Chambers Bay - Washington - USA

Chambers Bay Golf,
6320 Grandview Dr W,
University Place,
Washington (WA) 98467,
USA


  • +1 253 460 4653

  • Matt Allen

  • Robert Trent Jones Jnr

  • Nicholas (Nyk) Pike


Chambers Bay was originally nominated as a gem by Mal and added to the Top 100 website in June 2008. Mal’s comments are as follows:

"Chambers Bay might be Washington's newest golf course – opened in June 2007 – but I’m sure it is set to be a high flyer in the magazine rankings very soon. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr and is actually a pretty true model of the old-fashioned links courses of Britain and Ireland. Set on the Puget Sound, it’s certainly much closer to the pure form of coastal golf than many other courses in the US which claim to be links-like.

I’m going to watch this course with interest over the next few years as it will host the 2010 Amateur Championships and the 2015 US Open. What’s even more impressive is that you can pay and play this municipal track and if you happen to be a Pierce County resident you can play for half price and if you’re up for a second round in the same day it will cost a mere $50. I love it and write this nomination with reluctance as it’s still fairly quiet despite the local ballyhoo but I figure soon enough the world will know all about Chambers Bay and it will eventually become as popular as Bethpage Black."

Built within a disused gravel mine by the shores of Puget Sound in Washington, Chambers Bay was commissioned by Pierce County in a $20 million development designed to rival the best municipal facilities in the country.

The 18 holes at Chambers Bay lie between water and a steep hillside and a fair amount of earth was moved from the latter to fashion dune shapes and fairway corridors during construction. The resulting links-like layout is very free flowing with pleasant changes in elevation throughout the round.

Rather than describe particular holes of note, it’s maybe best to use the following link to access the club’s own hole-by-hole guide. This offers a wonderful description of every hole.

Chambers Bay played host to the 2010 US Amateur Championship, which Peter Uihlein won. In 2015, the U.S. Open came to Chambers Bay stopping in the Pacific Northwest for the first time in the tournament’s 115-year history.

The course was set up to play very firm and very fast by the USGA, but was berated for the inconsistent nature of the greens, some of which lacked grass. In an interview, Gary Player labelled Chambers Bay as “one of the worst golf courses I’ve seen in my 63 years as a pro.” Lee Westwood was much kinder, stating: "It's the kind of course I'd like to come and play with my mates, with a cart and some beers."

Ironically, despite the hullabaloo, Jordan Spieth (the world’s best putter statistically at the time) prevailed, adding a US Open title to his first Major won at the 2015 Masters earlier in the season.

Big, bold ,vertical - Chambers Bay. Golf course architect Ronald Fream shares his thoughts on the controversial US venue.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Reviews for Chambers Bay

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Chambers Bay might be one of Washington's newest golf courses – opened in June 2007 – but it is set to be a high flyer in the rankings. Rating: 5.4285714285714 out of 6

This is a follow-up to my previous reviews from 7 years ago. I was remiss in not giving an update from 2015 as I was a walking scorer at the US Open.

I walked inside the ropes Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. I was the scorer for Rory McIroy for his amazing Sunday round. What a thrill!

Sadly, the USGA let the course get out of hand. When I stopped by on Tuesday to scout the place out, I was stunned. It was already in Sunday condition. Toasted! I was like "Oh my gosh, the USGA has a problem on its hands." So sadly, Chamber did not show itself well. And I will tell you the greens looked much worse on TV than they did inside the ropes.

I have also played Chamber 10+ times as I used to live in Seattle. I am also a Links Ticket Holder in St Andrews. And I have played the likes of Muirfield (2x), Carnoustie (2x), and Royal Dornoch (4x). Yes, I am a links golf geek!

So what do I have to say about Chambers? Honestly, to me it is the most fun golf course I have ever played ANYWHERE. Even Tiger commented "You can play every hole 4-5 different ways." What fun! To have so many options and can allow your creativity to come out as you can have fun trying to play different shots. But also be prepared for a very challenging walk.

January 05, 2018


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Brock Lynch
January 05, 2018

Well said! Chambers is so much fun to play, and that's considering that the greens were still bad as of June 2017. My daughter's husband was stationed at nearby Ft. Lewis and I played Chambers 8 times in 4 visits to the area. After playing it the first time, I had no desire to play any other courses in the area. I'm sure there are some fine courses, but why pass on Chambers Bay?! When they get the greens figured out, its going to be fantastic! Definately a 6/6!

With the US Open starting today, I thought a review of my recent round at Chambers Bay would be appropriate. The views of Puget sound are delightful—one of only four US courses I can think of where one can see the ocean from every hole (Fisher’s Island, Trump Los Angeles and Wanumetonomy being the others).

