Thursday, February 19, 2015

This Week on the PGA Tour: The Riviera Country Club

For as far back as I can remember, there was always something that drew my attention to The Riviera Country Club.

Nicknamed "Hogan's Alley" for the dominance displayed on the course by the legendary Ben Hogan, located just off Sunset Boulevard up the mountain in Pacific Palisades, a suburb of Los Angeles and home to some of Hollywood's elite, there was always something romantic about the course and the club itself.

I dreamed of playing there one day and people laughed at me, even my own family - it did seem so far fetched back then...

In 2007, I found myself heading to Dana Point, California, near San Diego for a business trip. My wife accompanied me and we decided to extend the vacation up the coast a bit to include the L.A. area.

Was getting on Riviera even possible?

At that point, the best golf course I had played might have been The Prince Course at Princeville Resort in Kauai, which I had played a year earlier on my honeymoon. Despite my interest in golf architecture, I had little to no exposure to the great golf courses of the world and almost no contacts of any kind.

After some encouragement from an architect friend, calls were made and the shocking news eventually came in...

I had a tee time at Riviera!

Not only that, but I had the opportunity to spend a few nights staying at the club if I wished.

Oh yes, I think I'd like that!

And that's how I finally realized my dream of playing at the esteemed Riviera Country Club.

COURSE PROFILE:
The Riviera Country Club - Part One (The Club)
The Riviera Country Club - Part Two (Front Nine)
The Riviera Country Club - Part Three (Back Nine)


The gorgeous clubhouse at The Riviera Country Club

Posing the night before my round on the first tee

A great look at the famous 10th hole, as taken from our room in the clubhouse

A glorious look at the 18th hole, looking back toward the tee from the clubhouse

The PGA Tour's 2015 Northern Trust Open starts today so what better time is there to reminisce about my wonderful experience at Riviera?

This George C. Thomas Jr. design is a masterpiece and almost everyone of note would agree with that assessment, as it's constantly ranked as one of the top five tracks on the Tour by the players in addition to being on every single Top 100 list of note.

I've just refreshed by monster, three-part profile of Riviera, cleaning up the text and enlarging all of the photos as well. This was the first truly great golf course I ever played and I think you can easily sense that excitement in my writing at the time!

I hope you enjoy the profiles and also enjoy the tournament this weekend.