In a city with the largest municipal golf system in the United States, Holmby is the smallest muni, a tiny patch of green situated in the shadow of LACC.
Holmby costs 3 bucks to play, and you get what you pay for. To call it a “course” is to put it kindly. Really, it’s a pint-sized pitch-and-putt, contained within a park of the same name, with no shot longer than 50 yards. Conditioning is hit or miss. For long stretches of the year, the greens are left so shaggy that it’s hard to distinguish them from the fairways. Finding your target gets even tougher in the afternoon; they pull the flagsticks up every day at 2 p.m.
Holmby was built in the 1920s, a Golden-Age creation, though there is some debate about its pedigree. Golf historians have suggested that its original routing was dreamed up either by William P. Bell or (LACC designer) George C. Thomas. Whatever the case, the layout was reconfigured more than once in subsequent decades, in part to make room for a playground at the park’s north end.
Holmby wasn’t always known as Holmby. For years, its name was Armand Hammer Golf Course, in honor of the famed industrialist who helped preserve the course when it came under the threat of closure. Some locals have a cheeky moniker for the place: they call it Tori Pines, as in the actress Tori Spelling, who grew up in a 123-room extravagance just up the street.
Holmby remains a magnet for non-golf recreation: yoga, tai chi, soccer, frisbee. Every now and then, it draws golfers, too, but never in droves. And on most days, its tees and greens sit empty, playing grounds so quiet they could almost be mistaken for an exclusive club.
From For $3, you can play the course next door to U.S. Open site Los Angeles Country Club, by Josh Sens, GOLF.com