The PGA in Kentucky: Come for the golf, stay for everything else

Bourbon, Horses & History

by Ben Mackin

Published: March 9, 2024


Every May is a big deal in Kentucky due to the Kentucky Derby. However, May 2024 is set to be a huge month even by Bluegrass standards.


Not only are we celebrating the 150th running of the Derby, but two weeks after that historic event, the best golfers in the world will arrive in Louisville to compete in the PGA Championship. As a result of the world class sporting event, there will be plenty of things to do, not just in Louisville, but in the surrounding region as well.



PGA Championship


The tournament runs from May 13-19 at Vahalla Golf Club. For the avid golf fan, Vahalla needs no introduction. Since 1986 this golf course has been the site of some of the most exciting major tournaments of the last four decades.


This will be the fourth time since 1996 that the PGA Championship has been held at Vahalla, with the last one being 2014 when Rory McIlroy edged Phil Mickelson by one stroke to win. 


The club is located 20 miles east of downtown Louisville and tickets for this year’s tournament are still available for purchase.


          The 18th fairway at Vahalla Golf Club.


Other golf courses and experiences


For those who would like to play a few rounds of golf themselves, the Louisville area alone is home to more than 30 golf courses, public, private and municipal.


Quail Chase Golf Club is just south of Louisville and offers a fun and challenging 27-hole golf experience.  For those interested in the historic aspect of the game should make a tee time at Cherokee Golf Course. Founded in 1895, Cherokees is one of the oldest municipal courses in the country. If you are looking for a pretty view and a round, check out Seneca Golf Course. Located in Seneca Park, the rolling hills offer beautiful views not often found in a city setting.


If you are venturing outside of Louisville, checkout one of the many Kentucky State Park. Not only is the park system celebrating its 100th year of operation, but there are 40 state parks that feature a golf course. My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown is home to a premier 18-hole course and its conveniently located in the Bourbon Capital of the World.


If you don’t have time for a round, there is always Top Golf in Louisville. For those unfamiliar, Top Golf combines a driving range with a full-service sports bar.  Enjoy climate-controlled hitting bays, complete with HDTVs and a full-service bar. Hit a bucket or two at the giant outfield targets and our high-tech balls will score themselves.




Bourbon Experiences


The Urban Bourbon Trail features dozens of distillery tasting rooms such as the Evan Williams Experience in downtown Louisville.



After you get done spectating or playing, why not jump right into a unique Kentucky experience by trying out some bourbon. No matter what direction you go after the tournament, you are bound to find a great bourbon experience nearby.


Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail combines some of the best bourbon that Kentucky has to offer with boundary pushing culinary experiences that will excite your palate and fill your stomach. 


The beauty of the trail is that it has dozens of distilleries and experiences to choose from. There are the tried and true classics such as the Evans Williams Experience, Old Forrester Experience, or the Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery. However, don’t pass up on some of the newer distilleries like Buzzard’s Roost Spirits and Rabbit Hole Distillery that are brining innovation to the world of bourbon.


If you prefer to stay out of the hustle and bustle of downtown Louisville, there plenty of bourbon experiences to be had just outside.


Jeptha Creed Distillery is a woman and family-owned distillery located just seconds off Interstate 64 in neighboring Shelbyville. Whether you are looking for a tasting, tour, or a meal, all the above can be found at Jeptha Creed.



Local Music


From May 17-19, the same weekend as the PGA Championship, the Poor Castle Festival will take place in Louisville’s Breslin Park and it will feature more than 30 local and regional bands throughout the weekend. It will also celebrate local cultural and culinary flavors with local restaurants, artists and small businesses.


Louisville is home to dozens of unique and cool music and arts venues that regularly host regional and nationally touring acts.


From a huge arena like the KFC YUM! Center, which will feature legendary rock bands Heart and Cheap Trick on May 18, to historic theaters such as the Louisville Palace. On May 17 the 95-year-old building will host comedy juggernaut Jerry Seinfeld.



Check out other events happening that week across the bluegrass here, Events & Festivals - Kentucky Tourism - State of Kentucky - Visit Kentucky

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