Chambers Bay, Site of 2015 U.S. Open, to Host 87th Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship

May 31, 2013 by  
Filed under Highlights, What's New?

The Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) has officially announced Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. as the host site for the 87th Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship. This will be the first WSGA championship held at Chambers. The dates of the championship are June 18-20, 2013.

“We are very excited,” said Matt Allen, general manager at Chambers Bay. “It’s a natural continuation of the strong relationship that Chambers Bay and Pierce County have with the WSGA, going back to the U.S. Amateur at The Home Course, and prior.”

The championship traditionally attracts the finest players in the state. Last year’s champion was Chris Williams, who dominated the field, winning by 10 strokes on the Eagles Pride Golf Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Williams, from Moscow, Idaho and now a senior on the University of Washington men’s golf team, is currently the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, according the World Amateur Golf Rankings. He is the 2012 WSGA Men’s Player of the Year, a title he also won in 2011.

Past champions of the Washington State Men’s Amateur include Fred Couples, Alex Prugh, Brock Mackenzie, Kermit Zarley, John Bodenhamer and PNGA Hall of Famers Al Mengert, Bud Ward, Jack Westland and Harry Givan.

Fresh off hosting the U.S. Amateur in 2010, Chambers Bay will serve as the venue for the 115th U.S. Open from June 18-21, 2015, marking the first time the U.S. Open will be held in the Pacific Northwest.  The exposure and word of mouth resulting from the nearly 250,000 expected spectators and millions of worldwide viewers are likely to bring increased activity to the course, as well as surrounding businesses. Pierce County is currently in collaboration with the USGA and Robert Trent Jones II golf course architects to make improvements to the course in preparation for the best players in the world.

“What’s unique about Chambers Bay is that it will do as good a job as any course of identifying the best players,” said Allen. “It’s imminently fair and playable, because there are no forced carries or trees, and yet the layout is such that it can be set up to host a U.S. Amateur and a U.S. Open.”

Designed by Robert Trent Jones II and opened for play in 2007, Chambers Bay provides unparalleled views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains and an unrivaled, Scottish-style environment that tests the players’ imagination and shot-making. The 7,585 yard, par 72 layout, located just outside Tacoma and only 35 minutes from Seattle, sits among windswept dunes and native fescue grasses, demanding creativity and strategy, as each player must play to his or her strengths.

“With all the new changes in preparation for the Open, Chambers Bay was really excited to host this championship and see what the golf course can do,” said Scotty Crouthamel, Senior Director of Rules and Competition for the WSGA.

The Washington State Men’s Amateur will also be experiencing a bit of a facelift in 2013, as the WSGA Championship Committee voted to modify the championship’s format. The new format calls for 54-holes of stroke play, with a cut to the top 60 and ties after 36 holes. “We are excited at this time when the WSGA is revitalizing the format,” said Allen. “We wanted to help with that and feel Chambers Bay will bring additional exposure such that it would be the right time to embark on the new approach.”

Another change to the championship’s format relates to the field size, which will be decreased to 120 players. Of those 120 players, roughly half the field will earn exemptions into the championship based on their qualifications. The WSGA is currently in the process of preparing the exemption criteria. The remaining players must qualify at one of two qualifying sites. The West qualifier will be held June 5 on the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash., while the East qualifier is set for June 6 at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash.

“This is the premier amateur championship in the state and we are thrilled to have Chambers Bay host in 2013,” said Crouthamel. “The change in format coupled with the caliber of Chambers Bay should attract the top amateurs and make for an extremely exciting championship.”

Allen agreed. “This is perfect timing,” he said. “More importantly, the Washington State Amateur should be every bit as strong as the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship and other top amateur championships in the country.”

For more information about the championship, or any of the 12 other WSGA championships held each year, go to www.thewsga.org.

WSGA Elects Frank Horton as President, Honors Volunteers at 91st Annual Meeting

December 1, 2012 by  
Filed under What's New?

Federal Way, Wash. – At the 91st WSGA Annual Meeting held October 27 at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent, Wash., Frank Horton of Bremerton, Wash. was elected President of the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA). At the banquet the night before the Annual Meeting, the WSGA named two of its longtime volunteers, Ray Monroe of Kelso, Wash. and Steve Kay of Burien, Wash., as recipients of the George Holland Volunteer of the Year award.

