Valhalla Gets Better With out Age

By Links MagazineSeptember 19, 2008, 4:00 pm

valhalla nicklaus statue
With the clubhouse in the background, statues of course architect, Jack Nicklaus (left) and Dwight Gamm, the course founder (right).
Like many impressive courses, Valhalla Golf Club derives from a powerful inspiration. In the dual realms of sports and business, the Gahm family is one of Louisvilles most recognized. Dwight Gahm, 77 years old, built Kitchen Kompact, Inc. into one of the countrys leading manufacturers.
Louisville is home to some fine country clubs, including Big Spring Country Club, site of the 1952 PGA. But in 1981 the Gahms decided it was time to create a golf-only facility, and turned to Jack Nicklaus
Pieced together from two farms and an old Boy Scout camp, the 263-acre site for Valhalla Golf Club was not easy land to work. Two major obstacles presented challenges: A high-tension power line bisected the property, making the routing a complex matter, and at least as troubling was that about half the ground served as a flood plain for a stream, Floyds Fork, that wended its way through the site. A key engineering consideration throughout was to build up greens and tees and to utilize strategic features that would divert occasional floodwaters.
Throughout it all, Gahm was smart enough to leave Nicklaus alone. During one on-site inspection, Nicklaus called him over to solicit some thoughts on the 3rd green. Gahms response was straightforward: Dont tell me how to design kitchen cabinets and I wont tell you how to design golf holes.
What ultimately gave the course its character was the decision to incorporate two distinct terrains into separate nines: The front side flows over low-lying, open ground, while the incoming nine, in marked contrast, is cut through much more heavily wooded and rolling land.
The front nine is routed counterclockwise; the back nine runs the other direction. The course starts with a modest par 4 then offers a teaser of a reachable par 5 alongside an arm of Floyds Fork. At the green on the par-3 erd hole, the course opens up to a broad expanse of low-lying mounds and swales. A good share of the 650,000 cubic yards of earth moving required for the course was undertaken on the first five holes. There are no trees on this parcel, but with each hole brilliantly framed by a mix of fescue, bluegrass and rye, the aesthetic composition is stunning.
What would a modern golf course be without a little razzmatazz? Those in search of signature holes need go no further than the 350-yard, par-4 13th. It tumbles off the front porch of the clubhouse to a bunker-strewn landing area. The 5,000-square-foot putting surface is literally a fortress island, with locally quarried limestone rocks used to create one of golfs most distinctive targets. The legendary warriors who found respite in mythic Valhalla would feel perfectly at home here on this redoubt of a green.
Valhalla ends in a pyrotechnic barrage. The 18th is a 540-yard par 5 that climbs 20 feet from the tee-shot landing area to the putting surface. A creek crosses in front of the tee and is blended into a waterworks down much of the right side of the fairway'until 100 yards short of the green, when it gives way to a second fairway that forces players to select an angle commensurate with the hole location. All manner of wild, long distance chipping and putting here guarantees an exciting finish.
With 70 feet of elevation change on site, the grounds at Valhalla provide lovely views. There are also lovely stands of hardwoods dotting the grounds, including sycamore, oak, locust and walnut trees. Both nines start and end by the clubhouse, and outside the west door is the clubs much-used 12-acre practice facility. Its all part of an intimate fraternity devoted to a single sporting purpose.

by Bradley Klein, LINKS Magazine

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    Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

    By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

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    Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

    “Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

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    “Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

    In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

    “Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

    Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

    “The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

    Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

    “Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to

    Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

    Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

    LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

    Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

    Christina Kim:

    LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

    LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

    LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

    LPGA pro Jennie Lee:

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    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

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    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

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    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

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