The 2023 U.S. Open course and the Playboy Mansion: The wildest of bedfellows

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The Los Angeles Nation Membership’s 14th tee — and a 2008 photograph of its next-door neighbor.

Nick Piastowski and Getty Photos

LOS ANGELES — Warning!!! 

You’ll be studying about Playboy over the subsequent couple minutes. 

And Playboy Playmates. And Hef. There’ll be photos. And a video. So yeah, the warning is to possibly flag your boss and family members about precisely what you’re doing right here. 

I did. 

Me, not too long ago, in a Slack word, to my editor: “I most likely ought to provide you with a heads-up that I’m doing a whole lot of Googling and clicking on ‘Playboy’ and ‘Playboy Mansion’ and ‘The Ladies Subsequent Door’ as we speak and it’s for WORK — in case IT comes knocking.”

My editor, in response: “lollllllll.”


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Sure, for those who like your U.S. Opens risqué, with a contact of ooh la la, then this week’s, at Los Angeles Nation Membership, is for you — although it has little to do with LACC itself. (The membership is flashy, however, by all accounts, shouldn’t be a spot for individuals who flash.)

No, no, the aptitude at this week’s U.S. Open is due to one in all LACC’s neighbors, which is only a quick pitch shot to the left of the thirteenth inexperienced, and instantly to the proper of the 14th tee. From the course, it’s almost absolutely clothed. Almost.

The Playboy Mansion is proper there, full with 30-some rooms, a grotto and tales that might make even inexperienced grass blush. 10236 Charing Cross Street, if you wish to mail a Christmas card.

From an L.A. perspective, you barely bat an eye fixed. That is Tinseltown. Hollywood. And LACC is smack-dab in the course of all of it. Perhaps this says all of it: Once I informed my Uber driver one morning that I used to be visiting the Playboy property, he mentioned: “Welcome to L.A., man.” However from the golf viewpoint, possibly this says all of it: Two weeks in the past, when requested by the Related Press’ Doug Ferguson on the Memorial if he was conscious of the mansion’s whereabouts, Rory McIlroy mentioned: “Yeah, I’ve heard of it” — then proceeded to giggle like a teen. 

So it’s not precisely a secret, although it’s not on the checklist of LACC membership advantages, both. It’s actually one thing. On this nook of SoCal, you’ve gotten one of the crucial prestigious and personal golf golf equipment on this planet — and it rubs elbows with the previous dwelling of Hugh Hefner, a person who, we’ll say, revealed {a magazine} finest recognized for its photos. Granted, the heyday is probably going over, however nonetheless, you surprise.

Did golfers peep over? 

Did mansion friends do the identical? What about Hef? Or the Playmates? 

Kinda makes for essentially the most curious of bedfellows, doesn’t it? 

What’s it like on the LACC aspect? That’s the place I used to be Tuesday. Time to start out asking the robust questions. 

The scene on Tuesday from Los Angeles Nation Membership’s 14th tee.

Nick Piastowski

Me to Collin Morikawa, an LACC vet, at his pre-tournament press convention, in entrance of about 50 individuals: “I’m curious, within the occasions you’ve performed right here, have you ever heard any unusual tales or heard any unusual noises close to the world close to the 14th tee?”

[Audience laughter.]

Morikawa to me: [Pauses.] [Smiles.] [Finally speaks.] “No, I haven’t. Have you ever?”

Me to Morikawa: “I’ve not but.”

Hmm. Let’s ask Patrick Cantlay, one other LACC vet, at his pre-tournament press convention, in entrance of about 50 individuals. 

“I’m curious, within the occasions you’ve been right here, have you ever heard any bizarre tales — [Cantlay’s face begins to slightly contort] or heard any bizarre noises within the space to the proper of the 14th tee?” 

[Audience laughter.]

Cantlay: “Yeah, you may hear the monkeys virtually each time you return there. There’s a bunch of different wildlife again there that you could hear often.”

How enjoyable is that! 

Let’s stroll over to the Playboy Mansion, lets?

You begin to hear issues on the thirteenth fairway. There are sounds from the mansion’s zoo. [More on that in a sec.] Fowl chirps and hen squeaks. There are different noises, although. These are from a special type of animal. 


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“Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” a fan shouts out to Aussie Cam Smith.

“Get together on the Playboy!” 

Smith laughs. So of us right here know the legend. Or some do. Let’s cross over to 14. For the gamers, it’s a couple of 100-yard stroll from the thirteenth inexperienced to the 14th tee — the place they’re welcomed by a 20-foot tall, grass-lined fence to the proper of the field. However first we cease about 200 yards up the golf green, the place there are two cops. 

“I received to ask,” I ask each officers. “Have you learnt what’s on the opposite aspect of the fence?”

“Noooo!” one officer says. “No concept!”

“Playboy Mansion.”

[Silence.]

“No approach!” one says.

