10101 Wilshire Blvd,
California (CA) 90024,
- +1 310 276 6104
1 mile W of Beverley Hills
Members and their guests only
The location for the Los Angeles Country Club makes it possibly one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world. It’s therefore fitting therefore that North course does full justice to the land because it is a truly magnificent layout.
The club was founded in 1897 as the Los Angeles Golf Club, moving locations three times before settling on its current site adjacent to Beverly Hills in 1911. The original club founders, Joe Sartori and Ed Tufts, along with Norman Macbeth and Charles Orr, laid out the inaugural course at the new Wilshire site.
The course (now known as the North) at the renamed Los Angeles Country Club was refashioned by Herbert Fowler in 1921 but re-routed in 1927 by George C. Thomas Jr. and his right-hand man, William Bell, with excellent effect. Fast-forward to the new millennium when Gil Hanse was entrusted to restore this classic course to its former glory.
The layout is at once thrilling and often exciting with its hills, ridges, swales and valleys. There are two 18-hole courses, the North and the South, if you can get a game, but only have time for one round, try and persuade your friendly member to play the North course.
There are far too many great holes to mention them all, but the par threes are exceptionally strong, exactingly long and noteworthy. The 7th is perhaps the toughest of them all, measuring almost 240 yards where only the perfect tee shot will find the sanctuary of the green. The 9th is perhaps the signature hole, with the clubhouse as the backdrop, but many members consider the 11th to be the star of the show with downtown LA as the backdrop.
As far as parkland courses go, Los Angeles North is as good as it comes. The course holds your interest all the way round and it’s a challenging and tough but fair layout. Roll this up with a beautiful setting (except perhaps for the odd imposing tower block) and you have a little piece of heaven.
LACC is one of the best examples of variety anywhere in the world. It was awesome to watch the Walker Cup matches as the course is a true match play course, its a testament to how little par really matters. There are a dozen or so holes that are true half par holes and the course demands every club in the bag.
The opener is a downhill par 4.5 that gives a great view of LA. Its a warm handshake, playing as a par 5 and offering a good and much needed birdie chance to start the day.
The second was for a long time an awkward uphill par 5 situated away from the third tee. When Gil Hanse came to restore the course, they noticed that the green had originally been located just over the barranca, converting the hole back into a brutal par 4. Three is an awesome hole that really uses the natural slope of the land. Everything funnels towards a barranca left but playing towards it gives a great angle into the green. The green itself features a slope left and a tough plateau that allows the player to run the ball down to the lower half of the green on the right. Four is a long downhill par 3 over the barranca. The massive estate to the right of the green is owned by Lionel Richie. Five is a long uphill par four with another well guarded green that still yields options.
The first five holes at LACC are awesome but the sixth hole starts a stretch that will make your jaw drop at least five times. Six is my favorite hole in the world hands down. Its a driveable par 4 with possibly the widest fairway in the world left of the green, which is all that is visible from the tee. However, playing over the large hill right of the fairway allows the ball to run onto the serpentine putting surface set into the hillside. Missing just right will send your ball into the barranca which makes for a brutal up and down. While 6 at Riv gets most of the praise this is definitely the better driveable par four in town.
Seven is another par 3.5 hole that will likely play as a par 4 for the US Open. The day I played with my dad, who was playing from the member tees while I was tipping it out, I followed the caddie to the tee at which point he hands me driver and turns me around. The hole was almost 300 yards over a barranca to an interesting green. Sure you can get pissed off on a hole like that because it says its a par three on the scorecard but its a reminder of how little that matters, and how cool it is to have an opportunity to make three and take shots off the field.
Eight is a short par five but still provides a really cool test. A barranca runs along the right with the fairway heavily banking towards it off the narrow tee shot. Playing towards the barranca allows for a look at the green while bailing out right forces a layup. Its an awesome thing to try and hit a draw over the barranca towards the green with the ball below your feet. Nine is a great par three to finish the outward stretch, featuring a heavily guarded and well designed green.
The tenth hole practically tees up from the halfway house to a fairway connected with the 16th. While the front nine is much more secluded on the lower half of the property, the back is much more open, exposing it to the wind. The tenth is a great drive and pitch hole, with a green banking hard from back to front.
Eleven would be the "signature" hole at any other course but its just one of 18 at LACC. Its a downhill half reverse redan with a plateau in the back that can be stretched out to over 300 yards. I'm almost positive Tom Doak copied this hole on 5 at Pacific Dunes, and for good reason. Its an awesome, strategic par three with great views of downtown that make you want to play it again and again.
12 is a dogleg left playing to a wild amoeba shaped green that is an adventure and a half to putt. 13 is a long four with a hard banking fairway from the left. Keeping the ball up the left side gives a great angle, but missing right gives a blind uphill shot.
