I had mentioned in previous posts that my wonderful wife had paid for me to play a round at Chambers Bay Golf Course, home of the 2015 US Open. I know that many people have had the chance to play on courses that have hosted Major Golf Tournaments like Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, Kiawah, Pinehurst No. 2, even St. Andrews. While playing these courses you can look back at how players have approached each hole and try to attack it the same way.
What is special about Chambers Bay, at least for the next year and a half now, is that it has not yet hosted the major championship and so the big boys have not yet played on it. I couldn’t help but wonder on each tee, “Would Tiger, Phil or maybe Bubba get aggressive on this hole or would they lay up?”
Most Washington State courses have deep rough and trees that you are dealing with if you miss the fairways. At Chambers, you are dealing with waste bunkers and fescue grasses. The fescue was not very deep and was pretty patchy but I have a feeling it will be deeper for the Open. One of the caddies said there are rumors they are going to make this the longest Open course ever at 8,000+ yards!
While that sounds insane, the fairways are hard year round and have a TON of roll. I think I averaged about 300 yards with my Driver, seriously! They are also pretty wide and forgiving, I actually hit 9 of 14 fairways on the day and was crushing the ball off the tee. Even my stray shots were giving me good looks at the greens or to perfect lay up areas.
The greens are lightning! And I can only see them getting faster for the Open. I have never putted on this type of grass and it showed. The greens blended right into the tight cut fairways so you didn’t know where one began and the other ended. It was like putting on slightly fuzzy cement. While my final total of putts for the round was an embarrassment (41, sorry Putting Doctor, only left 3 putts short the whole round though! I just kept hammering them past) my putting did improve on the back 9 where my only 3 putt was from 100 feet.
The greens that I have played have almost always been green. Even the fast greens have been just soft enough to get wedges to check up. NOT HERE! My sand approach from 95 yards on the first hole with a sand wedge landed on the front two feet of the green, rolled 30 feet past the pin in the middle of the green, and ended up in a bunker behind the green. Now I know how Tiger felt at the British Open when he hit a wedge from 100 yards, landed it 10-15 yards in FRONT of the green and it rolled over the back.
The sand traps were very soft and sooooooo easy to get the ball out. I never had a problem getting the ball out of the bunkers all day.
There are a couple of holes that I will love to watch when the Open comes in 2015. The par 3 9th hole will measure 230+ and guys will probably be hitting 7 and 8 irons because of a 90-100 foot drop in elevation. From the Sand Tees, (mid level tees) the hole was 200 yards with a 75 foot drop to the green. I hit 7 iron and put my tee shot in the middle of the green.
The 12th is a drivable par 4 in which the green is tucked into a natural amphitheater. The green/fairway is cut up into the hills around the hole to allow shots to roll up and filter back down to the hole when it is playing in back. I hit a perfect tee shot that landed on the back of the green but got just hung up 4 inches into the first cut. Though it is hard to tell in the picture, the ball and my feet are at the same level as the flag on top of the pin.
Had it not gone so far up the hill it would have filtered right at the hole. I chipped to 8 feet and lipped my birdie putt. I can see some eagles on this hole happening at the open.
The 18th could either be extended to play as a 590 yard par 5 or left as a 530 yard par 4. You have to keep your tee shot right to avoid the waste bunker left in the landing area. (I just missed clearing it but ended up in the bunker.)
Now honestly, it is really easy to avoid this bunker so I see only a few guys hitting it in there all week at the Open. When the pin is playing back, the green rolls up the hill, like on 14, to filter back down to the hole. I actually putted from below the hole and purposefully hammered the ball past the hole and up the hill so I wouldn’t leave it short. The ball rolled back towards the hole and rested 3 inches away!
I love this course and cannot wait to play it again. It does cost a bit, being the No. 1 public course in the state of Washington. If you love golf and have the chance to play this course, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY! You will not be disappointed! Here are the greens fees for Chambers Bay.