Monday, 14 February 2011

Riviera Country Club

18th hole - draw from fade lie

George Thomas combined strategy and beauty as well as any architect in the game’s history.

At Riviera he has created a course that rewards positional play better than most. But what makes the course even better is that Riviera insists that players shape their shots to get into those areas of the course.

At Riviera golfers are constantly encouraged to hit either a draw or fade off the tee because of how the holes are set up. Thomas did this in a variety of ways, including the use of key trees, careful placement of bunkers, slopes of the green, and even the keen use of side slopes that require a tee shot to be shaped to remain on the fairway. The joy of Riviera is the constant flow back and forth between fade and draw, even alternating on the some hole at times, like the 3rd.
5th hole - fade from draw lie

One of the other aspects I also enjoyed was the use of opposing slopes. There aren’t many shots in golf that take pros out of their comfort zone more than having to manufacture a draw from a fade lie, or vice versa, which you must do at Riviera. This is why the course is one of the game’s great Tour venues. Elements like this separate the good from the great. The result is one of the few remaining courses where a clever shot maker still holds the advantage over the bomber.

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