The big hedges right of fourteen tee guard the playboy mansion. You can typically hear exotic birds chirping you on the tee shot. The par 5 plays over three cross bunkers to an extremely difficult green set up perfectly for the hole.
The 15th is yet another all world hole, possibly one of the best short par 3's in the world. It tips out at 120 and played just 78 yards during the Saturday afternoon matches of the Walker Cup. It's a boomerang green with a neck that narrows to just 6 yards wide in the front. Its a hole that can play different every day based on the pin. 16 is another great hole hitting over a valley to a green that deceptively runs front to back. 17 is a brute of a hole playing over the barranca to an extremely narrow green.
After walking off 17 green you'll notice a tiny three tiered green secluded in trees over the barranca. It was the original 17th hole in the twenties and is an extremely fun bye hole on the current routing. After bragging about his domination of the Mexican Amateur circuit all round, our caddie bet us a dollar each that he'd hit it inside us. No practice swings or stretches, he stepped up with my wedge and knocked it to 2 feet. 18 is a great half par finisher playing back uphill to the beautiful clubhouse, capping off a round you won't soon forget.
The club itself given its name and location is usually thought of as rather stuffy. I read a story before going that in the thirties a member sponsored a jewish Hollywood actor for membership and not only was he blackballed, the member was also kicked out of the club. Those days are long gone as the club is now very diverse and welcoming. The staff is extremely friendly and insist that you use Ronald Reagan's locker as a guest. The club does still require pants while on property but that in itself is kind of cool in a way, as its a rule that isn't exactly necessary but unique, like the no range finders at Chicago or the high socks at Elie. The pro shop doesn't accept anything but a host member's number so make sure to be extra nice to your host.
Living in LA my whole life, I've been lucky to play LACC many times. After the Hanse restoration the course was brought back to what it should be, resulting in a challenging but extremely fair test of golf. Originally, the course was designed to have many different teeing locations which would change the yardage and par of the hole every day. While that doesn't exist now, the clear half par holes provide great variety throughout the beautiful land which is perfect for golf. The best courses in the world are able to get you excited about challenging holes, and for me Holes #2 and #11 are tough pars that I can't wait to play each time I get out there. The sizing and slope of each green seems perfect for nearly every hole and the bunkering around the course are super cool to look and very well placed. Short holes like #6 and #15 are world class and are some of the best in the world. The bermuda rough will get you and I expect to be the toughest challenge the course provides after it narrows the fairways for the 2023 U.S. Open
A challenging excellent course with hills and valleys, a good deal of distance and fast greens.
The old girl has had a facelift, and she looks and plays better than ever. The front nine has significant movement and elevation change- dry water beds and barancas are used in front of greens/ crossing fairways/ flanking fairways. It makes for a very interesting nine holes, and one of the best parkland courses I have played
While the fairways are framed by a variety of trees, it is all done in moderation leaving stunning views to other fairways and the city beyond.
There is also a nice mix of short, long, and medium length holes, although I thought the course played long overall.
The greens are relatively subtle, but roll well and the players needs to pay attention to both pace and line to score- one slip and you WILL three putt
I fell in love with the short holes- particularly the short drivable par 4 seventh hole, and all of the par 3's, particularly the very short par 3 fifteenth hole
Most greens are heavily protected by Hanse’s artistic renovative bunkers work. It is not just the artful bunkers themselves, but the heavy grasses that surround them..
To be a member of LACC is to be truly spoiled, with wonderful service, a neat recently renovated clubhouse, and two quality golf courses
LACC's North course is a gem!
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
LACC North is a special place to play. Sitting on some of the best and most scenic real estate in Los Angeles. The recent restoration is amazing and truly brings out the original design features of the course. LACC is a walking facility and you must wear pants. Additionally, the pro shop only allows member charges for merchandise. I hope to play there one day again!
I was fortunate to play this course a number of times during my time in LA. It is a stunning course in quite exceptional condition, with a clubhouse ambience that is the epitome of US country club excellence, all the more remarkable when one considers its situation in the middle of downtown LA and with the South course to accompany it. Any chance to play there should be grabbed with both hands. It is truly outstanding.
George Thomas’s famous quote “The strategy of the golf course is the soul of the game” shows splendidly in his design at LA North. Thomas had just finished his work at Riviera and Bel-Air and many think his finest work was done here. The fairways are wide, but on almost every hole (the 2nd and 13th are the only exceptions) the golfer has options to consider on which part of the fairway provides the most advantageous angle for the next shot. And while bunkers front half the greens, on most of the rest (1st, 5th, 8th, 11th, 13th and 15th), there’s a kickpad to one side of the green allowing the option of a running approach. Another common feature is the horseshoe green, where a bunker cuts into the center of the green pad and two peninsulas of green flank the bunker. On most of these (3rd, 12th, 14th) Thomas sited the peninsulas closest to the fairway, though at the 15th, he rotated the green 90 degrees.
