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Monday, December 28, 2015

BEL-AIR COUNTRY CLUB

BEL-AIR COUNTRY CLUB
10768 BELLAGIO ROAD
LOS ANGELES, CA  90077
310-472-9563
310-472-7044 Fax

My golf Bucket List included Bel-Air and Riviera Country Clubs in Los Angeles, California.  Both ultra private clubs reserved for the rich and famous.  Both filled with tradition, history and members who read like a who's who of Hollywood elite and financial movers and shakers.  I had booked a reservation at Riviera with the help of a local golf pro in Honolulu and then reached out to an old friend who was a member at Bel-Air.  A few days prior to my date to play Riviera I received a text from my friend asking if I could play Bel-Air the day before Riviera.  I looked at my flight schedule and saw that I could not make the Bel-Air date because that was the day I arrive in Los Angeles.  I called my airline and changed the flight (at no additional cost - thanks Hawaiian Air).  This put me in LA in time to play Bel-Air.  Just entering Bel-Air is an experience.  The iconic gate off Sunset leads you through a beautiful street and then to the entrance of the club.  Upon entering I was humbled and reflected on my golf life.  Here I am a hacker who just picked up his first golf club less than five years ago.  Now I am playing Bel-Air and Riviera in the same week.  So blessed to have this opportunity and I wanted to take it all in.  This means slowly walking through the hallways and locker room taking in the photographs, displays and history.  There is so much history at Bel-Air and there is a feeling of respect for the game and players here.  The members that we met during our day of golf were all pleasant and happy.  Not as stuffy as I thought.  We had a few celebrity sightings and they appeared to be just another golfers enjoying the club.  We dined on Burgers and Sandwiches in the Clubhouse where I discovered fresh (not fried) Calamari with Hot Wings Sauce.  Absolutely delicious!  The day of golf here was kind of magical.  Taking in each hole and always looking around to make sure I was not missing anything.  Cannot thank my host enough for allowing me and a few friends to spend this special day at his club.  Truly one of the coolest golf experiences of my life!
Below is some history on Bel-Air Country Club taken from the internet.

Bel-Air Country Club
Founded 1927
Initiation Fee $150,000-$250,000
Members Often described as the most clubby of the seven, Bel-Air boasts Jack Nicholson(who also belongs to Lakeside), Roger BirnbaumQuaidLuke WilsonLeslie Moonves, WME's Patrick WhitesellKelsey GrammerJack WagnerChuck Lorre, CBS' Armando NunezTom RothmanClint Eastwood and Tom Cruise (who's known for his $100 tips). "It's a nice environment. The guys all like each other. Some of us at Riviera are envious of it, but we love our golf course," says a Riviera member.
The Course Bel-Air is renowned for its verdant grounds and a creatively routed layout (because of its canyon site) that makes for a variety of approach shots and takes players across one bridge, through four tunnels and on two elevators. No shorts may be worn -- the club is long pants only. And there's also a strict policy against cell phones anywhere, even in the parking lot. As at Riviera, the first hole is quite visible from the clubhouse, so much so that one Hollywood mogul is said never to have played it when he was first learning the game out of fear of embarrassment.
Hollywood History Howard Hughes famously landed his plane there when he was late for a golf date with Katharine Hepburn. After the club towed the plane and handed him the bill, he refused to pay and resigned his membership. Past members have included Ronald ReaganBing CrosbyRichard NixonHumphrey BogartClark GableJames StewartFred Astaire and Spencer Tracy.
In a town where relationships are everything, Los Angeles' ultra-exclusive golf clubs reign as some of the top spots for power-networking. The fairways of the city's private golf clubs are also where Hollywood's boys club -- yes, it is 99 percent boys -- is most unabashedly on display.
It's a tightly controlled world of acceptances, rejections and wait lists. Getting in takes big bucks (the top initiation fee, Riviera Country Club's, is a whopping $250,000) and good words from powerful friends; even Mark Wahlberg needed to make calls to get into Riviera.
But no matter how much money or influence they have, entertainment types still find it nearly impossible to get into certain places. The Wilshire Country Club and the Los Angeles Country Club historically did not admit Jewish members, who then formed Hillcrest Country Club and, later, Brentwood. A bastion of bankers and corporate execs, LACC remains hands-down the most clannish and is known for shunning entertainment types in general.
"What I think is funny is that all of us who drive in and out of Beverly Hills drive right past L.A. Country Club," says an entertainment-world golfer. "We can sit in the front row of anything we want, but those gates are closed to us."
That has made the concentration of entertainment types at other courses more pronounced. But many players say it's a misconception that deals go down on the course. "People think a lot of Hollywood business is being conducted, but very little gets discussed," says a member at Bel-Air Country Club.
The game "can also be relationship-killing," says producer Neal H. Moritz, a Brentwood member who plays regularly with Modern Family's Steve Levitan and CAA's Dan Aloni. Explains a Riviera member: "The guy who throws his clubs is not going to convince you off the course that he's not a hothead. People can really size you up, your best traits to your worst.
THE ICONIC ENTRANCE TO BELAIR COUNTRY CLUB ACROSS SUNSET FROM UCLA AT THE WEST GATE OF BEL-AIR
WALKING INTO THE LOCKER ROOM HERE WAS HUMBLING AND A GREAT EXPERIENCE
HOLLYWOOD'S MOVERS AND SHAKERS PUT ON THEIR GOLF SHOES HERE
I WAS GIVEN KEN VENTURE LOCKER FOR THE DAY - THIS WAS AN HONOR 





MY BUDDY CHRIS GIVEN ARNOLD PALMERS LOCKER FOR THE DAY
CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY CASES LINE THE WALLS AT BEL-AIR







TAKING IN GOLF HISTORY IS WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CLUBS LIKE BEL-AIR







HOLE #1 AT BEL-AIR
HOLE #1 APPROACH SHOT
HOLE #2
APPROACH SHOT ON #2
HOLE #3
HOLE #4
HOLE #5

HOLE #6
HOLE #7
HOLE #8 WITH WATER ON LEFT - GUESS WHERE I ENDED UP?
MY BALL ROLLED INTO THE CREEK
MY BALL AND MY BEER
HOLE #9
HOLE #10
THE FAMOUS BEL-AIR BRIDGE LEADS TO THE #10 GREEN AND BACK NINE
GREAT VIEW FROM BRIDGE LOOKING BACK AT UCLA
LOOKING BACK AT THE BEL-AIR CLUBHOUSE FROM HOLE #10
HOLE #11
HOLE #12
BEAUTIFUL MULT-MILLON DOLLAR HOMES LINE THE FAIRWAYS AT BEL-AIR

HOLE #13
HOLE #14
HOLE #15
COULD CERTAINLY LAND A PLANE OF THIS FAIRWAY
HOLE #16
HOLE #17
FORMER HOME OF FRED ASTAIRE


AWESOME DAY PLAYING BEL-AIR.  MANY THANKS TO OUR GREAT HOST!

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