PGA Championship: The Key holes at Valhalla
The 2014 PGA will be played on a course that takes its name from Norse mythology. Valhalla was the Great Hall of Odin, where the bravest warriors who had died in battle lived forever.
Laid out in 1986 by Jack Nicklaus on rolling terrain 20 miles east of Louisville, it is now wholly owned by the PGA of America. It has hosted two PGAs and the 2008 Ryder Cup.
6th THE BEAR, 495 yards, par 4
Revamped ahead of the ’08 Ryder Cup, the green is now 80 yards further back so even a good drive leaves an exacting 200-yard approach over water and sand.
7th PLAYERS PICK, 600 yards par 5
A split fairway allows players to cut over 50 yards off the hole – however this ’island’ landing area is only 24 yards wide. And the approach is over water too…
14th TWO TEARS, 220 yards, par 3
Bunkers have been added at the back of the green, one next to the top tier and one by the lower. A wide trap also awaits at the front of this exacting par 3.
15th ON THE ROCKS
This 435-yard par 4 is one of Valhalla’s most scenic holes with a stream winding down the right.
16th DOWN THE STRETCH
Dreams may well die here. It’s a 510-yard dog-leg and you must avoid the stream, trees, rough and two new bunkers (previously the hole had no sand) by the completely new green complex. Come Sunday, a four will be priceless on the course’s longest two shotter.
17th NO MERCY
The tee box has been lowered by eight feet so this now plays even more uphill… and with 50 extra yards. There is also now a right-hand drive bunker as well as one on the left, so the margin for error is reduced but players will still need driver as it is 475 yards with less roll-out.
18th Gahm over
Named after the man who founded the club (whose surname is pronounced ’game’), there’s a fairway bunker on the left and a pretty water hazard (see above) to the right. A key hole in the Ryder Cup, it offers the opportunity to grasp glory but also the chance to invite disaster.
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