One might wonder how stout a defense a course of this age will provide when the USGA holds its national championship here in 2023. One source of defense will be the par 3 holes, two of which can be played at well over 250 yards. The aforementioned 15th will also provide a challenge, despite the fact that it will likely be set up at under 100 yards at least one of the days—as it was for the 2017 Walker Cup. The world’s top amateurs had plenty of trouble finding the tiny corner of the green where the hole was cut.
I was a walking scorer for the 2017 Walker Cup - so inside the ropes for two rounds watching the top amateurs attack the course. And these young bombers in match play could go at it hard. I doubt the pros in the US Open will be so brazen in the use of the driver and some of the lines taken. But what fun to watch! And I am sure the USGA was watching closely what modifications can still be made in the setup to challenge the top players. Clearly this was a dress rehearsal.
To me, I most enjoyed the challenges posed on #2, #7, and #11.
All of the accolades in the other reviews are completely valid; it is truly magnificent oasis within the confines of a major city.
LACC North, future home to the US Open and the benefactor of a wonderful renovation by Gil Hanse not all too long ago was a recent stop on my West Coast tour. Wow, to find such an amazing course nestled right in between Beverley Hills and Santa Monica, right off Wilshire Boulevard, one of America’s busiest roads, is surreal to say the least. The land here is literally ideal for golf, full of cool natural features for a talented architect to wind and weave a golf course through. The property is very hilly and full of dry washes that have been strategically used to challenge the golfer. Greens are very undulated and contain multiple challenging pin positions. There is a great mix of holes from reachable par 4’s and 5’s to 3’s that take all you have in the bag. The course is characterized by fairly generous playing corridors with generous amounts of playable short grass. Don’t let that fool you into a false sense of security, take the less than ideal line for the days pin position and you will need a perfect shot to avoid trouble and be safely on the dance floor.
The North Course is one that will challenge every aspect of your game and has the ability of forcing you to run up a huge score on every hole, there really is no letting up and while loads of fun, requires 18 holes of focus in the hot California sun.
18 great holes that are all completely different makes it really tough to pull out clear favorites yet if I were forced to choose the short drivable par 4, 5th hole would be one of mine. This hole plays from an elevated tee to a tricky green fronted with a menacing moon shaped dry wash. The tee shot is blind if you are going for the green and also has a slight dogleg right. The green also has a bit of a ¼ moon shape a ridge running through it with a clear plateau for our pin position of the day making all chips or approached from off the green extremely delicate. The safest miss would be short right but this shot is very tough to estimate from the tee given the blind tee shot. Too far right is a lost ball.
Another great hole is the par 3 11th. Designed with reverse redan qualities perhaps the idea shot is just short and left allowed the ball to release from left to right and run down to the pin. The hole plays as far back as 240 yds from the back tees. Front and right are treacherous deep bunkers. The hole also plays slightly down hill. Just add a nice little breeze and this hole simply requires extremely solid play to walk off with a 3.
Notable is the restored short alternative hole 17. A little flip of a wedge into an extremely narrow, heavily back to front sloping green. This hole clearly shows that even very short holes can provide knee knocking tee shots.
LACC North is plain and simply a wonderful experience, easily worthy of an overseas flight for the opportunity to play it. A pure masterpiece by Thomas that Hanse has thoughtfully renovated new life back into.
To paraphrase Cecil Rhodes's comment about the English, "To be a member of L.A.C.C. is to win first prize in the lottery of life." As Gil Hanse and Geoff Shackelford wrote in the L.A.C.C. North Course Commemorative Edition, published in 2010: "Every great course in the world features at least one par-4 under 350 yards allowing for multiple playing options. Designed with an eye toward risk and reward, these devilish little two-shotters accomplish one very simple axiom, as so eloquently written by George Thomas in Golf Architecture in America: “The strategy of golf is the thing which gives the short accurate player a chance with a longer hitter who cannot control his direction or distance.”
Riviera's great par four under 350 yards is its tenth. At L.A.C.C. it is the sixth, and it's a doozy. The hole plays 335 yards from the back tees, and you hit into a narrow valley where the ball will naturally kick right to left. If you are brazen, you can attempt to cut off the corner on the right and incur a big penalty if you miss. The hole doglegs sharply to the right and the approach to the elevated green is made quite tricky because it is such a small target. It is the type of hole you could play dozens and dozens of times and still find exhilarating and challenging each time.
Routing, variety and terrain combine to make the North a world-class course. Given its geographic location, L.A.C.C. North will inevitably be compared with nearby Riviera. In my view L.A.C.C. is the superior course. Thomas simply had a better piece of land to work with at L.A.C.C. than at Riviera. Riviera is built within a valley and doesn't have the elevation changes or other elements that makes L.A.C.C. so unique.
John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs