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.
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.
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.
The hilly landscape of the layout makes a round on this course a strenuous hike. This will raise the difficulty of the course already abounding in rugged hazards. There are some impressive-looking holes lined with bunkers and tall fescue waiting to catch your mistakes. Chambers Bay can be extremely intimidating and a grind for most golfers, as it does not allow much relief from wayward shots. The fairways can be generous, but you won't be able to sleep on any tee shots. Approach shots have to be carefully considered, as there is plenty of roll, and the ball can easily end up in collection areas and bunkers protecting these large putting surfaces.
Chambers Bay is a no cart facility unless you have a note from your doctor. Even then, a Chambers Bay staff member is required to drive the cart ensuring that the course maintains its pristine and natural condition. This however can be limiting, as quite a few people may not be able to enjoy the beauty of this course.
The greens and fairways have a similar cut, and sometimes one is not sure when one starts and the other ends. This makes one's putter a very useful club around these undulating greens, a safe and recommended selection for most amateurs. The course also asks for a great variety of shots, and managing your game is key to being able to score well. The beauty of the rugged landscape can be visually simulating, but can be quite a test to one's mental toughness.
We played it under situations that were not ideal, as some of the greens and fairways were being worked on. However, the course was still fun to play, and provided some spectacular views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Chambers Bay is a course that I could not play everyday, because it would be too taxing on the mind and body, but it is definitely something that golfers should experience.