This week is the U.S. Open, the second “major” golf tournament of the year.
Unlike in years past, this year’s U.S. Open will not feature thick rough and narrow fairways.
Instead, it will be played on a links-style course just outside of Seattle.
The course is called Chambers Bay, and it is going to drive the professionals crazy. The greens have wild undulations. The fairways have fescue grass, which is more coarse than the grass on traditional courses.
Chambers Bay is a links-style public course that was built in 2007 by Robert Trent Jones II. It was built on a former gravel mine. It’s a seriously gorgeous golf course with jaw dropping views of the Puget Sound.
Here's an overview of the whole course from the restaurant at the top of the property. A shuttle takes you down to the driving range and the course. On the right is the par-5 eighth hole.
Here's the awesome message inscribed on the range balls. More people should take this to heart. Playing the tips of a course is generally pointless, unless you're a single digit handicapper who booms drives.
The first hole dogs out to the right. For the US Open, this hole will play as a par 4 two days, and a par 5 two days.
One of the things that stands out about the course is how the fairways bleed straight into the greens. In this photo you can't spot where the fairways end and greens begin. For the U.S. Open, the plan is to spray paint the sprinkler heads so the pros know where the green starts.
Here's what the greens look like zoomed in. They're super hard greens. There were no ball marks. But, they're still pretty receptive. I kept expecting to get the back to kick forward 10 yards, but the ball would pretty much stick to the spot I hit it.
The course doesn't allow carts, which is awesome. Carts are the worst. If you don't want to carry your bag, you can get a pull cart, or a caddy.
This is the second hole. It has traps down the left, open fairway on the right. The play is come up short of the traps on the left and take a straight shot to the green. But, playing the right side is fine, too. (That's what I did. A three-putt gave me a bogey.)
A view from the fifth hole looking back at the Puget Sound. These views are all over the place, and they're fantastic.
It's hard to see here, but on the green of the par-4 seventh hole, there's a massive drop-off on the green just a few paces from the hole. I assume the pros will have to deal with this pin position. They will hate it.
This is the green of the par-5 eighth hole. A kid in my group who is going to play golf at Fordham ripped a 2-iron ~247 yards and nailed the putt for an eagle. (Me? I three putted for a bogey.)
This is a shot from the tee box of the twelfth hole, looking at the short par-3 fifteenth hole. That tree in the distance is the only tree on the property.
This is my ball sitting on the green of the easily drivable par-4 twelfth hole. This photo doesn't do justice to the roller coaster green. It's the biggest green on the property and it's a really tough two-putt.
After a short par-4, you get a super long par-4. I hit a hooked driver, then a 3-wood into the green.
And finally, here's the eighteenth hole from the back tees. It will play as a par 5 two days and a par 4 two days. The green is wavy and has a back stop. If the pin is at the back of the green, the pros will be able to slam their shots into this green and have the ball feed back to the hole, which will be an awesome way to get birdies and eagles. (The concrete on the right side is from the original mining operation.)
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