How Can I Play Los Angeles Country Club?
The host venue of the 2023 US Open is one of the best in California, but how easy is it to arrange a round there?
The 2023 US Open will have even more intrigue than usual as it takes place at a venue hosting a Major for the first time.
Los Angeles Country Club was established way back in 1897. Still, despite that long history, and its North Course’s reputation as one of the best in California, it has remained largely closed off to the outside world, with its members keen to retain its exclusivity and privacy - entirely in keeping with its location close to the movie-star mansions of Beverly Hills.
That began to change in 2014 when the USGA opened discussions with the club on the chance of it hosting a future US Open. An agreement was reached a year later – it would host the tournament in 2023.
Two years after that historic announcement, the club hosted the Walker Cup featuring future stars of the game, including Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa and Will Zalatoris.
There have been other memorable tournaments at the club, including the 1930 US Women’s Amateur Golf Championship and five editions of the Los Angeles Open (now the Genesis Invitational) between 1926 and 1940. However, aside from those, the club has remained largely closed to high-profile events.
A precursor to its eventual success was found early on in its history. It began as the nine-hole Windmill Links (which got its name after the clubhouse was built from the bottom of an abandoned windmill) on a far smaller site before its popularity determined a need for a new home just a year later.
Another nine-hole was opened, this time called The Convent Links, for its location behind the convent near Rosedale Cemetery. Once again, though, its popularity ensured it was a short-lived home.
Finally, it moved to its current home – clubhouse and all, which was expanded – and reopened in 1911 as an 18-hole course, with another added later, leaving the North and South Course.
Both courses were redesigned between 1996 and 1997 from a plan developed by John Harbottle, but perhaps the catalyst for the change in approach from the club was a Gil Hanse redesign of the North Course in 2010. Hanse restored the course to something closer to the original George C Thomas design, with advice from Thomas’ biographer George Shackleton. It reopened in October of that year.
Given the club’s long love of privacy, details on the course are relatively sparse. However, the official website confirmed Hanse’s redesign didn’t lack attention to detail, with “archived photos, written documents and physical unearthing of land” all used to bring the North Course back to its original splendour.
Hanse was also at the helm for redesigning the South Course in 2015, in the spirit of Augusta National, with wide fairways and no rough. March 2015 also saw a 16-month-long renovation of its distinctive clubhouse, again to restore its original grandeur. It reopened in August 2016.
The North Course’s front and back nine are markedly different, with the front nine playing over a shallow canyon and the back nine a more spacious affair. Players can expect to find a visually stunning course with plenty of rugged bunkers, small valleys and water with beautifully groomed fairways and greens that are easy to misread.
The greens often have distinctive peninsulas and “wings,” which were part of Thomas’ original design and meant to offer players different ways to play the same hole. Meanwhile, the par 3 11th, which is one of several with stunning views of downtown Los Angeles, is the signature hole.
Experiencing a round at the course is not easy. The club’s reluctance to open its doors to big tournaments extends to non-members, too. Because of that, aside from those in the US Open field, only those willing to pay the reported $300,000 to $500,000 initiation fee (and annual dues of between $20,000 and $30,000), or guests of members, are likely to get the chance any time soon.
Los Angeles Country Club Location
Has Los Angeles Country Club Ever Hosted The US Open?
Los Angeles Country Club will host the US Open for the first time in 2023. That will also mark the first time it has held any Major. The club is known for its privacy and prestige, and in recent years, the only high-profile tournament it has hosted was the 2017 Walker Cup.
How Many Courses Does Los Angeles Country Club Have?
There are two courses at the property – the North Course and South Course. The North Course was redesigned by Gil Hanse in 2010 to return it close to the original design by George C Thomas. Hanse also redesigned the South Course, in 2015, in the spirit of Augusta National.
Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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