I'm not sure why Valhalla is rated so low among American courses. I have played the course many times, both before and after the renovations made for the Ryder Cup, and I think it's one of the best of America's modern courses. There are no weak holes (the renovation corrected some mistakes, particularly the par three eighth), and each nine offers a contrast to the other. The best holes, I think, are on the back nine. Number twelve is as good a par four as one can find, a genuine challenge. The fairway is quite wide, but one must drive it a long way to have reasonable chance to hit the green in regulaton. Number 15 is a much underrated par four. Here again, the second shot to a long and noarrow green, bordered by a water hazard on the right and bunkers on the left, is the difficult one. Some complain about the quirky eighteenth, a relatively short par five with the half moon (commode seat?) green. I find it offers even the mid-handicapper a chance at glory, and the pin placement changes the approach considerably from round to round. Valhalla has hosted two exciting PGA Championships and the 2008 Ryder Cup and has done so proudly. It's a great venue and deserves to be ranked among the country's top courses.
Date: February 17, 2009