L.A. Country Club: Hole-by-hole breakdown of U.S. Open course

VIDEO | 03:30
The U.S. Open holes that can make or break a round of golf

The Los Angeles Country Club is playing host to its first U.S. Open this week. It marks the 15th U.S. Open and 20th major golf championship played in California.

The club hosted the 2017 Walker Cup, with a team of U.S. amateurs defeating Britain and Ireland. Members of that American squad included future PGA Tour stars Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Cameron Champ and Will Zalatoris.

A look at the holes of LACC’s North Course:


Hole 1 — Par 5 | 590 yards


Hole 1 is in the spirit of a George C. Thomas opener, where it’s a relatively easier par five. That’s one of the hallmarks of his courses, as you’ll see with the first hole at Riviera. It’s like no place in golf. You’ll stand on that tee and you’ll see the Beverly Hills Hilton, buildings and mountains in the distance, and unfurling before you is a taste of what’s to come.

You’ve got the Thomas and Bell bunkering style, this incredible expanse of mowed grass in the middle of this urban density, and you can see the green in the distance. Like a lot of this course, it’s all right in front of you, but you’ve still got to play your ball.

Playing down the right side of this hole opens up the approach to the green. If you miss left, you’re blocked out by trees. The defining characteristic of the green that runs away from you is the bunker that protects all of the front hole locations. Anything that comes into that green with some speed has a chance to go long and left.

Many golf pros and fans will get their first look at the historic, and somewhat mythical, Los Angeles Country Club this week with arrival of U.S. Open.

June 11, 2023


Hole 2 — Par 4 | 497 yards

This is also a Thomas hallmark: Following a gentle par five with a stout par four.This is good, strong long par four. It’s all out in front of you. You’ve got to hit two great shots. Similar to the first hole, playing down the right center opens up your approach to the green. Anything left brings that bunker into play.


On your approach, you have to navigate the barranca — the first time you’re going to see the barranca on the course, the defining characteristic of the front nine. On your approach, you’ve got to take on the barranca.

This is a green where you have to hit the right shot to the right hole location. From the fairway, the green doesn’t look like there’s much going on, but when you get up there, the slopes will move your ball away from the preferred hole location if you’re not accurate. Back right is an incredibly difficult hole location. Anything long of this green is a very difficult up and down.


Hole 3 — Par 4 | 419 yards

From the third tee you can’t see your landing area. The barranca that crosses the front of the tee runs down the left side of the hole. The play here is right-center or taking it over the barranca to a remarkable tumbling fairway, the first taste of this ingenious routing of the course along the undulating landscape.

On their approach, players are going to have a short iron in to a remarkable green — one that they can’t see — with some devilish hole locations. The front right is especially difficult and will look like it’s tucked into a tiny inlet.


Being below the hole is absolutely critical here. Anything long will make for a treacherous up and down. The Thomas greens have a lot more slope than you might anticipate until you get on them.


Hole 4 — Par 3 | 228 yards

Players walk from the third green up to the fourth tee to an absolutely stunning par three, the first of five par threes that are among the greatest collection in golf. From the back U.S. Open tee, players will once again hit over the barranca. The front right bunker will protect the front-right hole locations.

Players are going to have a mid-to-long iron in, and anything that takes on that right side, if it’s not hit high with the right amount of spin has a chance of chasing over the back, or kicking right and running down into the barranca. At that point, it’s flip a coin in terms of what kind of lie you get down there.

The green might look really big from the tee, the playing surface is not as big as it looks because of the severe left-to-right and back-to-front slope.


Hole 5 — Par 4 | 480 yards

Standing on the fifth tee, it will appear to the player that he has one of the wider fairways in U.S. Open history. But the effective landing area is actually much narrower because of the way the right half of the fairway kicks right.

Players will need to play up the left side, aiming to the left of the distant palm trees, to give them a level lie and good look at the green. Anything that goes right has a chance of kicking and bounding into the rough, leaving a trickier shot to a putting surface that won’t be visible.

