170. Bel-Air Country Club
George C. Thomas Jr. & William F. Bell (1926) / Tom Doak (2018)
Completing a George C. Thomas hat trick of designs (the others being No. 19 Los Angeles C.C. (North) and No. 23 Riviera) is Bel-Air C.C., a charming throwback design that winds through mansion-dotted canyons of Los Angeles, the topography so steep that golfers are guided from hole to hole via a tunnel, an elevator and the city’s most famous suspension bridge, which spans a gulch on the par-3 10th and serves as a dramatic backdrop for the 18th green. Bel-Air’s design had been altered over decades by, among others, Dick Wilson, George Fazio, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Tom Fazio. But in 2018 Tom Doak erased every bit of their work, removing phony water hazards and faithfully recapturing Thomas’s splashy signature bunkering. To complete a round amidst these Hollywood hills, you’ll definitely encounter a Hollywood star. Her name is Bel-Air.
Panelist comments, Bel-Air Country Club:
"The results of Tom Doak's renovation are outstanding. In short, Doak and his team recaptured the greatness of this original George Thomas design, which had been lost by unnecessary design changes over recent years and excessive overgrowth of trees. The course now plays a few strokes easier due to the wider playing areas, but is much more visually appealing and much more fun to play."
"A case study in performing a successful renovation. Doak and associate Eric Iverson and team found aerials/pictures that gave them exact placements of bunkers and hazards, and the elimination of past meddling greens committees ideas, as well as just brilliant shaping of the putting surfaces makes this one of the best remodel efforts I have ever seen."
"The course now plays a few strokes easier due to the wider playing areas, but is much more visually appealing and much more fun to play."
"Rave reviews for the removal of water on 1, 3 and 8; The dry washes on 1, 6, 8, 9 and 18 are fabulous features that tie into the land perfectly and add to risk/reward strategies in smart ways."