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.
Date: January 09, 2018