But a shot on the left side of the fairway gives the player a chance to chase an approach in to the left side of the green or carry it all the way. The right side of this green can have some pretty good speed back to front.


Hole 6 — Par 4 | 330 yards


This may well end up being the story of the U.S. Open. It’s a short, drivable par four, a counterpart to Thomas’ 10th hole at Riviera. It’s a blind tee shot if a player is going for the green. He’s got to cut the corner over the top of three oaks on the hillside to an incredibly narrow green well protected by bunkers and barranca.

Playing a tee shot down the fairway leaves a wedge shot to a small and tricky green. The green is exceptionally wide — almost 50 yards, but barely 12 paces front to back. Any up and down around this green is strong, whether it’s for birdie, par or bogey.

This is a defining risk/reward hole. We could see some eagles, and we could see some double- and triple-bogeys.

Complete coverage of the 2023 U.S. Open as Los Angeles Country Club, the first time L.A. has hosted a major tournament in more than 75 years.

June 18, 2023


Hole 7 — Par 3 | 284 yards

This is another great par three. In many ways, Nos. 6 and 7 can both be played like par-three-and-a-halfs. Here you see the barranca winding along the left side, cutting across the hole and then feeding right into the bunkering.


This should play around 280 yards. The green slopes left to right. There’s a back-right hole location that’s very difficult to get to, and a back-middle location that also tough because the green starts to roll away from you. Anything long runs down to the No. 8 tee box and forces you to chip back up into the grain to a green that’s running away from you.


Hole 8 — Par 5 | 537 yards

After running the gantlet of Nos. 5, 6 and 7, this is a hole where players are going to want to attack. The key is getting that tee shot in the fairway. You’ve got a fairway that tilts left to right, and again that barranca is running down the right side with bunkers to the left.

The old sycamores can block your view a bit. Those with good shots down the fairway will have a chance to go at this green in two. But players frequently will have a hanging lie with the ball below them, trying to hit a right-to-left approach.

The layup here is tricky. You’ve got to commit to your yardage and angle because it’s really easy to blow it through the fairway on your layup and wind up in the Bermuda grass trying to come in.


If you miss this green left, you have to be lucky with your lie for a chance to get up and down. It’s one of the smaller greens on the course and can play fast and firm. If you’re coming in with a three wood or hybrid and trying to land it on the green and hold it, that’s going to be a big challenge.

This is an opportunity for players to get one back.


Hole 9 — Par 3 | 171 yards

This is the third par three on the front and can play different each day depending on the hole location. You’re playing across a small canyon with the clubhouse in the distance.

The middle right is one of the most challenging hole locations on the entire course. The back left looks like there’s no way to hit it from the tee. And you’re generally playing it into the wind here.

Club selection is important. Spin is important. Neither bunker is an easy up and down, regardless of the hole location.


Hole 10 — Par 4 | 409 yards

Similar to the way the front nine starts, this is a place players are going to try to attack and get one back. The tumbling topography here is remarkable. The bunkers on the right side, Bermuda all down the right side.

The key is landing something down the right-center that stays in the fairway. The approach will be hitting into a green that’s severely pitched from back to front, and you can’t see the green surface from the fairway.

There’s a back hole location that’s tough to get close to, and anything long leaves a very difficult shot coming back.

This will provide one of the few opportunities on the back to get aggressive.


Hole 11 — Par 3 | 290 yards


This is one of the great par threes in the world. Views of downtown in the distance. This will be a beast — close to a 300-yard downhill par three.

Redan greens are typically narrow and angled away from the tee, with the putting surface sloped from front to back. This is what’s called a reverse Redan, because instead of the ball feeding right to left, this one feeds left to right.

Anything that misses the green right or left is going to run away and leave you a difficult up and down.


Hole 12 — Par 4 | 380 yards

This is the only true blind tee shot on the course. The player can’t see the landing area from the tee. You’re aiming to drive the ball between the trees into one of the narrower fairways on the course. Accuracy is essential here.