“We had been kinda questioning,” says the opposite. “Individuals have been wanting. Thanks for the information!”

You’re welcome! Let’s go to the tee field. Above the grass fence there are two safety cameras. That’s attention-grabbing. Gamers can wait right here. They will speak. They will — nicely, let’s ask a employee right here what he’s seen and heard as we speak. He says he is aware of what’s on the opposite aspect of the fence. 

“What’s the strangest response somebody’s needed to, uh, what’s over there?”

“Would you like the safe-for-work model, or the not-so-safe?”


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[LOL!]

“I would like them each! I’m with Golf Journal, and I understand how to maintain it clear.” [You can laugh here.] 

“Perhaps it’s finest that I don’t bear in mind the title, however they had been all going as much as the tower [the TV tower behind the 13th green], as a result of that’s the hen’s-eye view, and so they’re like, ‘The place are all the ladies at?’”

OK. 

Ooh, right here comes Justin Suh. He’s from San Jose. Went to USC. He hits. We stroll. That is great.  

“Have you learnt what’s on the opposite aspect of that fence?”

“Yeah, the Playboy Mansion.”

“Is that the weirdest factor you’ve seen on a golf course?”

“No, probably not.”

Actually?

“I believe this one course had a shoot for Triple X. [What?] Yeah, you see some wild stuff round right here.”

Actually! And Suh is off.

Ooh, right here comes Bryson DeChambeau. He’s from Modesto, which is in the course of the state. He hits. We stroll. That is nice. 


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“Have you learnt what’s on the opposite aspect of the fence there?”

“Playboy Mansion, proper?” he says. 

“Is that the weirdest neighbor to a golf course you’ve ever seen?”

“Oh completely. I imply, so many issues have gone on in that place.” 

[He laughs.]

And he’s off.  

As for LACC itself? Unsurprisingly, they saved their emotions near the vest. I referred to as the membership, was ultimately referred to a strategic communications agency and was later rejected. I thanked a lady named Lisa for attempting. However there are nonetheless some tales on the market. 

And LACC does have the phrases “Playboy Mansion” on its web site. 

Simply click on right here, scroll down a bit — then scroll up a bit on the map. The instructions tab reveals you the proximity.    

That’s the place I attempted to go later Tuesday.

From either side of the fence. 

What’s it like on the mansion aspect? To get there from my spot at LACC — the membership is at 10101 Wilshire Blvd, if you wish to ship fan mail — I began on Comstock Avenue, walked previous the Armand Hammer par-3 course, turned proper on South Beverly Glen Boulevard, turned proper on Charing Cross Street, turned left on South Mapleton Drive, turned proper on Charing Cross Street once more and walked a couple of quarter-mile. I used to be greeted by, from left to proper, a brown boulder that seems to have as soon as been an intercom system [I snuck under some yellow tape and tried to ring the bell, but it was broken], a black gate, 24 development indicators and a dug-up driveway. 

Certainly. The mansion is having some work executed. 

The scene on Tuesday on the Playboy Mansion.

Nick Piastowski

Hefner died in 2017, although one 12 months earlier, he offered his 20,000-square-foot dwelling for someplace simply north of 9 figures to his next-door neighbor, Daren Metropoulos. [Notably, as a condition of the sale, Hefner continued to live in the house until his death.] Metropoulos is a principal at Metropoulos & Co., an funding agency, and he can afford issues. He’s restoring the house. Or most of it. In keeping with a Wall Avenue Journal story written in 2016 by Laura Kusisto and Candace Taylor, Metropoulos mentioned in an announcement “he’s much less within the fame the mansion earned over the previous 4 many years as a playground for Playboy bunnies and extra desirous about preserving its architectural pedigree.” 

For this story, I attempted to get in contact with Metropoulos, however didn’t get a response again.

If the scene exterior the mansion on Tuesday was any indication, the social gathering’s most likely over. However there’s one thing to be mentioned for the social gathering that was as soon as right here. Sure, the Hefner mansion had its run, and sure, there are tales, and sure, we’ll go away it largely at that. Principally. As a result of we’ve heard a few golf tales, too, and so they might paint the mansion-LACC relationship, if not the general vibe, do you have to even be curious in regards to the libidinous life-style that began when Hef purchased the pad in 1971 for simply over a $1 million.

So what’s the story with the animal noises? The mansion had a zoo license, and based on a New York Publish story written in 2017 by Francesca Bacardi, there have been “monkeys, cockatoos, peacocks, African cranes, parrots, toucans, pelicans and doves.” (The Publish additionally reported animals might keep below Metropoulos, so possibly not all the things will go away.) Are they a distraction? On Tuesday, Cantlay mentioned he wasn’t bothered. However what about members over time? Seemingly not. However there’s this story, written Tuesday by the New York Publish’s Mark Cannizzaro. Hefner had needed to construct a helipad. The membership mentioned no. Hefner mentioned he would develop into a member if it helped LACC. The membership mentioned no. So he constructed the zoo. There’s extra. 

