Valhalla Golf Club Hole 18

Valhalla Golf Club: A True Championship Course with PGA Pedigree

Our Ohio golf trip was already a mix of high highs, and low lows.

The golf so far, having played Scioto, Muirfield, Village and The Golf Club was excellent.

But I’d suffered a severe bout of food poisoning on day 1, and broke my camera lens on day two.

So, just as I thought we were breaking out of our food poisoning/lens breaking bad luck we woke up to one phone call you NEVER want to get.

You see, the night before, Columbus was hit with an absolute MONSOON.

For a couple hours the roads were flooded, everything was soaked, and frankly, we didn’t think much of it, because the weather was supposed to be great the next day.

But at 7am, we got a phone call from the pro at Double Eagle Club, which was our scheduled round for the day, to inform us that due to the course getting hit with SO much water, we would be unable to come out and play.

This was a true disappointment, because not only is the course supposed to be very good, it’s also one of the hardest tee times to come by in the country.

So here’s to hoping it’ll work out next time.

Now it was time to scramble…

We had to be in Cincinnati early the next morning for our round at Camargo, but we also wanted to get a world class round of golf in – so we began looking at drive times and options.

The first thought was Inverness Club, which is the one club that was high on our list that we wanted to play, but simply couldn’t get that far north.

Considering it would have been a brutal drive back down to Cincy, we ruled that out.

Then we discovered that Louisville is only a 3 hour drive from Columbus – and then only an hour and a half from Cincinnati.

And I bet you can guess what’s in Louisville?

That’s right, Valhalla!

We made a phone call to see if they’d be willing to let us out on the course that afternoon (see this post for strategies on playing private clubs), and luckily they were pretty open and happy to accommodate!

So we set out for Kentucky.

As we’re driving down there, the realization hit me – our VERY FIRST Eighty Club member Jude was a member at Valhalla. He’d been living out of the State, but I figured I’d shoot him a text to see if he was free.

As luck would have it, not only was he in town, but he was excited to come out and join us at the Club.

When we arrived we met Jude and a few of his friends before heading out to hit a few quick balls and then on to the first tee.

Valhalla, ranked #84 in America by Golf Digest for 2019-2020, is a course that was built for major championships. It’s a big, demanding golf course, that to be honest?

I liked more than I expected to.

There’s a lot of variety in the hole designs, and a routing that makes for an enjoyable and beautiful walk.

I LOVED the short par 4, 4th.

Valhalla Hole 4

The approach on 4

I HATED the LONG par 4, 6th. (But that was the only hole I really disliked).

A random connection I have to Valhalla actually came from my wife. Back in 2008 she was designing apparel for Nike Golf, and actually designed the pattern that would go on the uniforms for the US Ryder Cup team.

As a thank you, she received a sterling silver Tiffany’s julep cup that was engraved with a logo featuring the Ryder Cup and Valhalla.

So every year come spring time, I make Mint Juleps in that cup. Now it feels more official since I’ve seen it in person.

As would be the case with most of my rounds on this trip, I started the day strong, before limping in for the finish.

These courses tend to just wear you down with how demanding they are, and it really puts into perspective how mentally tough the tour pros are to be able to handle it week in and week out.

Valhalla also had one of the coolest features I’ve seen at Club yet – their all new man cave.

It features a bar, putting green, and two full simulators that members are free to use at any time.

Playing Bethpage Black over a few cold ones after the round, was one of the more unexpected and enjoyable surprises of the trip.

Photos from Valhalla Golf Club

Approach on 1

Tee shot on the risk/reward par 5, 2nd.

The par 3, 3rd.

The split fairway, par 5, 7th.

Par 3, 8th.

In my travels, I’ve often found my favorite courses are not the ones with the biggest Championship pedigrees. They tend to be long, difficult, and often relatively un-interesting Championship layouts.

This was exactly what I expected Valhalla to be.

But fortunately, I thought the course was scenic, had a fun routing, and a really enjoyable blend of holes. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still going to beat you up, but you’ll have fun in the process 🙂

More from our Ohio (Errr, and Kentucky) Golf Trip

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