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Course Rankings

Valhalla Golf Club

April 28, 2021

Stephen Szurlej

93. Valhalla Golf Club

Jack Nicklaus (1987)

Given a difficult piece of land on which to create Valhalla (half the site was floodplain, with high-tension power poles), Jack Nicklaus drew on his training under Pete Dye and Desmond Muirhead to produce a unique design, with an alternate fairway par 5, a par 4 with an island green and an 18th green shaped like a horseshoe. Over the decades, Nicklaus returned periodically to update its challenges. Valhalla has proven to be a great championship site. It has hosted three thrilling PGA Championships, the latest Rory McIlroy’s win in 2014, and will host a fourth in 2024.

100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1993. Highest ranking: No. 36, 1993-1994. Previous ranking: No. 84

Watch Golf Digest’s latest “Every Hole At” course videos below:

Panelist comments:
“Almost a linksish-type feel on the front 9 with trees lining the exterior of the course, but most of the trouble lies within the course with water and heather. The feel changes a bit on the back nine with more tree lined fairways and traditional rough.”

“There is a good variety of short/long holes, right to left, and uphill/downhill. The par 3s are all challenging. They are all fairly long, well bunkered, with tough green complexes with plenty of opportunities for difficult pins.”

“Meandering creek used very effectively on many holes to add difficulty and risk/reward situations. The course primarily relies on its length and hazard placement to challenge players. Rough is thick and lush and is certainly at least a half shot penalty on average.”

“Demands control of your golf ball. These raised, sloped Nicklaus greens are extremely difficult to navigate. Your tee ball is critical -- good look trying to score if you're not in the fairway.”

“This Kentucky countryside property is charming with its rolling hills and creek cutting through. A proper setting for championship golf.”

Stephen Szurlej

Stephen Szurlej

Stephen Szurlej