By Neville Leck Last updated: 10th February 2014
The Riviera Country Club, which is located in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles and is host this week to the US PGA Tour's Northern Trust Open, is the home of one of the most famous championship courses in America.
A private club where guests can only play with a member, Riviera can also boast of having one of the world's most highly regarded tennis clubs, a high-tech fitness centre, a championship swimming pool, and high-class accommodation and wining and dining facilities.
Pacific Palisades, where the Riviera CC is located, has, for many years, been the corporate, artistic and cultural Mecca of the West coast and it's Hollywood stars.
It nestles in the Santa Monica Mountains between Malibu and Brentwood, the Club's proximity to the coastline affording clean air and gentle breezes.
Though just a block South of busy Sunset Boulevard, its residential setting promotes both solitude and community.
The club opened in 1926, with the then prominent George C. Thomas, Jr. as the course architect and today has a par 71 layout made up of bent grass greens and kikuyu fairways and has been the primary host for the PGA Tour's Nissan Open, previously known as the Los Angeles Open, and more recently as the Northern Trust Open.
Riviera also hosted the US Open in 1948, the PGA Championship in 1983 and 1995, and the US Senior Open in 1998.
When the course opened in 1926, it was known as the Los Angeles Athletic Club Golf Course and cost a total of $243,827.63 to build.
It has been redesigned a few times, most notably in 1992 when Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore redesigned the bunkers to return them to the state they were in when the course originally opened.
The club prospered in the 1930s and 1940s when it also had an equestrian centre and polo club.
Indeed, at the time, the Riviera Polo Club was the most popular and extensive in Southern California, hosting the polo events in the 1932 Summer Olympic Games.
The movie Pat and Mike, starring Katharine Hepburn and Babe Zaharias, was filmed at Riviera as was "The Caddy", starring Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, with a cameo appearance by Ben Hogan.
"Follow the Sun" with Glenn Ford and Anne Baxter was also filmed there..
The club has had many famous members, some of them being Glen Campbell, Vic Damone, Peter Falk, Dean Martin, Gregory Peck, Walt Disney, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford.
Riviera has long been known within golfing circles as "Hogan's Alley", a nickname bestowed upon it by three-time Masters champion Jimmy Demaret after Hogan won the 1947 and 1948 Los Angeles Opens and the 1948 US Open at the Club within an 18 month span.
Other notable winners at Riviera include Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Hale Irwin, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Ben Crenshaw, Mark Calcavecchia, Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Mike Weir and Phil Mickelson.
Hogan's 1948 US Open, the first event to be played West of the Mississippi, would be followed in turn by the 1983 PGA Championship (won by Hal Sutton by one shot from Jack Nicklaus), the 1995 PGA Championship (won by Steve Elkington from Colin Montgomerie in a playoff), and the 1998 US Senior Open (won by Hale Irwin), has provided Riviera with a championship legacy matched by only a few .
Charles Howell III won the 2007 Nissan Open in a sudden death playoff against Phil Mickelson but the left-handed World No 2 made amends last year when taking victory in the first edition of the Northern Trust Open.
Its most notable holes include number 10, a driveable par four that yields birdies and double bogeys with equal swiftness, and a massive par four at number 15 that plays directly into the ocean breeze.
The monumental par five 17th hole measures 578 yards, is all uphill, and the finishing hole is a world-famous 454-yard par four that plays to an elevated fairway, then requires a long second shot to a narrow green.
The green is surrounded by a natural ampitheatre, providing a commanding view of the Clubhouse.
Riviera, as it is today, is seen as being one of golf's few genuine classics, with a course layout virtually unaltered, yet every bit as testing as it was on the day it was opened.
Listed prominently in every recognized domestic and international course rating, its combination of layout, history, proven excellence as a major tournament venue and its prominent position in the nation's second largest market indeed make Riviera one of the world's great tournament sites.
The course is a par 71 that is 6,950 yards from the back tees (lengthened to 7,078 yards for Tour play), 6,505 yards from the middle tees, and 5,844 yards from the forward tees.
The men's slope ratings are 74.3/139 and 71.9/130 for the back and middle tees, respectively.
The ladies' slope rating is 74.7/137 for the forward tees.
The course record for competitive play is a 10-under par 61, shot by Ted Tryba in 1999.
OTHER GOLF FACILITES includes:
- an outstanding Pro-shop offering online sales
- practice facilities that include a driving range and practice greens and short-game areas
TOUR OF THE COURSE
For a tour of the Riviera Country Club Course click here.
HOLE BY HOLE
The first hole is a short par 5, is an easy one. The tee is elevated 75 feet above the fairway, tempting players to hit driver, but out of bounds on the left side makes players think twice. Scores range from eagle to double bogey.
The second holeis a long par four that plays uphill and into the prevailing wind. It is rated the hardest on the course.
The third hole is a medium-length par four that also plays into the wind.
The fourth hole is a long par three, which Hogan called the "Best par three in America".
The fifth hole, a par four, plays into the wind and is almost on the side of the hill.
The sixth hole, a par three, is world-famous for having a bunker in the middle of the green. If a player is on the wrong side of the green, he or she will have to make a tough decision to either putt around or chip over the bunker.
The seventh holeThe fairway at the this hole, a par four, is difficult to hit.
The eighth hole, a long par four, has two fairways separated by a dry wash.
The ninth hole, a long par four, is known for its well-placed fairway bunkers.
The 10th hole is a really short par four known as a risk-reward hole. Longer hitters can try to drive the green, but an accurate drive will be needed as several bunkers surround the green.
The eleventh hole is a long par five where eucalyptus trees and barranca come into play.
The twelfth hole is a long par four, often into the wind, that plays to a narrow green surrounded by bunkers and trees. One tree, Bogey's Tree, is named after Humphrey Bogart.
The thirteenth hole is a tough driving hole, with out-of-bounds on the left side and eucalyptus on the right side.
The fourteenth is an easy par three with the largest green on the golf course, but the green is multi-tiered, making putting difficult.
The fifteenth hole is a dogleg par four to the right that features the largest green on the golf course, but the green is two-tiered, so one must make sure that his or her ball is on the proper tier. This hole plays into the breeze of the Pacific Ocean and it is a pivotal hole in the tournament.
The sixteenth hole is the last par three on the course and can yield birdies, however players will need to hit the small green that it surrounded by bunkers.
The seventeenth hole is a long, uphill par five that is the longest hole on the golf course.
The eighteenthis a world-famous par four. The tee shot is blind, and the ball must find the fairway to have any chance of reaching the green, which is surrounded by a natural amphitheatre with a beautiful view of the clubhouse.
- Guests must play the course with a member.
- For the dress code, denim is not allowed; Bermuda shorts are acceptable and a collared shirt is a must.
TENNIS CLUB The Riviera Tennis Club has a well-deserved, world class reputation that boasts an outstanding membership and is a haven for social tennis and championship professionals alike.
Members find an outstanding array of programming, ranging from Junior Holiday camps to competitive Senior tournaments, a variety of clinics, inter-club matches, club mixers and special events.
Riviera provides private, semi-private and group lessons by USPTA or USPTR teaching professionals to members and invited guests only.
However, the club's Junior Development Program, including its Junior Holiday Camp and Winter Development Program, are open to the public.
GUEST ROOMS: The Clubhouse offers 30 guest rooms which preserve the charm and refinement of the 1920's, while offering full modern amenities. Each is elegantly decorated, providing a unique alternative to standard Los Angeles accommodations.
TO CONTACT REVIERA:
1250 Capri Drive,
Tel 310 454 6591
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