Rivera - Anyone play there before?

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By JCope

  • 13 Replies
  1. Watching some of the opening round and was wondering if anyone has had the chance to play it. Looks like thinking mans course and not just see how far we can hit it course.

  2. John G

    John G
    Napa, CA

    Yes, I got to play it in October of 2015 and it was amazing. I didn't play my best, but it was a round that I didn't want to end. The greens a small by today's standard, but the caddies help you around a lot. Aside from the course, there is a museum just past the front lobby, and it's cool to sit in the bar and think about all of the people who have probably had a drink in there.
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  3. Dino J

    Dino J
    Burnaby, BC

    Hi ! I think you are right -- Riviera is a more traditional course layout. And, as you mention, a thinking man's course.

    One of the best players ever - especially when it came to course management was Ben Hogan. Many credited Hogan with "inventing" the concept of "course management" and Riviera along with the Colonial in Dallas/Fort Worth were two courses known as "Hogan's Alley".

    I have been reading some books on Hogan and they are in awe of how he approached a very difficult Riviera course to become a perennial winner/favourite in the Los Angeles Open (as it was known then) and of course at the 1948 US Open that was hosted at Riviera. It was at Riviera that Hogan set the US Open record of -8 (276) to win in 1948, setting the records for lowest score and lowest score to par (-8).
  4. I am from Dallas, so I have had the opportunity to play Colonial many times. So if Riviera is like that as far as a "course management" then I can only bet that Riviera is as great. Just watching yesterday it looks like a fun course to play. That number 10 looks tempting for just about all tour plays to go for it in 1 but never pays off.
  5. vurich

    First Tee Box

    hey John, great pic! So glad you enjoyed playing Riviera as it's definitely on my list of dream courses to play. I lived in L.A. for 25 years and never had the pleasure of seeing it, let alone playing it. Best to you!
  6. I was fortunate to play there many times. Great course.... course desinger George C. Thomas also designed Los Angeles Country Clubs north course and Bel-Air CC's. All three are great. Nothing real fancy just good traditional golf holes. My favorite has to be LACC though....
  7. Jason M

    Jason M

    I have played it probably 10 times or so --have a friend who is a member. It is definitely a thinking mans course. You can't just bang away because if you miss in the wrong spot you are going to make double bogey in a hurry. It requires accurate tee shots and the greens are extremely quick. And the kikuyu grass is very difficult -- hard to judge your chip shots.
    Having said all that, if I could only play one course the rest of my life it would be Riviera. The clubhouse, the course, the weather, the history, all create an atmosphere that are just unmatched for me. I have played numerous PGA venues and I'll take Riv over all of them.
  8. Ko I

    Ko I
    Culver City, CA

    I was fortunate to have had a number of opportunities to play Riviera as a guest, and, believe me, the golf course is everything one would expect in a PGA venue. The trees lining the fairways, the Kikuyu grass' effect on greens and the rough, small greens, subtle and not so subtle elevation changes, strong and often cold winds gusting in late afternoons from the Pacific - they all present additional challenges even after playing there more than once. Having a good fore caddies was a big help, especially in reading the greens. Ideal course conditions, excellent facilities and services made playing there a thoroughly enjoyable experience each time. With that in mind, it's easy for a non-private club member like me to feel just how spoiled the tour players are. At the same time, playing there reinforces the great respect I have for just how good they are to put up the scores that they do. LOL
  9. When I was playing the So Cal mini tours back late 90's I was invited to play Riviera. I politely declined stating I wanted to earn my way by qualifying for the at the the time LA Open. Still haven't played there.....
  10. Mark Johnson

    Mark Johnson
    La Quinta, CA

    I have played Riviera twice. Wonderful and fun experience. Very difficult course due to sticky kikuyu grass and grainy greens. Caddy required to read greens. A bit nerve racking on first tee which is located a few feet from the clubhouse as they announce your name and club/town prior to teeing off. My knees were a bit rubbery!! Lots of great golf history.
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  11. Robb N

    Robb N
    Lake Forest, CA

    I have player Riviera several times over my career. It is certainly a masterpiece. I was an apprentice in the PGA then. It is most definitely a thinking mans golf course. While there are a couple of holes you can sort of bomb it on, you still have to play really smart. first time I played Riviera was the day after Hal Sutton won the PGA there (Monday after event) (1983) The greens were lightning fast, poa annua gets that way when cut short, and they hadn't mowed them that day. Hitting 13 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens. Shot 81 with 5 (3) putts but it was worth every minute of it, yes we used caddies. I love the golf course, the thought of walking the same fairways that the greatest of the games players was surreal for me at the time. I have watched many a tournament there, it became almost an annual pilgrimage when I lived in California and was there every year from 1978 until 2016 excluding 7 years, worked in the golf shop there a few times for the Tournament. I do love that golf course, I have known and have the greatest respect for Todd Yoshitake the Director of Golf there for some 30 years. He is a great player in his own right. I also have another friend there Glen Alexakis who is one of Todd's Assistant's, Glen to my knowledge has worked there for near 20+ years himself and If I remember correctly, glen started as a caddie or in the bag room. Great Guys both of them. When Hal Sutton won, He shot 10 Under, no player since Dow Finsterwald (-14) in 1958 had broken double digits under par until Sutton. My Favorite holes are 4, 6, 7, 13, 16, 18, though I so love the entire golf course, it is hard to pick favorites. Playing it from the Tournament Tips is as good as it gets. You have to put it on your bucket list, but you also need to make sure you can find a member to get you access. If you get a chance to play Riviera, between guest fees, caddie fees (gotta have one here just for the experience of it), food, drinks, and maybe a shirt, be prepared, it could be as much as a $1000 for the day. Like I said, it is definitely an item for your bucket list.
  12. John G

    John G
    Napa, CA

    Thanks Titleist for using my picture in your latest email blast. It was fun to hear from friends who are other Team Titleist members who say it.
  13. greg p

    greg p
    Algonquin, IL

    Never played, but I have always thought that Riviera is one of the toughest courses on tour. I'd love to visit it one day just to get a perspective on the elevations, tightness of fairways, and the green speeds/contours. I don't think that TV gives it proper credit.
  14. Bill  V

    Bill V
    Colorado Springs, CO

    Played it back in November of 2003. Great track with a lot of character. if I recall correctly there were a lot of holes that you really had to shape it left to right-and then all of a sudden on he back nine George Thomas threw in a hole that demanded a right to left shaping. Green complexes were awesome-the one difference I noticed was that if I missed a green, up and downs I would have thought to be almost automatic were anything but. One disappointment-the 6th green was closed-they were using a temp green.

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