Had you heard about how Hefner provided Playboy Bunny appearances to LACC? Golf Hefner. Bear in mind the par-3 we handed by on the best way to the mansion? In keeping with an article written in 2016 by J.I.B. Jones of the Golf Historic Society, the then-Holmby Park Golf Course was “threatened with closure, because of a metropolis of Los Angeles funds disaster, however was saved on the final minute by neighbors Hugh Hefner of Playboy Mansion West and Occidental Petroleum billionaire Armand Hammer, whose title now adorns the course.”

Hefner owned properties, too. In keeping with Fox6, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, a 36-hole facility situated southwest of town of Milwaukee, initially opened in 1968 because the Lake Geneva Playboy Membership Lodge. And Nice Gorge golf course, a observe in Vernon Township, N.J., was opened in 1970 by Hefner and operated because the golf course for the Nice Gorge Playboy Membership. (Notably, based on a membership spokesman, the course shut down for 2 years, however has not too long ago been revitalized — and its restaurant known as Hef’s Hut.)


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However the man needed in to LACC. In keeping with a Golf Digest story written in 2016 by John Strege: “Hefner needed to put in a gate alongside the again fence, linking his yard to the course, and requested Los Angeles CC for permission to take action. He was mentioned to have provided up an occasional look by a Playboy Bunny as an incentive to get the membership to agree. For sure, no gate was ever constructed.” We’ll add no extra to that. There’s extra. 

Had you heard in regards to the April Idiot’s prank? Oh, that is good. GOLF fell for it. And Golf Digest. And CBS Sports activities. And Vainness Honest. In 2015, Hefner’s web site revealed an article entitled: “So, There Had been Tunnels to Celeb Houses Under the Playboy Mansion.” The story described blueprints for tunnels from the Playboy Mansion “to the houses of ‘Mr. J. Nicholson,’ ‘Mr. W. Beatty,’ ‘Mr. Okay. Douglas’ and ‘Mr. J. Caan ‘” — and people tunnels ran beneath LACC. Whoa! So GOLF revealed a narrative. The others did too. Sadly, nobody learn to the underside of the unique story — which mentioned: “Examine the date of this text. Glad April Fools’, pals!”) [I tried to reach out to Playboy, too, but didn’t get a response back — which, in this case, may be a good thing.]

There’s another story. Had you heard about how that grass fence wasn’t all the time there? And that you might see, uh, stuff? Right here’s this from a narrative written in 1995 by Alan Shipnuck for Sports activities Illustrated: “‘You used to have the ability to see straight into the yard,’ says Biff Naylor, an LACC member since 1964. ‘Early tee occasions Sunday morning had been fairly well-liked, since you may look in on all of Saturday evening’s partiers handed out by the pool. And sometimes there was even a scantily clad girl to be seen.’”

Heyyyy, heyyyy. There’s the ooh la la. 

Then once more … 

Perhaps you can nonetheless see contained in the mansion. 

Again to the 14th tee on Tuesday. The employee there informed me extra. 

“When you go straight down this path,” he mentioned, pointing to a barely recognizable spot behind the 14th tee, “you see all of the spider monkeys of their cages.”

Oh actually?

“Yeah, there’s like six or seven of them. They usually’re like, ‘Coo, coo, coo, coo, coo.”

And gamers went down there?

“Oh, yeah, there’s like six or seven of them.”

Oh actually? I went too. Needed to. It’s a downhill, winding path. I noticed thorns. I noticed snake holes. Then it’s again up a brief upslope, amongst bushes and weeds. However there have been the tiny monkeys. Perhaps about 15 in all. I requested all of them who was going to win this week. I did get one monkey to applaud. I’m undecided what that meant. Rory? Brooks? Phil? Let’s proceed.   

I recorded all of it. 

And I confirmed it to DeChambeau. 

“Have you learnt in regards to the secret path behind the 14th tee?”

He didn’t.

“Do you wish to see it? I received video.”

He did. The video performed.

“Oh, that’s so cool,” DeChambeau mentioned. “Have a look at the monkeys. That’s wonderful.”

I confirmed the video to Suh, too. 

“Have you learnt in regards to the secret path behind the 14th gap?”

“I heard about it,” he mentioned. 

“Do you wish to see what’s again there?”

I confirmed him my cellphone. 

“Oh, I heard in regards to the monkeys. … Oh, they’re nonetheless there. Wow! Jesus. 

“They give the impression of being wholesome, too.” 

They certain did. 

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Journal. In his position, he’s liable for modifying, writing and growing tales throughout the golf area. And when he’s not writing about methods to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native might be taking part in the sport, hitting the ball left, proper and quick, and ingesting a chilly beer to clean away his rating. You’ll be able to attain out to him about any of those matters — his tales, his recreation or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.

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