For many years, Los Angeles Country has been kept a secret to most the golf community. A truly exclusive club, known for its strict rules on membership and privacy. In 2010, LACC took on a restoration from Gil Hanse and his team, while making slight changes to the original George C. Thomas design. LACC recently opened its doors to the 2017 Walker Cup matches, and will do so again in 2023 for the U.S. Open.
First off, I would like to apologize. I have a lack of photos from my round at LACC, due to a strict no cell phone policy. Our host, made it very clear to start the day that we were not to post any pictures on social media, as recent issues of that had caused problems at the club. Luckily, I grabbed a few photos during the Walker Cup matches.
The vibe around LACC is one that you don’t get at most places. The membership is extremely proud of being a part of the club, as well they should be because it is incredible, but sometimes it’s a little too much, and some instances where you might feel uncomfortable where you are unsure if you’re stepping on toes. LACC is still one of the few clubs that still require slacks only, along with a few other strict member policies.
Stepping onto the first tee, you are just steps away from the incredible, old school clubhouse, which is one of my favorites that I have ever been in. The atmosphere on the first tee is something else, as see you look off in the distance and are surrounded by the skyscrapers of Beverly Hills, and here lays an amazing piece of grass in the middle of it. They say the 2 most expensive pieces of undeveloped land in the world are 1. Central Park in New York, and 2. Los Angeles Country Club in Beverly Hills.
LACC boasts a links style layout. The Walker Cup set up was extremely hard and fast, not to mention long. I expect it will play extremely firm for the pros in the U.S. Open, and it will be a treat to watch. With long par 3’s, risk-reward par 4’s, and reachable par 5’s, it should make for an interesting set up. Going back to a more natural looking layout at LACC was a great choice in my opinion. The course may appear less green or dry in some areas, but I believe the natural look is very pleasing to the eye.
I believe some of George C. Thomas’ best and most memorable holes are his par 3’s. LACC has 5 of them, all of which possess a different feature and length, and 1 of those will go past 300 yards for the U.S. Open. Personally, one of my favorite holes on the property is hole 9. A 181 yard uphill par 3 with the clubhouse standing in the background under the shadows of skyscrapers. Another favorite is the par 3 hole 15, the shortest hole on the course. If I remember right, this hole played just a mere 90 yards in the final round singles matches of the Walker Cup. It can be stretched back to 130, but the short/slim green is surrounded by heather and bunkers, which makes it imperative to hit.
LACC is long, and tough. There is a lot of shaping throughout the fairways, and it’s very important to keep your ball on the right side of those slopes to attack the greens. I’m a big fan or the shared fairways throughout. Being firm and fast, it’s important to give yourself the proper shot into each green. A shot you can either control with spin, or bump and run into the slopes. Using the contours of the greens is so important. Keeping your ball out of the rough is optimal, as it will swallow your ball when it finds it. Hole 17 is probably the tightest hole on the course and standing on the tee it looks like you’re hitting down a hallway. Watching the long hitters in the Walker Cup, they took their tee ball into 2nd fairway to keep safe, as this hole had some of the nastiest rough I’ve seen in tournament play. I watched multiple top amateurs at the Walker Cup not even be able to advance their ball from it. It’s not thick, but very light and thin. Your ball just sinks down to the bottom of it and it makes it very difficult to get any spin or touch on it.
One of my favorite stories shared in our round was that on hole 13, the fence of the property borders up against the Playboy Mansion. Our host told us that it’s always interesting because you never know what you’re going to see or hear from that corner of the property. He recalled times of seeing Giraffe’s lurking up high over the fence, or the sounds of birds squeaking constantly. If only those walls could talk.
The prestige of LACC is something to be impressed by. Through the rise of social media, they have managed to keep their standing and reputation of the club supreme. I was blessed at the opportunity to know a member and experience the first-class hospitality of the club. The members seem to be extremely happy with the restoration, and by opening up their doors to the Walker Cup and U.S. Open, I believe that it is the reason their National Ranking has gone up. I’m excited to watch and see what the USGA has in store in 2023 for the U.S. Open.