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does los angeles country club need to change

What does Los Angeles Country Club need to change when the US Open returns?

When the USGA assigned Los Angeles Country Club US Open hosting duties in 2015, the organisation couldn't have predicted the level of debate and discussion surrounding this most unique of major courses
 

The 2023 US Open has been held in a vast area of greenery surrounded by millionaire’s houses, the Playboy mansion, and Los Angeles City skylines.

It was on July 22, 2015 when Los Angeles Country Club was given the US Open for the first time, and at the end of 2022, it was awarded the 2039 US Open as well.

Throughout the week, the venue has been covered in depth with analysis of the North Course, the demographic of the crowd, and the location of LACC on the edge of Beverly Hills.

Players such as Brooks Koepka and Matt Fitzpatrick have expressed issues with the golf course, while the Englishman was critical of the atmosphere too.

However, it is difficult to watch a major championship and not enjoy every minute of it and there is no question LA Country Club has hosted an exciting and entertaining tournament.

It’s impossible to say what professional golf will look like in 2039, but what will Los Angeles Country Club be like in 16 years, and does anything need to change?

Having covered the event in depth, NCG’s Matt Chivers and Steve Carroll discuss their views on the course’s suitability.

does los angeles country club need to change

“The course is a logistical nightmare and it provides a poor fan viewing experience on the ground”

The North Course looks incredible and watching the players take on each hole has me desperate to take the next flight to LAX and smuggle my way on to the course, writes Matt Chivers.

But in terms of the atmosphere and the feel of the event from afar, I think a lot needs to change to turn this place into an appropriate major host venue.

With thousands of tickets going to corporate and private-style attendants, it sounds like the life has been sucked out of the galleries. Who wants that?

Higher demand for golf events causes ticket prices to rise and this has become clear at The Open Championship, but a general admission ticket to day one of the US Open was $290.

This placed a huge financial burden on the spectators, and once they arrive at the course, it sounds like a logistical nightmare too, with routing around the holes and viewing your favourite groups sounding easier said than done.

Many members of the media and people on the ground have commented on how difficult it is to view the action in certain parts of the course. Do you want to face these issues having just spent a small fortune on admission?

By my calculations, it seems a lot needs to change at Los Angeles Country Club and you feel the corporate atmosphere has come from the nature of the club, which has very stringent and arguably dated rules and regulations.

‘I’m not quite counting down the 16 years, but I’ll be an avid viewer when the US Open returns to LA’

Yes, it’s been on the quiet side in terms of atmosphere. Yes, it’s a nightmare if you’re trying to watch from the UK, but there’s still been loads to like about this week’s US Open at LA Country Club, writes Steve Carroll.

For me, the course has been an undoubted star. It looks incredible – kudos to Gil Hanse and friends for a cracking renovation of the George Thomas classic – and it’s great to see golden age architecture taking centre stage in such a big championship.

People get obsessed with par at this tournament. They’ve been cannily tuned over the years to expect – and demand – struggle.

It doesn’t always need to be about calamity but, even so, there has still been plenty of it about for the careless. Just ask Dustin Johnson after his quadruple bogey, or Xander Schauffele after he hit three from a bunker.

This course has asked some different, tactical, questions. The fairways are wider, but you’d better put it on the right part. The barranca has caused carnage even for the likes of Rory McIlroy. Landing spots have needed to be perfect.

And have you ever heard professionals talking about laying up on an 80-odd yard par 3 before – as they did at the 15th?

It doesn’t always have to be about thin-strip fairways, knee-high rough, and greens on the edge of oblivion to produce a great winner. Just look at this leaderboard.

There were plenty who moaned about Pinehurst when the revamped sand-scraped course was being taken apart by Martin Kaymer over the first two days back in 2014. Is anyone seriously suggesting we don’t return there next year?

This tournament has brought huge excitement – two 62s in a single day is not a bad thing no matter how many times the purists cringe. It has brought drama and it taxed competitors right up until the final hole.

The vistas have been fantastic, the topography incredible. Los Angeles Country Club or Oakland Hills? Give me the former. Every single time. I’m not quite counting down the 16 years, but I’ll be an avid viewer when the US Open returns to LA.

NOW READ: Why were the US Open golf tee times so late?

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does los angeles country club need to change?

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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