After over 3 weeks on the road, including a fairly demanding trek in Alaska, we were weary to the bone when we landed at Riviera on Sunday night.
Michael R. had again thought ahead and booked us in to stay at Riviera , which is always a pleasure...
We again scored the Ben Hogan room (217) overlooking the first hole, and all was well with the world!
Monday morning an odd thing happened - Heather decided she was too tired to play golf and opted to stay in bed.
In over 30 years I have never known her to miss out on anything- I guess that was an indication of just how exhausted we were!
I had a really strange start to the day
First I found that Riviera sort of shuts down in many respects on Mondays, and no breakfast was available
And my back, which had been getting increasingly sore in days prior, decided this morning that turning just wasn't an option- so golf was going to be a challenge...
Michael had set us up to play with Dick Z, Chairman of the Greens Committee at Riviera, and font of all knowledge regarding the history of the course.
He was delightful company, and we basically talked golf architecture for 4 hours.
Dick told me how George Thomas liked to start his courses with back to back par 5's and that Riviera had later made the 2nd into a long 4, which they have been making longer to cater for the professionals .
After cruising down the first hole, I found the green-side kikuyu on hole 2 and made a meal of it!
I took a couple of flop shots too many to move the small distance required to the green surface.
The greens were perfect!
Although they are poa annua, they are remarkably true and quick.
On hole 3, I again found the kike, and things became farcical when the caddie lost my sand wedge!
Given that I had opted to travel with less than a full set, it became quite a challenge to flop the ball out of the kike, or play a delicate bunker shot with a pitching wedge.
Seve I ain't!
Dick explained that when George Thomas originally designed Riviera that the course was hard'n'fast- and had a reputation for being so .
However the polo club next door in the valley brought in kikuyu, and it gradually spread from next door all over the course .
I must say that although I am not a great fan of kike, the better player should be able to adapt..
And it is kinda fun to play the short game with so different types of shots required .
Riviera has gained a reputation of being one of the better courses in the world.
It is an outstanding example of 'golden age' golf architecture with a number of quite unique holes- some which are particularly strategic
Each year the LA Open is held at Riviera, but it sounds like it is unlikely to host a major again anytime soon.
It seems the ever growing demand for corporate space, and parking etc has outgrown this wonderful site, near Hollywood in LA.
It certainly is a super championship course.
The only US Open held there (in 1948) was won by Ben Hogan, and the last major- the 1995 US PGA- was won by another great ball striker- Steve Elkington
The course has undergone some change in recent decades.
I particularly liked the restoration work out the back of the course, bringing the water course into play and bringing decision making to the fore .
Riviera is known to have some classic holes- the short par four 10th is as good as it gets strategically, and the par three 6th with the bunker in the middle of the green is also well known.
But there are no weak holes, and I like both the routing and the tempo of the course- the way the round ebbs and flows, and moves between hard par 4's and potential birdie holes
Riviera is a classic course and one any serious student of the game should aspire to take in .
If you do get the chance to play Riviera take all of your wedges, practice your flop shot, and don't turn up on Monday!
You will not get breakfast and some holes will be out of play
Holes 6 and 10 have alternate greens which are played on Mondays...
You just never know who you are going to bump into at Riviera!
On my most recent visit we saw Barack Obama on the first tee and Mark Wahlberg played through on the sixth!
Riviera CC is a private members club, and as such is not generally available to members of the public.
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