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Tuesday
Mar192013

Chambers Bay Definitely Still Hosting The U.S. Open

Not sure when Blaine Newnham's item appeared on Cybergolf, but he reports that conditions are improving at 2015 U.S. Open host Chambers Bay. The story also includes some fantastic site visit photos with architect Robert Trent Jones and the USGA's Mike Davis disagreeing talking shop.

There won't be a clubhouse or the hole-by-hole people moving system that U.S. Amateur spectators recommended, nor does it sound like the option to arrive by water or rail will be in play as hoped. But there will be grass on the greens, that logo, an event in Tacoma in three years and some radical day-to-day setup touches that should be fun to watch.

"The reports I have on Chambers Bay are very, very positive," Davis said recently. "I'm excited."

Davis has always been a fan of Chambers Bay, seeing the potential for an Open in the refurbished sand pit alongside Puget Sound before most did; even before he became executive director of the USGA.

At the time the moss problem was finally attacked, the greens didn't survive the treatment very well. They just weren't very healthy. At that point Pierce County, which owns the course, and KemperSports, which manages it, made a decision to hire Eric Johnson as director of agronomy and promote Josh Lewis to superintendent. Before coming to Chambers Bay, both had experience growing and maintaining fescue at Bandon Dunes, about 400 miles to the south on Oregon's Pacific Coast.

For the first time, greens seem to be holding their own against winter and increased play by locals. Because the Open is held in June and not August as was the Amateur, the fairways and greens won't be butterscotch brown and hard as pavement, but they should be appropriately firm and at the same time free of native grasses.

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Reader Comments (17)

Just played it last week and it's definitely improving. They have personnel on each green consistently pulling out any poa grass. The greens are rolling much better than last year and overall the course condition has improved.

It's still going to be a bear for spectators in many holes to navigate steep hills, but it'll be a fun Open to watch.
03.20.2013 | Unregistered Commenterpg
Is it time to call in Rees to fix this good and proper?
03.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Sounds like a train wreck in the making. I can't believe how much course tinkering is going on, and this quote is just insane: "At one point, Jones admitted his firm had pushed the envelope on some of the greens and, in some cases, pushed it too far. During the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay, of 90 balls that landed on the first green only eight stayed there. Many rolled more than 100 yards off the green."
03.20.2013 | Unregistered Commentersf
Kemper would do well to make sure golf shoes are cleaned before play. If'n they want to be proactive on the Poa.
03.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Clayman
This sounds like an awfully gimmicky course to have our national championship on. I've never played it but I did watch the Am when it was played there and it didn't seem like the kind of course suited to determine a US Open champion. Rather, it was about who got the lucky bounce. We have so many other good courses in this country that should be considered and pursued. Chicago Golf Club anyone?
03.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris from DE
Photo shows Mike Davis with Rees Jones, not Trent Jr.
03.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeida maven
I'm bad on faces, Media maven. I just know what I read.
03.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Photo shows Mike Davis in an Old Macdonald stocking cap.
03.20.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
Meida....why would Rees be touring Mike around Chambers Bay? They are brothers and look alike, I know, but that's His Bobbyness.
03.20.2013 | Registered CommenterGeoff
The ad rates for golf in prime time will make this all worth it.
03.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStreaky Putter
Is this place still hemorrhaging cash?
03.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
So we all kinda think this is a, ahh, risky decision to stage an Open here. Do we have faith that the usga is competent to stage this event? Will the bring the guys who burned out the greens at Shinny?
For the Good of the Game!
03.20.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
After meeting JR a couple of times, I thought he kind of had a 'big head'. The hat in this picture confirms it!
03.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
Chris, isn't gimmicky what the USGA likes? Now they don't have to do anything to it, it's already gimmicked up.

Maven, I thought the same thing upon first glance, but it's not Rees.
03.20.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
So, I've played the course long before even the U.S. Amateur...I didn't find it gimmicky at all. It's definitely firm - the ball will bounce -, but in the end: You have to hit got shots to the right spots. Period. Gimmicky makes it sound as if luck plays a big role...I didn't think you needed any more luck at Chambers Bay than you'd need most anywhere else to shoot a good score. It wasn't exceptionally dry when I played, so even the 1st green wasn't that much of an issues. I recall 7 being ridiculous - definitely came up short and had my ball roll 50 yards down the hill.

My question is: Where are they going to put the spectators on 15, 16, and 17? Grandstands on the railroad tracks, I presume?
03.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex H.
My crew plays a lot of golf at Bandon and to a golfer will not exit off I5 to play Chambers. They all have and don't care to do so again.
03.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPasaplayer
This course definitely makes the cream rise to the top. The final four amateurs in 2010 were: the defending champ (An Byeong-hun), the best college golfer that year and probably best overall amateur (who ended up winning, Peter Uihlein), a-then top three amateur in the world (David Chung) and another great amateur who finished second the next year at Erin Hills and who was the number one golfer in the World Amateur Golf Ranking for a record 55 weeks and has been scorching it as a PGA tour rookie this year (Patrick Cantlay). Chambers Bay is awesome as a championship course, although for pure enjoyment I can't fault those of you who poo-poo this course when compared to the Bandon experience.
03.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

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