Trust LA

Riviera C.C. 18th Hole:

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Our 'Featured Hole' of the week from this week's Northern Trust Los Angeles Open golf tournament on the PGA Tour is from the great course designed in by George C. Thomas in 1927 which he later described as his 'masterpiece'.  Thomas also designed courses back east in his native Philadelphia as well as in Massachusetts.  His other famous California courses include Bel Air CC., Los Angeles CC., Ojai Valley Inn Golf course, La Cumbre C.C., the Red Hill Golf Club, as well as the famous Griffith Park Municipal Golf Course in Los Angeles.  Although she's been lengthened where ever they could to accommodate today's playing professionals this great old tract is very much the same design as Thomas and his partner here Billy Bell had in mind some 80 or so years ago.  Many of the golf holes at the Nissan Open are defined by the canyon walls and great and large eucalyptus trees and classic style of bunkering which frames many of the holes here.  Home to many Los Angeles Open's past, as well as a couple of majors, Riviera Country Club is still understandably one of the favorites that many PGA Tour players like to play on tour. 

Our Featured Hole of the week is the famous 448 yard par 4 18th hole from the Riviera Country Club and this weeks  Northern Trust Open golf tournament on the PGA Tour.

This tough par four finishing hole has been extended an additional 25 yards for this years LA Open making the hole now 472 yards.

Here is a picture (left) of the tee shot view up the hill.  The correct tee shot target is just over the left side of the 'knob' on the hill's horizon which is just to the right of the palm trees you see in the picture down the left side of the hole.

If you hit it down the right side with a fairway sloping left to right in the landing area, you will most likely then have to play a cut shot around the big eucalyptus trees there on the right.

Here's a look (picture right) of the second shot view into the green of this great par 4 finishing hole.

Here you get a good look at how the fairway slopes left to right here from the natural tilt off the canyon wall (to your left in pix)

You can see the clubhouse in the distance (original) and how the canyon and eucalyptus trees help to 'frame' the hole.

Often at the time of year that the L.A. Open is played the wind will be chilly off the Pacific and at your back here, helping you to gain distance especially if it's playing 'hard and fast' that week.

G. C. Thomas has quite a few holes which are left to right in design and a lot of those par fours are tougher with that westerly Pacific wind instead in the players face.

Here's a view (picture left) from just in front of the cross bunkering which begins at about 100 yards into the green and ends at about 80 or so yards.

Though this type of cross bunkering was more in play years ago when the golf ball didn't travel as far and the game was played more 'along the ground', they still serve to sit on the players visual 'horizon' when looking into the green from the second shot view.

As well, this horizontal style of bunkering helps to 'frame' the hole by positioning the lips of the bunkers on the horizon both on the second shot as well as on many of the tee shots and is one of the famous characteristics of the designers of the '20's like Thomas and Bell, Donald Ross, Tillinghast, and Crump. 

And this technique has a duel application by playing with your depth perception thereby causing a green or tee shot play to look either farther than it is or closer than it actually is.
Here's a view (picture right) into the green from just past that bunkering.  Here you see a rather simple looking flat green which sits a bit up and into the canyon wall framed by the massive 'Spanish motif' designed clubhouse.

The canyon also serves to create a natural amphitheatre for the gallery here particularly on Sunday.

It is still possible to 'run' a shot into this green as golf was originally played when Thomas built the course.  Today's designers would most certainly have put some sort of bunkering around the green.  Instead, this might stand as the only finishing hole on the PGA Tour that does not have any green side bunkers and yet still remains a great golf hole.

Here's a view (last picture left) from behind the green looking back down the hole.  You get a good look here at how much you need you tee shot to be down the left side (right side in pix), in order to have the proper angle into the second shot here.

Notice how the bunkering left is almost invisible on the horizon to the short left of the green.  This is a Scottish influence in the design and was done in reverse on a lot of the links courses in Scotland.

The green is 31 yards deep and fairly narrow.  That hillside between the two firs and the green is mostly Kukuya grass there in the rough and very difficult to play a sloping away chip should you miss you second shot there.
Sundays pin is often cut close to the left side expressly for that reason.

Click Here to -Take a look at our new virtual tour of more pictures of Riviera Country Club and the 2012 Northern Trust Los Angeles Open!

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