to the hype. Whether it’s Tiger winning the PGA Championship 14 years ago or the United States incredible Ryder Cup victory in 2008, the golf course definitely provides fans with drama. 

“Valhalla’s got a strong finish,” said PGA Championship tournament director Brett Sterba. “You always want to see people win it, never anybody lose it, and that’s what makes Valhalla great and that’s one of the reasons why they’ve had such great championships.”

The most recent major tournament the course hosted was in 2011 when Louisville welcomed the Senior PGA Championship. Since then, the course has had what officials are calling a face-lift to get it in perfect condition for this year’s PGA Championship in August. 

“The PGA of America spent $5.5 million after the Senior PGA Championship in 2011,” said PGA President Ted Bishop. “We redid all the greens, we put in a SubAir system in the greens, we redid all the bunkers, added a few bunkers and we also put in an irrigation system which allows us to re-grass the rough and irrigate the rough different than the fairways. If you’re going to host a major championship in Louisville in August it’s the key.”

Besides birdies and bogeys there are bills, as in dollars that not only go into making these tournaments great, but also roll in benefiting the city of Louisville as well as Kentucky in general.

"It's going to be millions of dollars of economic impact,” said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. “People from all over the world will be here spending their money in Kentucky which we love." The governor says there are long term effects from hosting the PGA Championship as well that will be felt in more areas than simple dollars and cents. 

“We also use it for economic development,” he explained. “We're going to be bringing a number of CEOs in to be our guests, both from existing companies who are already in Kentucky that we're working to get them to expand. And also folks we're courting to try to get them to move here. So we are going to be creating jobs out of this."

Even though the first golfer hasn’t teed off yet, the tournament is already a financial success. 

"Where we stand with ticket sales is through the roof,” said Sterba. “Number one all time for PGA Championship in history. [It] says a lot about this market, says a lot about how Louisville supports events when they come here."

"Kentucky ought to be very proud,” added Beshear, “because we've got a great course here in Valhalla it's a championship course. And then to be able to pull it off like we do here in Kentucky, I don't think anybody does it any better than us."

And as far as golf courses, there are few in the country that are more picturesque than Louisville’s Valhalla.

"The golf course is immaculate,” said Sterba. “It's in the best condition it's been in for 10-15 years."