GO BEL-AIR BIG
Having Bel-Air in your title immediately makes a strong statement. The club was established in 1925 with original course design by George Thomas who also served as the architect of its LA siblings Riviera and L.A.C.C. The original course was 9 holes and later extended through a uniquely placed bridge that allowed it access additional land and complete the 18 hole current layout. The course has undergone several alterations with a host of designers. The latest update was led by Tom Doak in 2018 who restored many of the holes iconic components. The course is ranked by several as top 100; hosted the 1976 U.S. Amateur; and is home to the UCLA Bruins golf teams.
Upon arrival you will immediately notice the distinct LA architecture feel and charm of the clubhouse which is set for renovations in the near future. The membership and staff have an every day is sunny in Southern California welcoming spirit that quickly makes you feel welcomed and pumped for the upcoming round. I would suggest to give yourself amble time before and after the round to take in the full experience and eliminate any feeling of needing to rush.
When you step foot outside the clubhouse you will be taken by the views and notice the course layout has significant elevation change with some unique elements like a crossing bridge "Swinging Bridge" from clubhouse to 9 green right that towers behind the 18th green.
Surprisingly, at least to us, the course is a walking course which also slows down the pace and enriches the playing experience. The caddies also encompass a friendly spirit helping you stay optimistic about your game and enjoying the group camaraderie.
Go big off hole 1 with amble room to bomb a drive off the elevated tee box and simplify the approach. Actually go big off every hole the course is has generous landing areas with only a few hidden tricks that your caddie or member will point out. The front 9 cruises by extremely quickly with a memorable long skinny tunnel walk under the old Hilton mansion and ends with an elevator ride back to the clubhouse.
The back nine starts off in style with a challenging uphill par 3. The tee box is nestled by the clubhouse and you hit over a canyon with the swinging bridge to your left. You than continue to wind through the adjoining canyons with beautifully crafted hole routing and ample views of the gorgeous and massive Bel-Air mansions. Make sure to stop to grab a tasty burger or two at the halfway house and a fresh libation never hurts; and throw in a few $ for the longest ball throw down the 16th to 17th stone walking path.
Overall the course is fun and scorable if your playing well. Your biggest challenges will likely come through undulated ball lies, and dialing in approach distances to elevated greens and longer puts.
A must is the 19th hole porch that sits behind the first tee box with incredible views of LA. As aforementioned make preparations to spend time after the round to join the members for drinks, snack, and conversations. We were invited to stick around for dinner which we gladly accepted and allowed us to hang out late into the night with a fun group of lively personalities exchanging friendly banter for the upcoming membership tournament.
WYLD1 provides a solid Go Big total experience recommendation for Bel-Air!
GO BIG HOLES
1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 14, 17, 18
ON THE LINKS