Architect Name – George C. Thomas, Jr./William P. Bell, ASGCA
Greens Grass Type – Kikuyu Grass
Regulation Length Holes – 18
About This Course
The Riviera Country Club is a country club with a championship golf course. It is located in Pacific Palisades, California, within the city limits of Los Angeles, California. The country club opened in 1926, with George C. Thomas, Jr. as the course architect. The course has been the primary host for the PGA Tour's Northern Trust Open (better known as the Los Angeles Open). Riviera has also hosted the U.S. Open in 1948, the PGA Championship in 1983 and 1995, and the U.S. Senior Open in 1998. The course is located in the Santa Monica Canyon, just below the Santa Monica Mountains and a block south of Sunset Boulevard.
When the country club and course opened in 1926, it was known as the Los Angeles Athletic Club Golf Course. Dr. Alister MacKenzie and Billy Bell helped Thomas in the design and planning of the course. They were in charge of assembling a labor force to build the course from scratch in the Santa Monica Canyon. In 1927 dollars, the entire country club and golf course cost $243,827.63 to build.
It hosted the dressage equestrian and the riding part of the modern pentathlon events for the1932 Summer Olympics. The course has been redesigned a few times, most notably in 1992 when Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore redesigned the bunkers to look like they did when the course opened.
The course is well-known for Ben Hogan, and the course has been called "Hogan's Alley". In the 1940s, Hogan won the Los Angeles Open three times and finished second once. Other notable winners at Riviera include Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Hale Irwin, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Ben Crenshaw, Mark Calcavecchia, Fred Couples, Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Mike Weir, and Phil Mickelson. Hogan also won the 1948 U.S. Open at Riviera, and Irwin also won the 1998 U.S. Senior Open. Hal Sutton won the 1983 PGA, and Steve Elkington won the 1995 PGA.
More recent winners at Riviera include Rory Sabbatini, who won the 2006 Nissan Open and Charles Howell III, who won the 2007 Nissan Open in a sudden death playoff against Phil Mickelson. In the 2008 Northern Trust Open, Mickelson hung on for a two shot win over Jeff Quinney to win for the first time at Riviera. This win gave Mickelson at least one win in every West Coast Swing event.
Riviera has played host to the 1948 U.S. Open, 1983 and 1995 PGA Championships and the 1998 U.S. Senior Open.
Riviera is consistently ranked as one of the top courses in the U.S. and the World by Golf Magazine's panel of experts.
This landmark club in Pacific Palisades has been the home course for many celebrities over the years. The current home of the Northern Trust Open, the Riviera has hosted three major championships: the 1948 U.S. Open, won by Ben Hogan; the 1983 PGA Championship, won by Hal Sutton; and the 1995 PGA Championship, won by Steve Elkington.
In 1992, the greens and bunkers were renovated by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore in an attempt to restore them to their original design. The course is a constant presence in GOLF Magazine's rankings of the Top 100 Courses in the U.S. and the World. For more information go to therivieracountryclub.com.
In his article, My Fab 5, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher Mike Bender says Riviera is one of his all-time favorite courses.
"Like almost every other golfer, I've always been fascinated by Ben Hogan, and The Hawk won so often on this course it seemed like he owned the place. In 1988 I played in the L.A. Open at Riviera with Hal Sutton, who'd previously won a PGA Championship on the course. Shooting a lower score than he did meant a lot to me."