But all this talk about it being more like an Open Championship course doesn’t feel right to me. Yes, it’s by the sea, and yes it’s sand-based, but you won’t find this kind of elevation change on the Open rota. Moreover, since Trent Jones has provided relatively few opportunities to play running shots into greens, the aerial game traditionally favored in US Opens will again be prevalent here.

That said, there are other links-like challenges here, most notably the fescue, the heavily contoured greens and the strategy required to deliver the tee ball to the location where it offers the best approach to the green. There are a number of splendid holes—for me they included the 10-12 stretch along with 4, 7, 9, 17 and 18. Number 2 was also fun, but I could find no resemblance to Dornoch’s dogleg right, plateau green hole from which it takes its name.

While purists will note that Jones moved huge amounts of dirt, he did a fine job routing the course. Holes run in all directions, creating additional challenges in the usual windy conditions. The course has had conditioning problems (a number of greens were closed throughout 2014), but seems to have solved that problem for now, though I did see a fair amount of poa annua—a surprising phenomenon for such a new course.

This is hardly the ideal municipal course and would be a tough one to play every day—more so, in my view, than the 136 slope from the middle tees indicates. Nonetheless, if you’re willing to be beaten up by knee-high, plenty of bunkers,and wild chips and putts, it can make for an excellent golf experience.

June 19, 2015


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Niall
June 19, 2015
I've not played Chambers, but from the TV images it looks more like a crazy golf course than a US Open venue. The greens look plain daft and darn right ugly. Take away the views, which do look very lovely and what have you got left?
Hugh
June 19, 2015
I've seen beaches with more grass than Chambers Bay. I can't fathom how any why this course looks so poor when they had years to prepare for the U.S. Open. It's a real head scratcher and not a great advert for the Pacific Northwest.
Just a brilliant golf course with sublime design and architecture. Chambers and Royal County Down are the best courses in the world
October 19, 2014


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David
November 03, 2014
While Royal County Down is considered by most to be in the top 10, even top 5 and is deserving of this designation. If you think Chamber's belongs even in the same sentence then I'd suggest you need to get out more. No arguing it's a great course but there are at least 3 courses in Oregon alone that are better and most probably 4.
David
November 06, 2014
I get out quite a lot thanks, considering I live in a place you may not have heard of, especially if you are American, and have played the 4 courses at Bandon. They are not as good as Chambers. Heh you are entitled to an opinion as am I. Was the comment about getting out more necessary, especially as you do not know who I am or the courses I have played ?
If you haven’t heard of it yet, you will soon. This course has already hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur and was awarded the 2015 U.S. OPEN only seven months after it opened in 2008. Mark my words that this will be the longest and most controversial layout in U.S. Open History. This is a true links course, unlike all previous venues and built on a former sand quarry with outstanding views from every hole of Puget Sound. Chambers Bay is currently ranked as the best golf course in Washington State and #58 in the US by the Top 100 Golf Courses in Chambers Bay Golf Course - Photo by reviewerthe World and Golf Magazine ranks it as their #14 pick for the “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” in America. The tee blocks, fairways and greens are all seeded with fescue grass so there is no distinguishing difference to judge your distance. There are bunkers galore so positioning and strategy is paramount. The fairways are generous but dry and the wind WILL be a factor. The rough is short but certainly won’t be for the U.S. OPEN. The greens are huge, hard and border on ridiculous depending on the pin placement. Patience and good judgment is monumental to scoring well here. The most memorable holes for me were the #10 – a short uphill par 4 with huge mounts lining the fairway to a narrow green and the #12 – a driveable uphill par 4 with a treacherous green that could resemble a roller coaster ride. Green fees for non-resident guests range from $104 to $229USD depending on the time of year. Power carts are not available but pull carts are included and are allowed to be taken onto the greens. They have 30 full time caddies and 20 part-timers and I would highly recommend one to be able to fully appreciate your experience here. Suggested fees are $50 for a single bag plus gratuities.
May 27, 2014


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David
November 03, 2014
Nice review. No argument that Chamber's plays like a true links it's firm and fast. The jury may still be out on whether it would be considered one. According to most definitions it's not, given that it was built entirely by man in a rock quarry. The name links comes from "the link between the sea and the fertile ground." This would be sand based ground i.e. sand dunes and Chamber's didn't have that either until they trucked it all in. Will be great to see the US Open here and see what they do with the course.
An update to conditions at Chambers...Chamber's new superintendent has done a nice job growing fescue. The greens are better than I have every seen them, and it's early in the season. This course is going to be great for the open. I can't wait for the tour pros to be challenged by playing a ground game. There's no ways to play aerial at Chambers. What a course!
May 06, 2013


