PGA Official Details 'Incredible Sacrifice' Valhalla Members Made For PGA Championship

Valhalla hosts the PGA Championship for the first time in 10 years - and the Louisville course certainly looks the part

Jordan Spieth of the United States plays a shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 16, 2024
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hosting a Major championship is an honour for any golf club - but it can also be a burden for its members. 

The need to have a course primed for the game's very best can often necessitate significant investment as well as plenty of patience from the members who want to use the course all year round. 

Valhalla, hosting its first Major in ten years, has made significant investments in the last decade. Two years ago, the course began a major renovation that included bunker restoration, cosmetic work around the property and changing the property's grass from Bentgrass to Zoysia Grass.

However, the course has also asked its members to make huge sacrifices, as Chief Championships Officer of the PGA of America, Kerry Haigh, revealed before the tournament.

"It’s always extremely exciting for me to come back to Valhalla," he said. "There’s so many great memories that we’ve had here since 1996; all the championships you mentioned. 

"This year, particularly, it's a new golf course almost. John Ballard, the superintendent and his team have done an incredible job in preparing the course. An investment was made two or three years ago to switch the fairways and tees from bentgrass poa to zoysia. 

"And as you can see, the conditioning is just second to none. A big part of that is because of the ownership group, the new ownership group who persuaded or asked the membership to basically not play the golf course since last November, and we are now into May. 

"For any club to do that is an incredible sacrifice. Jimmy is in the audience. I want to thank him and the entire membership for doing that because the proof of the pudding is what you see out there. 

"The work that we have done over the years with the drainage and the quality conditions, just makes it more exciting for me and hopefully for us to prepare this championship for the next four days and I can’t wait for it to start."

The shutting of the course for six months may seem excessive, but preventive measures from courses are certainly not unusual. Clubs hosting the Open Championship often ask their members to hit off fairway mats from the winter before the tournament to ensure world-class conditions during tournament week.

Pre-tournament weather may have dampened Valhalla and made the greens more receptive for the opening round, but the sacrifice made by members should ensure a fiery golf course for the final days if the Louisville weather allows.

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He is now a freelance journalist who also works for The Independent, Metro, UEFA and Stats Perform.