2014-08-01 10:42 PM
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) -- A hole-by-hole look at Valhalla Golf Club, site of the 96th U.S. PGA Championship from Thursday:
No. 1, 446 yards, par 4: A relatively benign opening hole that bends to the left, though players should be careful not to hit too close to the left side of the fairway and have trees affecting the second shot. Two bunkers have been added since 2000, one on the front right and one toward the back left.
No. 2, 500 yards, par 4: This was a par 5 in 2000. It also is a slight dogleg to the left, with a finger of Floyds Fork bordering the left side of the fairway and a bunker squeezing the right side. The slopes in the green have been softened to accommodate long irons, but the green is relatively small. Two bunkers guard the left side, and anything too wild might find the creek. A new bunker has been added to the right.
No. 3 205 yards, par 3: Floyds Fork winds between the tee and the green, then sweeps around to the right of the green. The green is protected by a large bunker to the left and a smaller bunker to the right. A small portion has been added to the back right for possible hole locations, which likely will be the toughest.
No. 4, 372 yards, par 4: A deep bunker protects the left side and a smaller bunker is on the right. Big hitters might want to challenge the left bunker to leave a flip wedge to the green. Anything over the back could dribble into Floyds Fork.
No. 5, 463 yards, par 4: The right side of the fairway is preferred on this hole that bends gently to the right, although a bunker requires a 290-yard carry, and there are three bunkers on the left. The green in guarded by a bunker on the right and a collection area left of the green. The back right hole location is one of the most difficult on the course.
No. 6, 495 yards, par 4: The green has been moved back 80 yards since 2000, making it a real "bear" -- which happens to be its nickname. The hole is divided by Floyds Fork, and the first challenge is to find the fairway. The second shot will be a long iron to a green guarded by a bunker on the left side and a collection area on the right.
No. 7, 597 yards, par 5: Players will have the option of going left or right on a hole that offers a split fairway. Going to the left will shorten the hole by 50 yards, but the landing area is only 26 yards wide and is surrounded by rough and a water hazard. The safer route is right, although the fairway is tight and lined by bunkers. The water hazard has been expanded to the edge of the green, which likely will be a penalty for anything too far left.
No. 8, 174 yards, par 3: The shortest hole is guarded by a deep bunker in front of the green and a slippery collection area behind it. Another bunker is to the left, with Floyds Fork beyond it, and the green has multiple tiers to make every hole location require precision off the tee.
No. 9, 415 yards, par 4: Three bunkers border the right side of the fairway and two bunkers are on the left. The difficulty of this hole is the uphill approach toward the clubhouse. One of the largest and deepest bunkers on the course is just right of the green.
No. 10, 590 yards, par 4: This can be reached in two, but it requires a well-shaped tee shot on this double dogleg. A right-to-left shot is ideal off the tee, provided it avoids a fairway bunker on the right and rough on the left. A left-to-right shot is needed to reach the green, which is protected by a deep bunker and has two tiers.
No. 11, 210 yards, par 3: This is an uphill par 3 that is guarded by two bunkers in the front that stretch around to the left, and another that guards the back. Anything long will tumble down a hill and make par a difficult chore.
No. 12 467 yards, par 4: The tee shot must be long and straight before the hole drops off toward a green that is elevated. The green has one of the deepest bunkers on the course to the right and thick bluegrass rough to the left.
No. 13, 350 yards, par 4: The signature hole at Valhalla is the shortest par 4 and might be the most exciting. The landing area with an iron is surrounded by six bunkers to the left and a large bunker to the right. The green is built up nearly 20 feet on large boulders and surrounded by water. With tees slightly forward, some might be tempted to reach the green with a long, flawless tee shot.
No. 14, 217 yards, par 3: The longest par 3 features a two-tiered green with a large bunker guarding the front. There are two large bunkers behind the green, one for the lower tier and one for the upper tier, and either will be a tough spot from which to save par.
No. 15, 435 yards, par 4: Brush Run Creek runs down the entire right side of the hole, and the landing zone is framed by a small bunker to the left and a larger bunker to the right. The creek also is in play around the green, which has a bunker to the left.
No. 16, 508 yards, par 4: The creek again guards the right side of the fairway on this slight dogleg to the right, with a tree-covered slope and deep rough on the left. The 17th tee behind the green has been lowered, allowing for a large amphitheater. Two bunkers have been added around the green.
No. 17, 472 yards, par 4: The lowering of the tee makes for a long, uphill tee shot with bunkers squeezing both sides of the fairway. The hole is 50 yards longer than it was for the 2000 U.S. PGA Championship. A collection area and two staggered bunkers guard the green.
No. 18, 542 yards, par 5: The second straight major ends with a par 5. A large bunker protects the left side of the fairway, with a pond down the right side. A decent shot will allow most players to go for the green. The second shot needs to come in high to an elevated green with a bunker guarding the entire front portion. The green has severe sloping that runs from the upper portion to the lower left and right levels.