With all of this rich history, Riviera is considered a legendary golf course. This is especially true amongst LA-area golfers. It is one of the local courses that all LA golfers would die to play, but the majority can't because it's a private golf club. Luckily, I had the rare opportunity to play Riviera as a guest 2 summers ago.
I had circled the date of my Riviera tee time on my calendar weeks in advance like it was a major milestone in my life. The course already occupied a special place in my heart because it was the site of the first professional golf tournament that I attended as a spectator. Watching the pros play Riviera in person was one of the main reasons that I took up the game seriously. Needless to say, my expectations to actually play the course were astronomical.
But like that blockbuster movie that you've been dying to see for months, my expectations for Riviera grew to such lofty heights that only golf nirvana would have satisfied them. My actual round got off to a bad start when I learned on the famous 75-foot elevated tee of the opening hole that it's green was under repair. So the first green that I played at Riviera was a chalk outline in the fairway!
I knew that my round was bound to improve, but somehow it just didn't improve enough. I just couldn't help but think throughout my round that Riviera was like a really nicely manicured $25 green fee LA muni. I realize that it's sacrilege to write that, but that's truly how I felt and still feel to this day. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice course, but not one that blew me away.
I realize that my grossly over-inflated expectations ruined my Riviera golf experience. Since that time, I try to play all new golf courses with an open mind. I don't try to read up too much about a new course or ask people for their opinions. I've learned that, like many things in life, golf is usually best enjoyed free of hype and expectations. Remember this the next time you're invited to play Augusta National!