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.

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Reviews for Chambers Bay

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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: 5.5 out of 6 Reviews: 16

I first came to CB in 2009 when checking sites for future championships and found it was going to host US Amateur and US Open. Had some friends playing Amateur and they told me it was great ... but controversial. After the 2015 it was confirmed to be controversial but IMO also confirmed it's greatness. And made me want it to play it desperately. It happened 3 weeks ago and it was a blast! Anyone criticising the course without having played it should at least go and play not one but at least 2 rounds. And then do it, but I can confirm that their opinion will change. And if not played it please do not , what you experience standing there Chambers Bay Golf Course - Photo by reviewer hitting many of those golf shots and walking that course with breathtaking views of the bay is something special.

It was a FAM Trip for IAGTO TTOOs and my only regret is having arrived the night before 1am to my hotel room before a 6am wake up call and an 8am tee time. I was tired and for sure influenced in some missed shots and poor putting, but can't complain about it. It is just feel how much better it would have been with a proper rest the night before!

You arrive to the Club House which is above the highest point of the course (tee 9th) and then after the check in a shuttle takes you down to putting green and driving range, perfectly well organized and in time to get some balls hit at the range and testing the greens before 1st tee.

The festuca greens were extremely controversial in 2015 and it is an issue they are taking care of properly. Already 3 greens have been moved to Poa Annua (they look great!) Chambers Bay Golf Course - Photo by reviewer and the other 15 to be done this fall starting early October.

The course has it all: rolling fairways, severely sloped greens, heroic carries over massive waste bunkers, extremely good ecuation for risk-reward shots, amazing views and already the history of 2 great tournaments with 2 great champions (Uilhein and Spieth).

Another of the features is that most par 4s (except 2nd and short 12th) could be played as 500+ yards par 5s so you can turn this course into a par 80 if you want to playing with your friends. Is this bad? Not at all!!!

The greens design is awesome and demands precision and creativity in shot making, the best shot is usually not direct to the pin but using the slopes inside and outside the huge greens. This can't be bad, it makes you think wisely every shot before hitting and thinking many times that the place where to (or where NOT TO) miss is even more important than aiming the hole.

A good example of this is par 5 4th where after a nice tee shot over the sand the safe line is way left to have a clear 3rd shot which can even be putted (I did so!) Chambers Bay Golf Course - Photo by reviewer but if going to the pin you have to carry extra club (and you will need many yards by air) allowing the slopes to bring back your ball. But if you miss short or right, you will for sure score over par.

I can say there are no weak holes and the nicest ones were all four par 3s, especially 15th where tee box is way up (same as 9th, but this one closest to the water) and a green that demands a very high shot in order to hold it. and this is not easy when hitting it into a 1 club wind in your face.

Playing the course brought to my mind many shots I remembered from the US Open:

- 16th: that shanked iron from Branden Grace that cost him the Tournament!

- 18th: there is a plaque where Spieth hit is second shot to the green. Also at the green there were 3 tees showing position of 4th round pin, DJ's first putt and the short one he missed. Of course greens were not as fast, but I made the first one! And the second one was close and with no break, hard to believe Dustin missed it.

- 12th is very reachable and a clear birdie/eagle Chambers Bay Golf Course - Photo by reviewer chance but the green is huge and with several platforms, if you miss walk away with your par and smile!

- 7th ... that second shot up the slope is even more severe than 18th at Augusta National.

- 17th were Jordan made double .... the view from the US Open tee is intimidating!

We wanted to be challenged and played almost 7200yds, lathough windy as the fairways rolled firm and fast and many tee boxesare elevated, it doesn´t play that long. And the fact of using the tip tees is that you get the best views from each hole and the entire course.

After finishing and lunch everybody went back to hotel to rest after a demanding round of golf... but although being VERY tired I went for 9 more and replayed the back 9. It is that good and for sure deserves another chance hosting the big event. With new greens and the experience of 2015 absorved, it will be a blast.

Again, before saying this course is a bad one, go and play it. And let it be at least 2 rounds. It is excellent, one of the most fun I have experienced. And a perfect warm up for some days at Bandon Dunes. Chambers Bay rocks and really hard!

6 / 6
Chambers Bay
July 13, 2018


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I can't think of a modern course that has been so controversial and has such a wide range of ratings. Some have argued it is too wild, while others say the wildness makes it the most fun course they've ever played. The greens were not their best during the U.S. Open, but I've heard they are now much better.

No one can say the scenery is anything less than spectacular.

I think the course is underrated. I think it is better than Streamsong Blue and Red, but it won't get ranked that high because of some of the wild greens. If they toned down some of the greens, it is a Top 50 course.

The fairways are very wide and the greens are big. It is playable and fun for the high handicap, but challenging to the scratch golfer. The perfect combo.

6 / 6
Chambers Bay
February 05, 2018


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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.

6 / 6
Chambers Bay
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.

6 / 6
Chambers Bay
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
6 / 6
Chambers Bay
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.
6 / 6
Chambers Bay
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!
5 / 6
Chambers Bay
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
5 / 6
Chambers Bay
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.
6 / 6
Chambers Bay
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.
6 / 6
Chambers Bay
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.