Calling Greater Louisville a sports town is like saying fire is a little hot. Sport is as vital in the River City as food and water. The whole region practically shuts down during the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Two-thousand and thirteen has been called the Year of the Cardinal because the University of Louisville’s Men’s Basketball Team won the NCAA Tournament, the football team won the Sugar Bowl, and the women’s basketball team made it to the finals in their post-season tournament.
“Louisville residents take their sports seriously, that’s for sure,” says Chris Hamburger, Head Golf Pro at Valhalla Golf Course, a PGA of America-owned facility. “When I first moved to the city I was surprised at how people embraced their college basketball, and now with the recent success, they are that way with football too. Golf even picked up in recent years. There are very few communities that support a PGA Championship and a Senior PGA the way they do in Louisville.”
“Louisville residents take their sports seriously, that’s for sure.”
– Chris Hamburger, Head Golf Pro at Valhalla Golf Course
Valhalla has hosted the PGA Club Professional Championship, one of the four major tournaments in golf, and the Senior PGA Championship on numerous occasions. Both tournaments return to Louisville in 2014. Valhalla also hosted the 2008 Ryder Cup which saw the United States golf professionals beat their peers from Europe. Hamburger says he hopes Valhalla will one day be as identified with Greater Louisville as Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.
Greater Louisville could be a sports fan’s heaven. There are not many places where one can see baseball, Ironmen competitions, horse racing, and skateboarding within a short drive from one another. The area is littered with sporting venues and there are competitions for all skill levels.
700 Central Ave.
636-4400 or 800-283-3729
Home to the “greatest two minutes in sports,” Churchill Downs continues to do Louisville proud as it hosts the annual running of the Kentucky Derby the first Saturday in May each year. The Kentucky Derby sets the stage (or the track) for quality thoroughbred horse racing in the spring and fall. Numerous special events are also held there throughout the year.
Louisville Bats Baseball Club
401 E. Main St.
Louisville Bats Baseball Club is the Triple A affiliate of the National League’s Cincinnati Reds. The team’s season runs from April through early September, with games held at Louisville Slugger Field. A carousel and children’s playground area make it a wonderful venue to enjoy the game for both adults and kids alike.
University of Louisville Cardinals
Members of the Big East Conference, U of L competes in 21 major men’s and women’s sports. If you plan to catch a football game, remember that tailgating at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium begins early on game day. The men’s and women’s basketball teams play their games in the new KFC Yum! Center.
Major Sporting Venues
Kentucky Expo Center
937 Phillips Ln.
Tickets – 367-5144
Freedom Hall can accommodate about 19,000 people. The multi-purpose facility is also a popular venue for horseback riders and a variety of musicians and performing artists, including ice skaters, wrestlers, circus performers and many others.
KFC Yum! Center
One Arena Plaza
Tickets – 690-9090
The 22,000-seat KFC Yum! Center in Downtown Louisville is home of the University of Louisville’s men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball programs. Additionally, the 700,000-plus square feet facility is designed to host a wide variety of other events including NCAA championships such as wrestling, swimming and volleyball, as well as concerts, circuses, wrestling, gymnastics, boxing and ice shows, among other events.
Louisville Slugger Field
401 E. Main St.
Slugger Field, home of the Louisville Bats features a retro-classic design and has become one of the most admired parks in all of baseball, featuring sweeping views of the Ohio River and downtown Louisville skyline.
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium
2800 S. Floyd St.
south end of UofL campus
Cardinal Tickets – 852-5151
With its state-of-the-art construction and fan-friendly environment, Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium is one of the finest stadiums in the nation. Home to the UofL football program, the $63 million stadium features 42,000 chair-back seats and hosts a variety of events, including soccer matches, conventions and concerts.