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my wife and visited chambers last month june 2012, the staff were very helpful as we had a puncture and more than willing to help us on our way to visit bandon the next day, the course was surreal, located in an old mine, of course some of the holes were being extended to conform with latest usga regs for the 2015 open, we were lucky enough to play on a dry day as we were informed the previous week had torential rain.the greens were great but i lost 500 cals walking up and down the steep hills that you have to traverse inorder to play the course, i pitty the caddies for the 2015 openoverall great course nice views and must play if you are in the area, as you have to congratulate the designer for seeing the course in this old abadoned mine, thanks again chambers for a great day of golf , we got the tyre repaired and went to bandon safely
July 18, 2012


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Great course, very links like. Great views of the ocean, montrous dunes, and the ruins of the old quarry. No wonder why the US Open is being held here. Great course with a lot of bunkers.
September 14, 2011


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This year I have had the pleasure to play Chambers quite a few times. The course is growing on me. There are so many nuances and options built into the course that you need to go around 10 times until you start seeing them. The conditioning is rounding into shape; meaning fast, brown fairways and true greens. I highly recommend a round at Chambers. Go take in the salty air for yourself.
July 05, 2011


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BC
March 10, 2013
Chambers is still a great course - however, the 5th and 18th holes have been drastically changes by the USGA, and not for the better. The 5th hole used to be an all world par 4. Now it's just another hole. The 18th was a fun finishing hole that is now a slog. Don't get me wrong, CB is still awesome, I would just like to see the course return to all its glory. If I had to re-rate I would give it five balls.
Played Chambers Bay early September 2010, a week after the US Amateur. Let me start out by saying that I am a member at Carnoustie, Scotland and have played the likes of the Old Course, Kingsbarns, Royal Aberdeen etc. In my opinion, and on the day we played it, this course was harder and faster than any Links course I have ever played in Scotland. It was sensational. So hard and fast. I suppose the ultimate compliment I can give it is that if I didnt know I was in Washington, I would of assumed I was playing back home. The course itself has some great holes 7,9,10 and 12. Though one criticism of the layout I would have is that some of the slopes are a little severe. I walked off the first hole with a 9, despite being pin high left in 2! The 9th as well, whilst a great hole, can also make you look a bit silly at times. The condition of the course was ok. Not fantastic, but not bad either. Greens whilst unbelievably quick, were very bumpy. In general though, I absolutely loved it. It was an absolutely fantastic experience. Get some proper bunkers in and I'd almost let you call it a Links course!
November 01, 2010


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I have played Chambers Bay twice - once for a social round and once in a tournament. I also walked the course inside the ropes with Bubba Watson, Aaron Baddeley, Ben Crane, and Ryan Moore at a charity skins event. Chambers Bay is a unique links golf experience in America. That is what makes it so special. Though I am unsure if that if Chambers Bay was located in Ireland, the course itself would receive such acclaim. For starters, the property is in a spectacular setting. And if you take in the whole package - the walking only course, the waterfront setting and views, the 3.5 mile public walkway around the course, the railroad along the water, the Stonehenge bins along 18, et al - it is a great experience. Bottom line, I love the place. It has a great vibe and it is in its infancy. The golf course layout and flow is very good. Like all top courses, there are some fantastic holes that you will remember and others that will blend together. Using an American baseball term, it is a 'hitters ballpark'. Tee it high and let it fly since the fairways are very wide. The par 3s in my opinion are underwhelming, though the view from #9 and #15 give a pause. #7 might be one of the hardest par 4s I have ever played. But there are downsides. The price to value ration is steep. I played Chambers ($159) and Bethpage Black ($90) this year summer and The Black easily wins hands down. The walk is very challenging. The condition of the course overall could be classified as 'immature' as the course photographs better than close eye inspection. Should you play there? Hell yes as it has hosted the US Amateur in 2010 and will hold the US Open in 2015. It is a very good golf course. But it is not worth it to make a special trip to Seattle.
October 31, 2010


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David Spinelli
June 20, 2011
A quick update to my October 31 review as I played Chambers Bay twice in the last week. The USGA has the course in test mode for the US Open as it will occur there this exact week in 4 years - the rough is up and the greens were fast. Tee to green, the course is getting better and better and was in really good shape - a noticeable improvement since I played last April. Sadly the greens are getting worse - they were sparse, crunchy, bumpy, and did not putt true. Fescue greens are not normal in America and the Washington climate should be receptive to growing fescue. But clearly the implementation at Chambers is not working. Rumor has it the USGA and the County will make the decision in the next couple of weeks to replace the greens. If they go with bent or poa, then the severe slopes on many of the greens might also need to be flattend to correspond with the increased speed. Stay tuned.