All eyes are on the City of Angels as the U.S. Open returns to Los Angeles for the first time in 75 years. Last hosted at The Riviera Country Club in 1948, the site of the 123rd U.S. Open championship is located just down the road at Los Angeles Country Club’s North Course (LACC).
With a rich course history and distinctive architecture, Riviera and LACC have become two of the golf world’s most unique and memorable courses. Both originally built in the 1920s by George C. Thomas, along with Bel Air Country Club, the inspiration behind the terrain and classic design of the courses remains relevant to today’s technological advancements in golf equipment. Here are four similarities between Riviera and LACC you can watch for during the 2023 U.S. Open.
Distinctive bunkers both test players’ abilities to navigate daunting obstacles while providing the courses with a signature look. LACC offers chewed edges while Riviera presents deep, artfully sculpted bunkers with top edges towering above the collar. Natural barranca is highlighted throughout the courses, offering a challenging play for golfers.
Riviera’s first hole is among the most iconic in all of golf. But at both Riviera and LACC, Thomas starts the round with a par-5 first hole that allows for scoring opportunities, followed by a demanding, long par-4 second hole that often plays over-par. Together, the first two holes at both courses are known as ‘par four and halfs.”
Amongst the rest of the holes, distinctive par-3s are placed strategically throughout both courses test a player’s tactics and shot making. Placed on holes 4, 6, 14 and 16 at Riviera, the varying greens and calculated placements of bunkers eliminate possibilities for safe shots but rather cause smart plays. Comparatively, LACC offers five par-3s, located on holes 4, 7, 9, 11 and 15.
Thomas created one more similarity between the two courses, the drivable par-4s. At Riviera, the famous 10th hole is a 315-yard drivable par-4 that tests precision and with today’s advancements. The iconic hole has become tantalizing but traitorous. The elevated tee looks out to an extremely narrow green positioned at an angle to the fairway, making it appear smaller than it is, with bunkers guarding the front, back and right of the green. For LACC, the sixth hole is complex. Sitting at 330 yards with an elevated tee and a bunker-guarded narrow green that sits atop a crest, positioned at an angle to the fairway. Driving the green might prove tricky with a blind tee shot to the green that sits to the player’s right.
Decades since Thomas’ creations came to be, the timeless course of LACC and universally admired Riviera continues to hold some of golf’s most memorable moments, including the ones to come. ￼