Located 20 minutes east of downtown Louisville, Valhalla Golf Club has become one of Jack Nicklaus' most recognizable course designs, thanks to its hosting not only multiple PGA Championships (including the 2000 event won in dramatic fashion by Tiger Woods in a three-hole playoff) but also the 2008 Ryder Cup Matches, which was the last time the U.S. won the event.
Valhalla opened in 1986, but the PGA of America didn't purchase the club outright until after the 2000 PGA Championship. The clubhouse you see today, overlooking the iconic 18th hole, opened in 1996.
Upgrades to Valhalla for the 2014 PGA Championship
Since you last saw Valhalla on TV in 2011, when Tom Watson won the Senior PGA Championship in a playoff, the course has embarked on some "modernization and drainage" enhancements, most notably on the greens. Nicklaus shares a hole-by-hole explanation of Valhalla's design changes at PGA.com.
As for how Nicklaus' design stacks up in the pantheon of the best golf courses in America , Golf Digest has Valhalla in its Top 100 list. In its 2013-2014 ranking it placed it at no. 99, slipping from no. 84 in its last rankings. It has been ranked as high as no. 36 in the country. Four Nicklaus designs are rated higher.
Golf magazine, on the other hand, does not rank it in its Top 100.
Video: Golfing World spotlights Valhalla
So can I book a tee time at Valhalla?
If you're looking to score a tee time at Valhalla, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that Valhalla is a private members club.
But Valhalla's gates aren't as closed as other prestigious private clubs.
In addition to reciprocal and member-invitation rounds, the PGA of America owns Valhalla and gives its members access the tee sheet. PGA Professionals can also recommend golfers from their course -- whether it's a student or a member -- to play here.
Valhalla's Web site also invites golfers who don't have an "in" here to e-mail Head Professional Chris Hamburger (details can be found on Valhalla's guest policy page ).
The Louisville area is chock full of great public golf, however. Fuzzy Zoeller owns two public courses, and great resorts like French Lick are a short drive away.
See this article on " where to play great public golf around Louisville, home of the 2014 PGA Championship " for more on public golf courses offerings.