When you get up the hill, you’ll discover one of the most remarkable green complexes in golf. This is one of the wider greens on the course, and there are all sorts of difficult hole locations. If you don’t land your ball precisely where you want to land it here — and with the right amount of spin — you could easily wind up 30 feet from the hole, or worse.


Hole 13 — Par 4 | 507 yards

This could be one of the more talked-about tee shots on the course, depending on how far the USGA plays it every day. It’s the longest carry on the course to get up to the flat.

Similar to No. 5, when you step up on this tee it looks like one of the wider fairways, but the effective landing area is very narrow. Maybe 20 yards down the left side. Because anything that lands in the right-middle of the fairway is going to kick and roll down, leaving a player a blind shot into the green or maybe a shot from the rough.

If you’re on the left side, you’re hitting your approach into a green that looks pretty level but actually has a severe left-to-right slope.


For players on the right side, there’s a blind approach in, aiming at trees and trying to guess where the hole location is.

There’s no easy place to leave your second shot if you don’t make it onto the green.

This hole backs up into what used to be the Playboy Mansion, an estate originally built by an LACC member.


Hole 14 — Par 5 | 623 yards

This is the beginning of the turn for home. One of the more interesting par fives. Players are hitting into Century City in the background, which was built on the old 20th Century Fox backlot.

Hitting the fairway here is going to be the difference between having the option to go for it in two or not. Anything right can kick into the trees and go way down to a wash, as the ball falls off severely to the right. A miss right leaves a player with a very difficult recovery just to get back into the fairway.


Even for a player who has a great drive, the work has just begun. This is an incredibly difficult green to hold, but the layup isn’t easy either. You can’t see the landing area for the layup. This is one of the harder shots on the course for the ball to wind up where you want it to.


Hole 15 — Par 3 | 124 yards

This could be one of the great stories of the tournament too. Like No. 10, this is a hole where players are really going to try to get one back.

This hole can play anywhere from 140 yards to just 78 yards. We’ll probably see that 78-yard, front-right location that we saw in the Walker Cup. That would be the shortest par three in U.S. Open history.

There’s a bump in the middle of the green that effectively divides the green into two quadrants. Being on the same side of that bump as the day’s hole location is essential.


This hole is short but devilish.


Hole 16 — Par 4 | 542 yards

The start of the final three par fours, the first time on the course there are three par fours in a row.

Players are going to need to hit right of the bunker. A miss left can kick down low and leave a blind recovery.

Even hitting the fairway here, players are still going to have a mid-iron or hybrid in, with a green running away from them.

You need to hit two great shots here to give yourself a look at par.


Hole 17 — Par 4 | 520 yards


One of the most beautiful and difficult par fours you’ll play. From the back tees there’s not a huge landing area. You’ve got barranca to the right and trees to the left.

A downhill tee shot with the hole laid out right in front of you.

Hit the fairway and you’ve got a mid-to-long iron in with a smaller green that angles away from you with a remarkable bunker that guards all of the front hole locations. Playing down the right side opens a better angle to some of those hole locations.

A right miss on your approach here is dead. You’re down in the barranca with a questionable lie, trying to back up to a green above you.

This could be the decisive hole for the U.S. Open.

Elite golfers from Southern California are plentiful, but only Tiger Woods has won the U.S. Open. This week it is in their backyard at the L.A. Country Club.

June 12, 2023


Hole 18 — Par 4 | 492 yards

After playing in the relative seclusion of No. 17, you walk across that bridge up to the 18th tee and you are back in Los Angeles. You’ll see those grandstands and chalets running down the first fairway, and you’ll be staring at the clubhouse and grandstands through the fairway.


You’ve got to step up and hit a big tee shot. This is a generous fairway, wider than most people are used to in U.S. Opens. But with a potential afternoon wind coming into the player, this isn’t easy.

On the approach, because of the size of the clubhouse behind it, the green looks smaller than it is. You can’t see the putting surface from the approach, just the big bunkering and the flag.

The green slopes back to front, and you could have some quicker putts on this hole than you would expect walking up to it.

Playing into the setting sun, with a breeze in your face, this is the quintessential finish to the U.S. Open.