Riviera Country Club Review, Pacific Palisades, California

Riviera Country Club Review, Pacific Palisades, California

by danperry on January 30, 2008

in Golf Course Reviews

I had the pleasure of playing the Riviera Country Club in the Spring of 2006, and let me say, it was everything I hoped it would be.

I arrived earlier than my friends (a threesome), and spent some time in the pro shop, meeting the people who worked there, who were very open and friendly. Bought more than I probably should have, but when am I going to get this opportunity again? Lots of presents for friends and family.

My friends showed up, and we hit the range prior to our round. We used caddies to “get the full effect”. For those of you who have never used caddies, if you get the chance, do it. They not only add value in searching for balls, reading greens, etc. They also add a lot of local knowledge. It was great hearing the story about the owner of the Red Sox’s house, and the tree removal, and also about Mel Brooks’ rosebushes. A treat for sure.

I wasn’t able to take pictures of every hole (like I prefer to do), but I was on pretty hallowed ground, so decided I’d just get as many as I could.

One of the best shots of the set was from the first fairway, looking back at the clubhouse. Here I was on the first hole, and already had one of the best views on the course. Amazing, and the anticipation was pretty high.

Riviera Country Club, Golf Course in Pacific Palisades, California

The fourth hole is a LONG par 3 (236 yards), into the wind. I seriously considered driver. If I remember correctly, I used three wood (which I usually hit 250), and it landed in the bunker in front of the green. I’m sure I didn’t up and down, but did escape with a bogey.

The 6th is another par 3, but this is the one that has the bunker in the middle of the green. The pin was back left, and so, of course, I put it front right. I had to putt over and through the fringe that surrounded the bunker. What a great hole.

Riviera Country Club, Golf Course in Pacific Palisades, California

The 7th isn’t necessarily long (408 yards) but there’s a large bunker in the middle of the fairway, so you can’t bomb it. Also, I play a draw, and this hole lines up for a fade. Believe it or not, this is one of the few holes on the course that I parred.

Riviera Country Club, Golf Course in Pacific Palisades, California

The 9th is a great hole, not because of it’s bunkering (which is impressive), but because you’re going straight towards the clubhouse. After seeing this course on TV for so many years, it gave me a chill again to be walking towards it.

Riviera Country Club, Golf Course in Pacific Palisades, California

The tenth is easily one of my favorite holes at Riviera. It’s a reachable (OK, maybe not for me) par 4, being 315 yards from the tips. Knowing that I may never get the chance to play here again, I went for it. I was a little short, but right, which is the only landing area without a bunker. From there, I chipped on and three-jacked for a nickel.

The 15th hole played to my draw perfectly (dog leg right, but open enough to go for it). The most interesting part of the hole to me was this odd tree on the left side of the fairway. I’ve never seen one grow like this before. I forgot to ask the caddy about it (if anyone knows what type of tree, and how it can grow like this, please leave it in the comments.)

Riviera Country Club, Golf Course in Pacific Palisades, California

The 16th is also a classic hole. For fans, this is the hole where Rich Beem hit the hole-in-one and jumped on top of the car behind the tee box and hugged it. It was playing 166, and I hit a career 8-iron to the back left bunker. I have no idea how I got an 8 that far back, but I did it. The bunkering on this hole is amazing.

Riviera Country Club, Golf Course in Pacific Palisades, California

The 18th tee has a, for lack of the proper term, “viewfinder”, so a person on the tee can look into it, and see if the people in the raised fairway in front of them have cleared. I’ve never seen this before, and don’t remember them showing it on television, but it’s a great idea.

Riviera Country Club, Golf Course in Pacific Palisades, California

What can I say about playing the 18th at Riviera? Having seen this hole played on TV dozens of times, I aimed my draw up the middle of the fairway, hoping for either a left-side fairway, or rolling into the left rough, which may kick back into the fairway. For the old-school readers who’ve made it this far, the overhanging tree on the left-side of the green had been removed prior to when I played it, meaning anything left off the tee was fine. It wasn’t always that way!

Riviera Country Club, Golf Course in Pacific Palisades, California

Seeing that beautiful clubhouse again (and some of the houses bordering the left side of the fairway) made me get another chill. It really is hallowed ground. They don’t call it Hogan’s Alley for nothing! It really was an experience, and if you ever get the opportunity, be sure to use the caddies. The cost is easily outweighed by the memories you’ll create.

If you like this post you might enjoy following me on Twitter: twitter.com/danperry

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: