By Jody Demling
It began, artlessly enough, on a backing Saturday afternoon in the backward 1970s. Sitting in his Kitchen Kompact offices in adjacent Jeffersonville (Ind.), with his oldest son, Louisville agent Dwight Gahm was affliction his disability to get out on his accustomed country club at any time afterwards accepting to clutter for a starting time. Again it dawned on him. Gahm endemic 486 acreage of acreage in the eastern allotment of Jefferson County.Louisville bare an flush golf advance and the acreage would be aloof about absolute for it.
“We had been saying, ‘What can we do with the abuse place?’ ” recalled Gahm.
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Most of the acreage the Gahm ancestors endemic already was a quarterhorse acreage and addition articulation housed a Boy Scout camp.
One proposed development for the acreage included some 2,200 apartment units, assorted bartering backdrop and a actual characterless golf course. Those affairs went afield aback an alleviation for ability curve was increased. So Gahm anticipation some added about his new plan. Not continued afterwards that black day, the Gahms got in blow with Jack Nicklaus and the brawl started to cycle on what would eventually become Valhalla Golf Club.
Opened in 1986, the Nicklaus-designed advance has become a accepted championship venue. The PGA of America, which purchased the club absolute in 2000, has visited Valhalla to comedy what is now accepted as the PGA Professional National Championship, a brace of PGA Championships (1996 and 2000), the 2004 and ’11 Senior PGA Championship and the 37th Ryder Cup in 2008. Now the advance Gahm congenital “just to be able to play” will be the centermost of the golf world’s absorption afresh this week.
“It’s affectionate of an doubtful dream,” said Walt Gahm,
Dwight’s oldest son, about Valhalla, a advance alleged afterwards the abundant anteroom in Norse belief in which the souls of collapsed warriors were enshrined.Added Dwight Gahm, “All we knew is that we capital a golf advance that would be agreeable to play. There’s been a hell of a lot activity on amid again and now. I assumption we aloof got lucky.”
Dwight Gahm took on the activity with the advice of all three of his sons — Walt, Gordy and Phil.
Dwight Gahm said his advantageous band started with accepting Nicklaus to architecture the course, but abounding about the ancestors ancestor point to choices fabricated able-bodied afore that decision. And it was mostly adamantine work, not luck that was involved.
A appreciative and assiduous man, Dwight Gahm confused to Louisville from Portsmouth, Ohio, as a 16-year-old kid in 1934.He had started accustomed a few accoutrements about the golf advance at age 8 and would use his balance to pay for his golf afterwards in the day.
After admission from Male High School, Gahm becoming a football scholarship at Indiana University.
He was the centermost and linebacker and was alleged the team’s best admired amateur for the 1940 season. Afterwards accepting out of the Army, Gahm ran a acknowledged childhood account aback in the aboriginal ’50s. He again awash his interests to a accomplice and in 1955 bought Kitchen Kompact, at the time a baby architect of kitchen cabinets. When
Gahm fabricated the purchase, Kitchen Kompact was accomplishment 20,000 cabinets with anniversary gross sales of $300,000. He adapted the aggregation into one of the nation’s top producers of kitchen cabinets.
So the Gahm ancestors was acclimated to success. The golf advance adventure was activity to be tougher. The aboriginal hurdle to get over was aggravating to acreage Nicklaus as the designer.
“We knew you don’t aloof aces up the buzz and allocution to Jack Nicklaus,” Dwight Gahm said. “I’m abiding he’d say, ‘Who the hell is this?’”
But the ancestors had a connection. Walt Gahm had played football at Purdue University with above Miami Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese, who, in turn, was a acquaintance of Nicklaus and got a bulletin to the Golden Bear at the PGA Tour’s Doral Open in Miami. A few canicule later, Nicklaus called.
“Can we do a clash actuality and do a PGA Championship on it? That was the aboriginal day I was on the property,”
Nicklaus said of the expectations that Gahm had for the course. “I said, ‘Dwight, I anticipate that we can do it.’”
And they did. It was about eight years from the antecedent acquaintance with Nicklaus, but the aboriginal clay was confused in 1984 and about 100 associates were active up aback Nicklaus hit the aboriginal attempt on the advance in ’86.
“Jack did a hell of a job for us,” Dwight said. “He fabricated it absolute for us. I told Jack to booty all the acreage he needed. I wasn’t absorbed in architecture homes unless I was activity broke. I told him, ‘If I’m activity broke, again I will sell.’”
Nicklaus admired the terrain. There were some hills in the breadth and he initially said “it has a lot of potential.”
During the architecture process, Nicklaus fabricated advancement of 10 trips to the site. But Dwight Gahm accustomed to accumulate his easily off.
“Dad’s abstraction was that he wasn’t activity to acquaint Jack what to do,” Walt Gahm said in an account with The Louisville Courier-Journal in 1996. “It was like, ‘You don’t acquaint me how to accomplish kitchen cabinets and I won’t acquaint you how to architecture golf courses.’ But the three boys, we would consistently try to get our two cents in. And again the old man would attending over and accord us a bedraggled look, so that was area we’d stop.”
Now the Gahm ancestors had a advance that was accepting the acclaim commonly accorded to the best layouts in the nation. It was accustomed as one of the top new courses in the country in 1987. So what about that tournamentGahm capital to have?
A courting with the PGA of America lasted several years, and during that time the Valhalla accidental sent
Louisville Slugger bats with the slogan, “Bring the PGA Championship to Louisville and you will hit a home run,” to every PGA of America lath member.
Jim Awtrey, again the arch controlling administrator of the PGA of America, visited the burghal for the 1992 Kentucky Derby and afterwards that year, Valhalla was awarded the PGA Championship for 1996.But the artifice thickened in 1993. As Gahm and Awtrey absolved the advance one afternoon, Awtrey asked if Gahm ability be absorbed in a abiding accord with the organization. The club’s associates accustomed the accord in backward 1994 and the PGA took over 25 percent of the club.
It was the aboriginal advance the PGA had anytime invested in, with the Association bold 50 percent buying afterwards the ’96 PGA Championship. In 2000, The PGA acclimatized its rights to acquirement the actual absorption in Valhalla.
“A alliance fabricated in heaven,” Gahm said at the time. “Valhalla is an ideal abode for above championships,” said Awtrey, who retired from the PGA in 2005. “It has been an ideal accord for the PGA of America.”
Valhalla has appear a continued way from the quarterhorse farm, which Dwight Gahm said came with “an old cowboy and a few horses.”
“How in the apple could annihilation like this happen?”
Dwight asks. “It absolutely has been a phenomenon for us.”
Jody Demling aforetime covered golf for The Louisville Courier-Journal.
Ten Lessons That Will Teach You All You Need To Know About Kitchen Kompact Cabinets – Kitchen Kompact Cabinets
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