February 19, 2014
I first visited Chambers Bay Golf Club in October 2013. At that time, I hadn't started this blog, and I didn't take many photos. You can find that first blog here. I promised myself when I acquired a digital camera, I would go back and play and document Chambers Bay with the respect it deserves. On a side note, Chambers Bay is listed in Fifty More Places to Play Golf Before You Die. So, here we go.
After parking at the top of the hill near the clubhouse, checking in and paying my green fee, I then took the shuttle down to the practice facility where I warmed up. After hitting each club on the range, I moved to the pitching and putting area. I didn't take any photos of the practice facility because it isn't anything more than just an open field. After finishing my warmup, I caught the shuttle again and road to the starters hut. Upon arrival, you are greeted by the clock. I couldn't have picked a better day weather wise for February. It was high 40s, partly cloudy, and a 10 mph sustained wind. Note if you are unfamiliar with Chambers Bay, it is a walking only facility. They do have a fantastic cadre of caddies here though.
|The clock at the starters hut.|
|One thing I like about Chambers Bay is each hole has a name. It really makes the holes stand out.|
|Looking down the fairway from the #1 tee box.|
|Center of #1 Fairway.|
|From the top of the hill, you are met with a spectacular view of Puget Sound and the green.|
|The second hole at Chambers Bay honors the 14th hole at Royal Dornoch by taking it's name.|
|A plaque with a brief note explaining the reason behind the name Foxy.|
|Looking down the fairway from the #2 tee box.|
|A look at the Puget Sound from the middle of Fairway #2.|
From the middle of the fairway, you get a fantastic view of the Puget Sound to your left.
|Looking at the approach shot to the #2 green.|
|Looking back down the #2 fairway from the #2 green.|
|Looking towards the green from the #3 tee box.|
I took a photo on my walk to the #3 green to try to give a better perspective of what you are facing. As you can see, the green is guarded along the front and left side by bunkers. If the wind is blowing, it is coming from your left. Fortunately, if the ball is pushed right, the hill will hopefully catch it and let it run back left towards the hole.
|A closer view of the #3 green.|
|A look at the #3 green from the top of the hill on the right.|
|A look at the #3 green from the front left.|
The walk to number 4 is quite a hike. It is a good 2-3 minute walk, all up hill. Luckily there is a restroom house here, along with water fountain.
|Looking down the fairway from the #4 tee box.|
|A look from mid scrub brush towards the fairways. The tee boxes are now behind me.|
|If you are a long enough hitter, and want to take the risk, you can hit across the sand straight to the green.|
|Looking towards the #4 green,|
|As I was walking, I took a closer photo of #4 green to give an idea of just how difficult that shot over the sand can be.|
|Finally up the green after a long walk up and around on the #4 par 5.|
|A look down the fairway from the #5 tee box.|
|A look from the a location near the second, Tan tee box.|
|A look from the #5 fairway towards the green.|
|A look at the #5 green.|
Number 6 is also another risk versus reward hole. You can choose to swing out left and then come back in right towards the green. Or, you can go right, and then up and over the dunes for a shorter, but more obscured shot to the green.
|A look at the number 6 green from middle of the fairway.|
|A look into the #6 green.|
|A look back down the #6 fairway from the number 6 green.|
Number 7 is a long drive down the fairway, where it then turns to the right and starts a fairly good climb up hill towards the green. The winds weren't much of a factor on this hole it seemed, as they are largely blocked by the large dunes behind.
|A look down the fairway from the #7 tee box.|
|A look towards the #7 green.|
|A look down the fairway from the #8 tee box.|
|A look at the golf course and Puget Sound from the #9 tee box,|
|A look at the green from the #9 tee box.|
|Looking down the fairway from the #10 tee box.|
|Middle of #10 fairway looking towards the green.|
|A look towards the regular green from the temporary green.|
|A view of the #10 green growing into form.|
Number 11 is a very strategic hole. There is a large dune in the center of the fairway, and if I remember correctly, it was about 210-220 yards from the blue tee box. That means it probably plays 270-280 from the tips and is smack dab in the way of where most drives are going to land before any roll. Unless you can knock it long, you have to decide if you want to go left or right. I remember the last time that I played, the green slopes fairly significantly from right to left downhill. Last time I went right and had a fairly decent look. So, this time I hit left just to get an idea of what the second shot was like. I will admit, I think it is a much tougher shot from the right side of the dune compared to the left due to the angle you approach the green and the slope.
|A view down the fairway from the #11 tee box.|
|A view of the dune in the center of the fairway.|
|A view back down #11 fairway from the #11 tee, and a much better view of how large that dune really is.|
|A view looking down the #12 fairway towards the tee box from the #12 green.|
In my opinion, #13 is the most boring hole on the course. There isn't much that stands out about it, at least not here at Chambers Bay. I think I am probably judging it too harshly because #10-#12 are amazing in that they cater to different styles of players and have their own unique features. Number 13 is a long, dogleg right with a few sand traps placed around or near the green. But, in my opinion, if you have to pick the "worst" hole on the course, this would be it.
|A look down the fairway from the #13 tee box.|
|A look from the fairway towards the #13 green.|
|Another temporary green. The regular green is tucked in just past that sand trap.|
|A look down the fairway from the #14 tee box.|
|A view of the #14 green from the top right of the fairway. (Sorry for the out of focus shot)|
|A look at the green from the #15 tee box.|
|A closer look at the #15 green.|
As seen in the photo below, the fairway travels left from the tee box and then turns right towards the green. There is a deep sand trap and waste area that runs the entire length of the hole, including the fairway and the green itself. The closer you get towards the green, the higher the lip of the sand trap gets, making a more difficult shot the closer you get to the green. If you find yourself down there anywhere near the fairly small green, you will be hard-pressed to card a par.
|A look down the fairway from the #16 tee box.|
Hole 17 is a short par 3 that follows the Puget Sound from tee box to green. It is a downhill shot, with approximately 40-50 feet of elevation from tee to green. That is a blessing and a curse. It allows you to combat the wind but your ball is most likely going to hang like a kite. With the green being surrounded, a low straight shot really isn't an option as it will likely catch the lip of the trap and keep you from a GIR. The bunker on the left side of the green is pretty deep, but it is preparing you for the monster one you find on 18.
|A look towards the green from the #17 tee box.|
|A look down the fairway from the #18 tee box.|
|A mid fairway view of the 18th green.|
|A closer view of the green and the bunker you do not want to find yourself in.|
|The ridiculously deep bunker.|
Overall, I came away with the same impression I had the first time. This is going to be a fantastic, and interesting location for the U.S. Open. There are so many different holes here that it is going to test every golfer in the field. There is also plenty of great spots to view the tournament as a spectator. I know I have already chosen my spot. After playing Bandon Dunes, I can see why Chambers Bay is not rated top 100 in the world. I do think it probably should be ranked a little higher on the U.S. list as I found it much more interesting an enjoyable, and much more scenic than a few other top 100 U.S. courses I have played.
If you ever find yourself in the Seattle area, and want me to join you for a round at Chambers Bay, please don't hesitate to email me and let me know.