It may be short—only 290 yards from the back tee to the front edge of the green—but the tenth at Riviera Country Club is easily the best drivable par four I’ve ever played. It’s the highlight of what I consider a brilliant course. Riviera reminds me of home in Cape Town, South Africa: The grass is kikuyu, and it’s lined with tall blue- and red-gum eucalyptus trees. I look forward to playing it every year during the L.A. Open.
From the tee on ten, the green is reachable for most long hitters, but you need to place your drive just right. If you don’t have a go at the green with your driver, you can hit a three- or four-iron down the left side of the fairway and try to pitch it on. Either way, you must land your ball in a ten-yard patch to have it scoot up the front half of the green, which is about thirty-five yards long and only about nine yards wide, with deep bunkers to the left and right and directly behind it. If your ball lands in one of those bunkers, you will struggle to get it on from there because of the green’s slope and undulation. It’s a great hole for tournament golf, especially for the spectators, who like to gather around the tee and watch the pros drive it. You can make a two, but you can make a five just as easily.
These days, the guys who are designing courses are making the holes so long. Riviera’s tenth is just the opposite. It may be only about three hundred yards from the back tees, but it’s quite a challenge. The hole has so many possibilities that it really gets you thinking.
For more information on Riviera Country Club, visit therivieracountryclub.com.