In 1986 Bob Tway won the PGA Championship tournament but in the city of Louisville for golf enthusiasts Tway wasn’t the biggest name, it was however, businessman Dwight Gahm.
Gahm, in conjunction with his sons, had finally realized a dream. A dream of building a top notch golf course in the Derby City that could serve to house major PGA championships.
Though, ’86 saw the opening of Gahm’s dream it was a few years prior, in 1981, that his quest really started.
Larry Nelson won the 1981 PGA championship in Georgia, after viewing this Gahm decided that the bluegrass state should be able to host its own PGA event. So, he contacted golf legend Jack Nicklaus to design a course in east Louisville that would provide a quality course for pros of all ages.
Nicklaus, known now for his design abilities almost as much as his golf game, obliged and the Valhalla golf course opened. Named after the Norse mythological hall where Vikings and royalty would come to celebrate their conquests, Gahm knew that there was still plenty of work to do, despite upon opening being named one of the three best private golf courses in the U.S.
And, so the Gahms began to petition the PGA and in 1992 the PGA announced officially that the 1996 PGA championship would be played at Valhalla. The event would prove to not only be a victory of tournament champion, Mark Brooks but also for the Gahms who proved the strength of their course.
The PGA was so impressed with the course, that following the tour they took fifty percent ownership of the club. Following four years later the PGA championship returned when Tiger Woods fought off Bob May in the 2000 championship.
Two years later, Valhalla welcomed golfers for the 35th Club Professional Championship, an event won by Barry Evans. 2004 would see the course’s first Senior PGA tour, when Hale Irwin would take home the trophy.
Following this was an American win in the 37th Ryder Cup in 2008. Most recently Tom Watson famously won the 72nd Senior PGA in 2011.
The PGA has also announced that the course will host the 2014 PGA championship.
Image courtesy of Valhalla