As I pen my column this month, there are fewer than 29 days remaining until the attention of the golfing world is planted firmly on the fine fescue fairways of Chambers Bay to watch the world’s best compete for the 115th U.S. Open. Indeed, I find it somewhat surreal reflecting on what is to become a truly historic event for the Pacific Northwest. As Publisher of a regional publication that is focused on promoting and sharing the great spoils of our region, I share our golfing community’s overriding enthusiasm, confidence, and sense of anticipation of what we all hope will be a new era in solidifying Chambers Bay Golf Course as one of the best sites ever for a U.S. Open, while also firmly establishing the region as a truly first-class golf destination. We all know it, now it’s time to show the world this June 18-21.
The potential story lines of having the Chambers Bay Municipal Golf Course (built by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.) constructed on a former sand and gravel quarry adjacent to Puget Sound are seemingly endless. As of June, Chambers Bay can boast being only the 3rd muni and one of the newest to ever to host a U.S. Open. The historical significance of the Pacific Northwest region hosting a U.S. Open being played on a relatively untested links course, seeded entirely with fine fescues from tee to green, is remarkable. The adaptability of the course allows every hole to be played from different teeing grounds on different days, while providing the prospect of having the opening hole and 18, alternating between a par-4 and a par-5.
It’s impossible not to marvel at the tools available to USGA Executive Director Mike Davis and his team to ensure the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay remains the toughest test in golf. “It’s obviously expansive, and I say that because we don’t have anything that we play a U.S. Open on that’s remotely similar to this,” says Davis. “Another thing that’s very unique about Chambers Bay, relative to other U.S. Open sites, is that there are so many slopes and undulations to this property and the way it was designed.” Davis doesn’t mince words by making it clear that the player who plays two practice rounds and has the caddie walk the course with a yardage book in hand will not likely win the U.S. Open. “So, this is going to take the players and their caddies really studying the golf course to have success.”
Indeed, the practice rounds will be the first time most of the field will have played Chambers Bay, sans the likes of Jordan Spieth who competed in the 2010 U.S. Amateur but missed the match play portion of the tournament, courtesy of an 83. He’ll be looking for redemption as a little “nip and tuck” was performed to a number of greens in order to help hold approach shots. He will have the benefit of putting on greens with the stimp running 12-12.5—slightly more palatable than the rock-hard greens he played in 2010. Having the experienced Gig Harbor native, Michael Greller on his bag (who has played and caddied the course multiple times) won’t hurt either.
What else is noteworthy and considered a “first”?
- Based on the course set-up of Chambers Bay, the USGA Rating is 77.3. Slope rating is 145
- Total yardage range is from 7,200-7,600 yards
- Play to a par of 36-34-70 when the first hole is a par-5 and 35-35-70 when the 18th is a par-5
- Some of the widest fairways in U.S. Open history: 13th at Chambers Bay, 105 yards
- One of the longest par-3s in U.S. Open history: 15th at Chambers Bay, 2015, 246 yards
- Three of the longest par-4s in U.S. Open history:
- 11th at Chambers Bay, 537 yards
- 13th at Chambers Bay, 534 yards
- 14th at Chambers Bay, 546 yards
- FOX Sports first telecast of a USGA Major and other USGA Championships, courtesy of a 12 year agreement. Enter: Joe Buck, Greg Norman, and Holly Sonders
Want to know more about the course, key players, transportation, and spectator guidelines for tournament week? We’ve got you covered! We’re producing a Special U.S. Open E-zine that launches on Monday, June 15th and will be sent to your inbox. If you’re not already a Golf Today Northwest subscriber and you’d like to receive your own personal edition by email, be sure to sign up for your free subscription by clicking the button at the bottom of the page. This is your chance to read our first-hand interviews with defending champion, Martin Kaymer and course designer, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., as well as Ryan Moore, hole-by-hole descriptions, spectator information, and much much more! Sign up for FREE today!