The upcoming U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club's North Course is set to be an intriguing venture into the unknown. With its hilly terrain and rustic, rolling layout, this course offers a glimpse of what the city looked like before it became covered in asphalt. The club underwent a radical renovation more than a decade ago, emphasizing the natural beauty of the surroundings.
Designed by course architect George C. Thomas, the layout aims to elicit the "thrill of nature" and showcases narrow barrancas lined with native grasses instead of water hazards. The flowing bunkers resemble natural erosion pits. Los Angeles Country Club challenges players to find a balance between artistic play and the data-driven approach that has become prevalent in the game. The course's unique features, including blind shots and undulating slopes, add to the mystery and require players to rely on their intuition and adaptability.
What sets this U.S. Open apart is the absence of course history to guide players' decision-making. Only a few competitors in the field have previously played at LACC, and there is no past data to indicate winning strategies. The winning score is anyone's guess, with predictions ranging from 4 under to 4 over par. The course shares an architect with Riviera but offers a distinct challenge with its rolling terrain, more reminiscent of Australian Sandbelt courses or Shinnecock Hills.
This U.S. Open deviates from the traditional setup, where narrow fairways and thick rough were the norm. Instead, LACC's wide fairways provide options off the tee, but severe slopes make it difficult to keep the ball in play. The Bermuda grass rough adds another layer of challenge, described by Rory McIlroy as "clumpy." Luck will play a role, as errant shots may result in unpredictable lies.
Expect the unexpected at Los Angeles Country Club, where players may employ unconventional strategies like using a driver off the tee on a par-3 or a fairway wood on a par-5. The course features five par-3s, a rarity for a U.S. Open venue, ranging in length from under 100 yards to over 280 yards. Each hole presents a unique test, offering players a variety of shot options.
The U.S. Open at LACC promises excitement and uncertainty. Scottie Scheffler, who played here in the 2017 Walker Cup, attests to the course's remarkable nature. World No. 1 Jon Rahm praises the venue, saying it has all the ingredients for a great week. However, the tournament comes with its share of uncertainty, as Collin Morikawa's recent back injury leaves questions about his performance. Only time will reveal the true extent of his recovery.
In summary, the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club offers a captivating and unpredictable challenge. With its natural beauty, unique layout, and lack of course history, players must rely on their skills and adaptability to navigate the hilly terrain and undulating slopes. The tournament is set to be a thrilling display of talent and strategy, where the unexpected can happen at any moment.