Golf

‘Had to take a stand’: Valhalla Golf Club, set to host the 2024 PGA Championship, faces major upheaval ahead of membership termination

The United States is home to some of the oldest golf courses in the world, each forging a deep, subliminal connection with its members. It plays an important role in the history of the course itself, but the problems it creates are just as ominous. From then on, a self-defeating situation arose at the legendary Valhalla Golf Club, which led to many long-standing members resigning from their membership.

Valhalla Golf Club in a spiral sinking

The road to decline began when the PGA of America sold the berth last June. Its most recent owners are a consortium led by Jimmy Kirchdorfer, CEO of ISCO Industries, which has sought to clear debt estimated at $4-5 million.

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The move was initially seen as helpful as the club’s new owners made their intentions clear. “We did not acquire the club with the intention of making money, but to protect and preserve this iconic Louisville property,” an email to members dated October 31, 2022, claims.

via Getty

However, the statement gave the wrong impression in view of the subsequent moves of the new owners. Some of their oldest members have been told to relinquish their rights to an initiation fee refund or lose their membership effective January 1, 2023.

Longtime fans are fighting back against the changes

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The ruling has found critics among the oldest members of the course. John Berry, who claims to have played up to 1,000 rounds on the course since its inception in 1986, hit hard with his disgust at the rules.

“My wife said to me, ‘Just give them the money. You love golf,’” said Berry, a Louisville attorney. “I said, ‘No, it’s not about the money.’ That’s not how you treat anyone. I will not let anyone treat me like this and tremble [their] hand and say, ‘Please, sir, may I have another?'”

The situation was similar to that of a certain Tim Graven who admitted that such insane decisions need to be addressed. “That’s crazy,” he said. “I don’t need the money. I don’t care about the money. I had to stand up to these guys.”

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A particular source claimed that the number of members leaving the club was in the mid-40s. Whether the new owners will change their rules remains to be seen.

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