Here's your sneak peek inside the PGA Championship VIP experience at Valhalla Golf Club (2024)

The 106th PGA Championship has descended on Louisville, and for some spectators at Valhalla Golf Club, the tournament comes with an opportunity to live it up like a VIP.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Lounge and additional VIP Experience is located at the hole 11 green, offering unrestricted views of the entire 211-yard, par three hole and partial views of the hole 15 green.

The two-story lounge is packed with amenities and exclusive offerings. Chase Sapphire is no stranger to hosting fun events. This is the brand's 10th consecutive PGA Championship, and this summer branded lounges and VIP experiences can be found at Sundance Film Festival, music festivals, the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, and just last week at the F1 Miami Grand Prix Race Week.

"Year over year we see our cardmembers excited to enjoy the perks they have at the championship, and we’re thrilled to expand our presence this year — quite literally — increasing the size of our Sapphire Reserve Lounge and offering premium event packages for cardmembers," said Tara Bakhle, head of marketing at Chase Sapphire.

So, how do you get into one of the most exclusive spots at the PGA Championship? Show your Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card to gain entry. Cardholders can also boost their experience to include even more features by purchasing an additional VIP Experience package.

Ryan and Jessica Dozier, who are Louisville locals, came out to the PGA Championship to "see some of golf's greatest," noting they saw Tiger Woods twice already this week. They decided to take advantage of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Lounge, calling it a nice, secluded and private area where they can post up as they watch golfers.

"Louisville does big events well," Ryan said, adding that luxury venues such as this lounge bring an additional layer of fun and excitement to the event for fans.

While you may not have access to this illustrious lounge, don't worry. The Courier Journal will take you behind the scenes. Here's five sneak peeks into the Chase Sapphire Reserve Lounge and VIP Experience package.

Upgraded food and drink options

PGA Championship tickets are considered all-inclusive, granting all visitors unlimited access to one entree, one snack and one non-alcoholic beverage per each entry into a concession venue. The standard menu carries items including beef hot dogs, bratwurst, a vegan option inBeyond Burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches and cheeseburgers, The Courier Journal previously reported.

In the land of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Lounge, waiters serve visitors from an hors d'oeuvres menu that includes a hot brown, fried green tomatoes, ham croquettes, bourbon deviled eggs, beef tenderloin crostini and a beer cheese and pretzel option.

But the food upgrades don't stop there. On both floors of the lounge guests will find a mini buffet boasting dessert varieties, freshly popped popcorn with a toppings bar, cookies, chips and more. Each morning of the tournament, the lounge is converted into a cafe offering grab-and-go coffee beverages, a Chase spokesperson said.

Throughout the lounge, large fridges can be seen stocked full of drinks including water, Pepsi products and Starbucks espresso drinks. There is also a self-serve coffee and tea bar available all day.

The lounge also features two cash bars, which had seen roughly 80 patrons by 10 a.m. According to one bartender, the most popular co*cktail ordered from the lounge menu is the PGA Transfusion. Other co*cktails for sale include the Elijah Craig Mulligan, a Chase Sapphire New York and the lounge exclusive, a Wannamaker Mule. The waiter service and patio bars offer complimentary beer and wine along with non-alcoholic beverages.

Bourbon tastings

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While Elijah Craig Bourbon is hosting a speakeasy off hole 14, each day from 2-3 p.m. in the Chase Sapphire Reserve Lounge, visitors will be able to get a private bourbon tasting of three different bottles including the Small Batch, Straight Rye and Toasted Barrel.

Ivan Bailen, a Louisville local who has been to every PGA event at Valhalla since 2000 (except the 2008 Ryder Cup) was second in line, eagerly awaiting the bourbon tasting Thursday.

Bailen, who had promised his friends with general admission tickets he would exit the lounge and meet up with them but had repeatedly failed to do so throughout the day, said "I love this." He said the lounge was great for him this time out to Valhalla since he is older now and has a bit more difficulty getting around these days.

"Having a place to sit, watch players go through, enjoy food, friendly people and great bourbon tastings ... it's great," he said.

Free gifts, activities

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Upon entry to the lounge, guests are immediately greeted by a large piece of locally made artwork, a Chase spokesperson said. The art wall is manned by an employee who will freely take polaroid photos of guests as well as photos on your phone.

The lounge also comes with some technology amenities such as free Wi-Fi while inside and access to free phone chargers. Chase Sapphire is also providing free radio kits with complimentary play-by-plays at the 10th fairway. Throughout the lounge there are a variety of TVs set up and programmed to the livestream of the championship, allowing guests to chill inside and keep up with the action on the course.

As a special treat for lounge guests, on Friday, the Wannamaker Trophy will make an appearance, and visitors will have the opportunity to take a picture with the iconic trophy.

The lounge will offer its VIP Experience guests a special custom gift each day too. Thursday's gift was a Derby City golf towel with images of bourbon barrels, baseball bats and jockey silks. A Chase spokesperson said another gift they plan to offer is a custom copper mule mug that guests can have engraved with initials, a name or other short things. Other gifts include a leather golf pouch and sling bags.

Reserved seating

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For those Sapphire Reserve cardmembers who purchased the VIP Experience package, they also have access to reserved, roped-off seating. The seats are just a few yards away from the putting green at hole 11 and offer a comfortable mesh feel and dual cupholders.

Air conditioning and private restrooms

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Whether it's warm with a high near 80 degrees like the first day of championship play Thursday was or if there's a chance of showers, which is expected over the weekend, the lounge offers covered seating on the patio and an indoor, air-conditioned space on both floors.

One of the best-kept secrets of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Lounge is the private, air-conditioned restrooms. Rather than porta-potties, the lounge features full size stalls, flushing toilets and a dual vanity handwashing station.

Contact business reporter Olivia Evans at oevans@courier-journal.com or on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter at @oliviamevans_.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: A sneak peek at PGA Championship VIP experience at Valhalla Golf Club

Here's your sneak peek inside the PGA Championship VIP experience at Valhalla Golf Club (2024)
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