The Golfer's Guide to Kentucky

The Golfer's Guide to Kentucky

  • Rob Bolton
  • 05/7/24

Growing up in a brand-new neighborhood fueled Rob Bolton’s passion for real estate. For 40 years, Rob has helped families find their dream homes, from enthusiastic first-time buyers to empty nesters downsizing. Rob is a REALTOR and specialist with the Building & Remodeling team.


Kentucky is well known for being the cradle of the bourbon and thoroughbred industries, and in 2024 the Bluegrass State is taking on a new title as the nation’s Cradle of Golf… Well, okay, that title probably belongs to Pinehurst, North Carolina. But, for this summer, it feels like the perfect fit.                                                              

The golfing world’s eyes are turning their gaze to Kentucky for some of the year’s most prestigious championships. Top professional and amateur golfers worldwide are descending onto the Bluegrass, Bentgrass, and Zoysia grass for three iconic tournaments.

The PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club
May 13-19, 2024
Louisville, Ky.

It all starts with The PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.

Valhalla plays host to this major championship for the fourth time this year - outranked only by Southern Hills Country Club’s five. Previous winners are Mark Brooks (1996), with a stunning eagle 2 on #15 to force a playoff with Kenny Perry; Tiger Woods (2000) in a spine-tingling three-hole playoff over Bob May; and Rory McIlroy (2014) memorably finishing the 18th hole in near darkness over Phil Mickelson.

Valhalla’s lush and rolling grounds have a storied history steeped with a championship tradition. Designed by all-time major Champion Jack Nicklaus, Valhalla is ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Courses by Golf Digest and a patron’s paradise for great views and opportunities to see the best professional golfers in the world compete close-up.

If you’re coming to The PGA Championship, I recommend you make it a week and add these quintessential Louisville stops to your itinerary.

Churchill Downs
Enjoy a mint julep (or two) and see those phenomenal thoroughbreds run at the home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs. Don’t miss your chance to tour the Kentucky Derby Museum while you are on the grounds!

Bourbon Trail
Explore any one of Kentucky’s world-renowned bourbon distilleries along the Bourbon Trail. Distilleries close to Valhalla include Evan Williams, Bulleit, Buffalo Trace, and Woodford Reserve.

Louisville Slugger
Visit the Hillerich & Bradsby Co., maker of the famous “Louisville Slugger” baseball bat.

Where to Eat & Where to Stay
Enjoy great dining and accommodations, including some of my favorites!

The Kentucky Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club
July 8-14, 2024
Nicholasville, Ky.

Next up this season is The Kentucky Championship, formerly The Barbasol Championship.

This PGA tour stop brings in both notable and fresh upstart pros to compete for a big purse and valuable tour exemptions for inclusion into future major professional events. It is a relaxed environment and a sneaky good tournament.

Hosted at the Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., this provides another chance for locals and visitors to see great golf up close. I encourage you to find your way into nearby Lexington between rounds or off-days and explore Central Kentucky.

Horse Farm Tour
Get a hands-on experience in Kentucky's famed horse country with a guided horse farm tour. With opportunities to visit renowned thoroughbred farms and meet their all-star racehorses, it's a few hours you will never forget.

Bourbon Trail
Explore any one of Kentucky’s world-renowned bourbon distilleries along the Bourbon Trail. Distilleries close to Keene Trace include Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Castle & Key.

Where to Eat & Where to Stay
Enjoy great dining and accommodations, including some of my favorites!

The Southern Amateur Championship at Idle Hour Country Club
July 17-20, 2024
Lexington, Ky.

Finally, set your eyes on the future at the 118th Southern Amateur Championship.

Tomorrow’s professional stars will be on hand to take on Idle Hour’s 100-year-old 7,018-yard par 70 challenge designed by Donald Ross. Hear that, Pinehurst?

Past winners include the likes of Bobby Jones, Ben Crenshaw, Justin Leonard, and Lanny Wadkins.  In 2023, this competition ranked in the world's top three for amateur golf events.  It promises to be intimate, fun golf in its purest form. This young talent will amaze! 

Of course, here are my recommendations for where to play, stay, and eat in your downtime.

Keeneland Racecourse
With its timeless charm, Keeneland offers a quintessential Kentucky experience. This stunning venue is a must-see as a historic landmark for the region and the horse racing industry.

Where to Eat & Where to Stay

So, to you… “Fairways and greens!”  Enjoy your Kentucky summer of golf!


I grew up in a new construction home. We were one of the very first families in this new neighborhood so, as a result, I saw almost every home built. I sat on the dirt piles watching the bulldozers dig new basements and smooth the yards. I loved the smell of new lumber, fresh asphalt, and wet concrete (I may have even left a handprint or two). And of course, I remember meeting new neighbors and making friends.

This is where my 40-year love affair with Central Kentucky residential real estate, particularly new home construction and the celebration of homeownership began. Now it’s my full-time gig. I am consistently inspired by the joy my clients experience, whether it’s a first-time homeowner or empty nesters ready to downsize.

My clients will tell you I call back. I answer questions when I know the answer. When I don’t, I seek one out. They will say I like to laugh, meet them on their terms, treat them fairly, and make this whole big idea of buying a home a good experience.

I’m happy to talk to you about any questions about the region, real estate, or golf! Please get in touch via email at [email protected] or call/text at (859) 221-4545.


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About Us

At Christie’s International Real Estate Bluegrass, we believe that luxury describes an experience. With Central Kentucky’s best REALTORS® and a powerful global platform that offers world-class marketing, industry-leading technology, and international reach, the firm is focused on providing the highest level of service and professionalism to clients at every price point. Celebrating all that the Bluegrass State has to offer, we are excited to speak to you about our full range of services and more. Luxury Lives Here.



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