Host of the 2010 US Amateur and venue of the 2015 US Open
Chambers Bay is a very young (opened in 2007) golf course, but it’s already a Championship course. It’s already been the host of the US Amateur in 2010 and will be the venue for the 2015 US Open Championship.
The course is designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., who has designed 270+ courses around the world (www.rtj2.com). I and my playing partners (Charlie and Tony) had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Trent Jones at Chambers Bay. He gave us very interesting and valuable insight about links golf and the creation of Chambers Bay. Thanks for taking the time to meet with us.
Greens (by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.)
The gears shift, dust flows free, the soil moves, near the sea.
Noise pierces the driver’s eardrums, rock’n roll on the dozer ’til they’re numb.
Shaping the features from the land, glazing it with crystal sand.
Designers draw wonders from their pens, but builders are my special friends.
Golf courses become art, from their work and from their heart.
Arms and legs work the blade with skillful motion, sweat crusted backs moving in rotation.
Creating great greenscapes now, green lungs against the urban plow.
Yes, Chambers Bay is certainly a Championship course. The conditions of the golf course is good and will get better and better after each year of aging. It’s a tough course and almost every hole gives you a choice on how you want to play it. Regardless of your choice you always need to think about where to put the ball to get the best position for your next shot.
You’ll find some very long par 4’s, tricky par 3’s, wide fairways that narrows down towards the green where you’ll have majority of the trouble. The variation of the holes are great and each hole is set up to have options on how the hole will be played, i.e. many tee boxes from different angles, etc. The tee boxes are also not flat which gives another dimension to what shot you’ll play.
It’s certainly a fun challenge to play the course and the holes that stand out to me are:
Hole 1 – 465 yards par 4
Talk about setting the tone already on the first hole – 465 yards par 4!!! You’ll have a breathtaking view of the Puget Sound in the background. Your preferred line off tee is the elevated right side of the fairway to get the best angle to the green for your second. Don’t worry too much if you can’t reach the green on your second, a bogey 5 is very good on this opening hole.
Hole 9 – 202 yards par 3
You’ll have a great view of the entire course from tee and the hole drops about 100 feet to a peninsula green protected by numerous bunkers. Play short left on green since it slopes to the right. A 7-iron short on green and two put for a par.
Hole 12 – 262 yards par 4
This is a short and intriguing up hill hole. It’s a 30-ft narrow fairway between large sand dunes to a natural amphitheatre where the green is. It’s by no means an easy green, it has some bold contours. This is the time for creativity and shot making, risk and reward or punishment. Great fun hole. Good drive ended up 1 foot short and in fairway bunker. Out of the bunker short of green and three put for a bogey 5.
Hole 16 – 359 yards par 4
This hole plays along the water and you’ll have a large deep sandy area on the entire right hand side. You decide how much you’ll dare to cut off when hitting the tee shot over the sandy area to a fairly narrow fairway. The approach shot is even more intimidating to a very small green that’s protected with deep bunkers to the right. This hole will test your club selection and precision. Good fairway wood off tee, good 3-iron short of green followed by a three put for a bogey 5. Yes, the strong wind and rain was right in my face!
Course improvements are going on to make the course even better for the 2015 US Open. It’s primarily work on some of the greens.
My friends Charlie Bernstein and Tony Martin joined me at Chambers Bay. We had 12 holes of very good golf weather and then we finished in rain. Tony handled the situation best and shot an 82 – well done. I was OK up to the rain with a 39 on the front nine and then it fell apart with a 47 on the back nine for a total of 86 shots. Couldn’t handle the strong wind and rain on the back nine.
One thing is for sure; Chambers Bay is a very good Championship course that also can be enjoyed by other then great champions. I know that I’ll come back and play it again – need to beat the 86 I shot today.