Valhalla Golf Club has been sold by the PGA of America to a group of investors in Louisville who want to “continue to bring majors to Kentucky, according to new co-owner Jimmy Kirchdorfer. “.
“Valhalla has an amazing history for a 36-year-old club,” said ISCO Industries executive Kirchdorfer. “It’s already hosted a Ryder Cup and three majors. We just thought it was important to bring it back to local ownership. That way, we were in control. We knew people would operate in the best interest of the community. “
Kirchdorfer is a Valhalla board member who joined the club in 2004 and has previously worked with the PGA on events on the field. He was joined by three other well-known local executives: the former Yum! Brands CEO David Novak, Musselman Hotel president Chester Musselman and Junior Bridgeman, a former University of Louisville basketball player who built an entrepreneurial empire after 12 years in the NBA.
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The PGA bought the stadium from ambitious founder Dwight Gahm in 2000 and confirmed the deal in a press release on Wednesday, while Valhalla members are on the sidelines of club general manager Dwight Gahm. Keith Reese was notified via email. The sale is effective immediately, according to Kirchdorfer, who did not disclose the cost of the course.
“Valhalla Golf Club has proven itself to be a terrific test of a golf championship that is both fair and challenging for the world’s top golfers,” PGA President Jim Ritchson wrote in a release. “We look forward to partnering with the new ownership group for the highly anticipated 2024 PGA Championship and working with the new owner to continue to use it as one of our championship venues.”
Valhalla, located on nearly 500 acres in eastern Jefferson County, is “a sign of the community,” Kirchdorfer said. Last year, it was ranked No. 93 on Golf Digest’s “100 Greatest Golf Courses in America” list, the only entry from a bluegrass state, and the only private club owned and operated by the PGA .
Designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus prior to its opening in 1986, the course has hosted three PGA Championships, including Tiger Woods’ famous victory in 2000. It was the site of the 2008 Ryder Cup, which drew sports stars from around the world to Louisville, and will host the PGA Championship again in 2024.
Tournament officials said the 2024 event, which could inject $100 million into the local economy, would not be affected by the sale.
Kirchdorfer, a longtime golf advocate, said he began forming a group to bid on Valhalla after members learned in November that the PGA had approached potential buyers and would accept other offers. All four buyers are long-term members of the club.
He said Valhalla’s status brought value to the community and the ownership group took that into consideration. While some club members raised concerns about a potential rebuild when it went public last year, Kirchdorfer said the 18-hole course was not going anywhere.
Instead, the ownership group will work to highlight “Kentucky hospitality,” he said, and “build on the great traditions and culture that’s already there.” So, it’s good that the relevant club members and others in the Louisville golf community have something for them.
“Valhalla is the crown jewel of Kentucky golf, and we want it to be locally owned like the Gahm family,” Kirchdorfer said. “The Gahm family had an amazing vision, and took a lot of risk, they started a farm and hired Jack Nicklaus to build a golf course, hoping to bring a major golf championship to this community – and they succeeded, a lot Nobody does it.” T.
“We just want to make sure the next owner has the same mission of doing what’s best for Valhalla and the Louisville community.”
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The new owners have a lot of work to do over the next two years before the 2024 PGA Championship, scheduled for May 16-19 of that year. Kirchdorfer said the group planned to invest in the property to ensure it was “a reflection of our community”.
An impressive turnaround for the 2024 championship could send a message to the PGA — it’s committed to promoting the sport with more than 28,000 members — that Louisville is a powerful host for the sport’s biggest moments, Kirch Dover said he served as vice president of the movement. Louisville PGA Championship.
“As we show the level of support this community has for the 24-year-old champion, we’re confident they will continue to bring more champions,” he said.
This story will be updated.
Lucas Aulbach can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, 502-582-4649 or Twitter @LucasAulbach.