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Valhalla Golf Club undergoing renovations

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 9:58 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2021 at 8:34 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s a feeling that hits you every time you pull through the gate. A feeling deep down in your soul. You know what has happened here.

From Mark Brooks beating Kentucky native Kenny Perry in a playoff in 1996. To the epic battle between Tiger Woods and Bob May in 2000 and Rory McElroy’s win in near darkness in 2014.

Not to mention the triumphant Ryder Cup win by Team USA in 2008 and the champagne celebration on the balcony.

PGA Championship magic returns to Valhalla Golf Club in 2024, but not before the course gets a little redo.

The bent grass fairways are being torn up and replaced by zeon zoysia. A grass that requires less water and less chemicals and should thrive in the Ohio Valley climate.

“What we’ll see with the zoysia, particularly in season, we’ll see the golf ball roll a little more, and June, July and August with bent grass, in this transition zone that we’re in, where we get these really hot summers, you really have to keep it wet, so we’d have to keep it very wet in July, August, and the beginning of the September,” Valhalla Golf Club general manager Keith Reese said. “So you wouldn’t get a lot of roll and the ball just really wouldn’t, the golf course wouldn’t play the way it was intended to play.”

The only other course in Kentucky with zeon zoysia fairways is The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green.

“It was a process to really find the grass that we wanted,” Reese added. " We’ve actually had zeon zoysia on property, in portions of our practice facility for about four years, so we’ve really kept a close eye on it. The folks at Olde Stone have been great, we’ve made several visits down there and they’ve had great success with it. Also just recently played golf at TPC Sugarloaf in Atlanta, is another zeon zoysia golf course and it was beautiful. The way it played, the roll that you get, the surface is just fantastic.”

The grass will be used on the fairways and tee boxes at Valhalla, and there could be a few more tweaks before 2024.

“The biggest thing is the golf course for years to come and the members,” Reese said. “I will say that the 2024 PGA Championship sped the process up a little bit because we felt like we needed to go ahead and make this transition. Instead of waiting until after the Championship, we decided to go ahead now so we can get it down, and then we have a couple of years for it to mature and it should be a great surface for the players in May, as well.”

New tee boxes could be added on holes one, 12 and 14 as players continue to increase distance.

The 2024 PGA Championship will be played in May, two weeks after Kentucky Derby 150.

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