Dick Wilson (1959)/Paul Erath (R. 1964)/Arnold Palmer & Ed Seay (R. 1988)/Arnold Palmer, Ed Seay & Erik Larsen (R. 2002)/Thad Layton (2011)
We were reminded, after the death of Arnold Palmer in 2016, that Laurel Valley was founded by a group that included Palmer, who lived a few miles from the site. In fact, the group tried to persuade Arnie to quit the PGA Tour and become the club's head professional and manager. Palmer reportedly mulled over the prospect for a time before rejecting it. Imagine how different the PGA Tour would have been had Arnie not become the dashing head of Arnie's Army in the early 1960s. Considered by some to be Dick Wilson's consummate design, Laurel Valley was, due to Arnie's influence, selected as the site of the 1965 PGA Championship just a few years after it opened. Palmer was the odds-on favorite to win, but was so burdened with other duties that he played poorly, tying for 33rd place.
100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1966. Highest ranking: No. 22, 1989-1990. Previous ranking: No. 92
“Views of the rolling hills of Western PA are breathtaking. Fantastic Shot Values, requiring your utmost attention and the need to think on every shot, from tee to green.”
“The bunkering, particularly the fairway bunkering, provides individuality to each hole and an overall continuity. Only knock is that each par 3 lacks some variety -- each requiring a long iron.”
“Too many trees that seem to serve no purpose. Many holes have potentially beautiful views taken away by pine trees that have no role in the play of the hole.”
“A very difficult, but mostly fair, test for the scratch player from the back tees. I found Hole #9 to be a little unfair as a 480-yard, uphill par 4 into the wind, but the rest of the course was fair, but quite stern.”
“One of the premier golf meccas in the country. The clubhouse is grand, as is the Palmer house, which adds to the ambiance. Everything was top-notch in every way.”