“Frank has been a dedicated volunteer of the WSGA, WJGA and the USGA for many years,” said Troy Andrew, WSGA CEO and Executive Director. “I am very excited to work closer with him in his new role as WSGA President. His thoughtful leadership and professional experience will make the WSGA a better organization.”

A native of the Northwest, Horton worked for 33 years at Bremerton’s Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in the Nuclear Engineering Department as a mechanical engineer. Before and since retiring in 2004, Frank devoted much of his time to the game of golf. First nominated to the WSGA Board of Directors in 2001, Horton has been a fixture in the region’s golf community. He has served on the WSGA Course Rating Committee for over 10 years, and served as WSGA secretary from 2005-2010. He is also a PNGA Hall of Fame Committee member. He was General Chairman for the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur, both of which were held at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton. The typical term of a WSGA President is two years.

“The game is much different today than it was in the past,” says Horton. “Trends are showing that many decisions won’t be easy to make. That is why I would like to devote my term to developing a strategic plan by gathering as much information as possible to make data-based decisions.  In addition to input from golfers and Club Reps, I want to reach out to the folks who run the fabulous courses in Washington to find out what the WSGA can do to help them grow the game of golf and be successful. Their success is our success.”

Horton has been a volunteer Rules Official for the WJGA for almost 15 years, and also works high school and college events, as well as PNGA and WSGA championships. He was an invited Rules Official for the 2010 U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club.

He has been married to his wife, Lynn, for nearly 38 years. Lynn, who was mayor of Bremerton from 1994 through 2001, is responsible for the building of the Olympic Course and the new clubhouse at city-owned Gold Mountain. They have one daughter, Leslie.

At the banquet the night before the Annual Meeting, the WSGA honored Ray Monroe and Steve Kay as recipients of the George Holland Volunteer of the Year award. Recipients of this award are selected each year by WSGA Past Presidents.

“Ray and Steve both gave a tremendous amount of time and effort to our Association this year,” said Andrew. “They really went ‘above and beyond,’ and are both so enjoyable to have around and be involved. They’re a great example of how much our volunteers mean to us, and to the game of golf. They really do make everything possible.”

Monroe is a Club Representative of Three Rivers Golf Club and also a member at Alderbrook Golf Club. He has been a Club Representative, for the WSGA and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA), since 1991, and has been a WSGA and PNGA Championship volunteer since ’91. An active member of the WSGA Course Rating Team for over 15 years, in 2012 Monroe volunteered for 34 course ratings throughout WSGA territory, including eight separate trips to Eastern Washington. No other course rater has ever volunteered for this many days in a single year.

Kay is a Club Representative of Riverbend Golf Complex in Kent. He has been a WSGA and PNGA Club Representative since 2006, and a volunteer at WSGA and PNGA Championships since 2007, where he serves as a Rules Official. In 2012, Kay volunteered for 27 days at WSGA and PNGA Championships, as well as USGA Qualifiers. A member of the WSGA Course Rating Team since 2007, Kay volunteered for eight course ratings in 2012, including three courses in the Spokane area.

The George Holland Award annually recognizes volunteers who have made extraordinary contributions to the WSGA and the game of golf throughout the WSGA territory of Washington and Northern Idaho. These dedicated individuals contribute many hours of time and effort, as well as resources, to the WSGA, simply for the satisfaction of knowing they are benefiting the game of golf. The award is named in honor of longtime volunteer, contributor and two-times past WSGA President, George Holland.

In 1922, the WSGA was established in order to conduct our state amateur golf championship.  Since its humble beginnings more than 85 years ago, the WSGA has evolved into one of the largest amateur golf associations in the United States, providing a multitude of benefits and services to approximately 80,000 individual men, women, senior, and junior members at over 600 member golf clubs and 270 golf courses throughout the state of Washington and Northern Idaho. The WSGA also works tirelessly to promote, foster, and grow the game of golf in its region through its support of golf related charities and “good for the game” programs.