U.S. Open to Los Angeles CC: Report
By Torleif Sorenson on 8/29/14

The United States Golf Association and Los Angeles Country Club have reportedly reached an agreement to hold the 2023 men's United States Open Championship on the club's North Course. This would be the U.S. Open's first playing in the Los Angeles area since the legendary Ben Hogan won the 1948 Open at Riviera Country Club in nearby Pacific Palisades, California.

The report comes from Mike James of the Los Angeles Times, who notes that several important details have yet to be finalized. James reported that club officials sent a letter to some 1,500 members calling for a vote to approve the proposal.

The USGA also has not made a formal announcement, but did admit that they and the club are talking:
"As a general rule, the USGA keeps its site selection process confidential to protect future sites and related parties. In this instance, we confirm that the USGA and Los Angeles Country Club are exploring the possibility of conducting a future U.S. Open Championship at the Club. There are several important steps required in the Championship selection process to ensure its success, including garnering the support of the Club's membership and evaluating the feasibility of conducting a world-class championship in the heart of the Los Angeles community. We are appreciative of the opportunity to continue the process."
The club was founded in 1897, but moved to their current location in 1911. The current design of the North Course is actually a critically acclaimed redesign by architect George C. Thomas, Jr. Between 2005 and 2010, the course underwent a restoration by the late architect John Harbottle III. The club has never hosted a U.S. Open, and in fact last hosted the Los Angeles Open back in 1940.

Presumably, a U.S. Open would result in brisk ticket sales; James noted in his article that total attendance for the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines was almost 300,000 and that the overall economic benefit to San Diego was estimated at $142 million. Torrey Pines will host the 2021 U.S. Open, two years before LACC would possibly host the Open.

However, the USGA held the 1998 U.S. Senior Open at Riviera and although Hale Irwin was an admirable champion, ticket sales barely reached 10,000 — an utter disaster. And the problem was not that it was the Senior Open; the 1999 championship at Des Moines G&CC was such a smashing success that even the practice rounds sold out. Des Moines has hosted a Senior / Champions Tour event ever since.

James also notes in his article that LACC has maintained a relatively low profile over the last several decades, but after rejected previous queries from the USGA, officials and members seemed to "have warmed to the idea of holding high-profile events." In fact, the club hosted the 2013 PAC-12 Championships and also will host the 2017 Walker Cup.

We want to hear from you oobers who have actually had the privilege of playing either course at LACC.

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Image via Los Angeles Country Club

[ comments ]
bkuehn1952 says:
The US Open should be held exclusively at public access courses. The championship is "the people's championship." In theory, LegitimateBeef could fight his way to a scratch handicap, work through local and sectional qualifying, win the US Open at LACC and then never be allowed to play there again. Sorry LB, 'sniff', members only.

We have more than enough high quality (and expensive!) public access courses in the USA. Time to let the exclusive private clubs have their privacy.
dottomm says:
@bkuehn I completely agree.
joe jones says:
I tend to agree with playing at public facilities but I must point out that with today's economy very few municipalities can afford to cover the cost of running an Open. When The Open goes to Bethpage the course is basically closed for a season. The lost revenue must be subsidized by the community.Now day's cities are cutting budgets to basic services. I doubt if taxpayers give a damn whether or not some of our great public courses hold a golf tournament. Lets see how Harding Park makes out financially. I may be proven completely wrong.
bkuehn1952 says:
My impression was that clubs/courses made a significant profit from the Open. The USGA gives them a cut from the tickets and merchandise. I also believe the USGA pays for all or a sizeable portion of course changes at public venues.

From Golf Digest: "What kind of windfall does a club reap for putting up with all of that? Not much of one, it turns out. Though the U.S. Open is a big-time money-maker, generating close to $100 million in revenue, the host course grosses only about $1.5 million to $2 million, according to people familiar with the USGA's contracts."
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