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First Trip to Chambers Bay (pics)


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Hey there folks.  We don't get too many threads in this sub-forum that aren't about Bandon, so I'd like to share my thoughts on my first trip to Chambers Bay yesterday, 10/26/20.  There was still some doubt in my mind about what to expect from the greens - I had read a little in this forum about what had happened, but you can hear more about that straight from the horse's mouth.

 

Anyway, it was fantastic and I had a blast.  We got amazing weather - we had a miserable, cold, windy warmup round at Jefferson Park on Saturday evening, but it was clear and sunny and I was comfortable with wool tights under my pants, a cotton polo, and a light wool sweater.  I'd watched hours of coverage from the 2015 US Open to get an idea of what to expect, but TV coverage in no way does justice to the slopes at play, the differences in elevation, and the general scale of the place.  It is not an easy walk and though I'm still spry at 33, I hadn't been able to able to work my legs much in the couple weeks previously because of a tweaked hamstring, and I started to lose control of my full swing after about 12 or 13 (+2 through 12, 79 finish.)

 

I've never played a Pete Dye course, but I've read that a lot of golf holes he's built look a lot more intimidating from the tee box than they actually are, and I thought that Chambers Bay was a lot like that.  There are a lot of holes that look scary off the tee box, but the scale of the place is so huge and open that the fairways are often a lot wider than they look.  Number 8, the highest hole on the course, is a par 5 where you have what feels like a cliff all along the right side like a gaping abyss calling for your first and second shots, even if your usual miss is left.  

 

As far as the greens go, I thought they were brilliant.  There are a lot of ramps and backstops that you can use, though they can be capricious - on the par 4 10th, where the hole funnels into a green that feels like its tucked into a crevice between two hills, I overcooked my draw and when the ball rolled back down the slope, it rolled all the way through the green into the right-front bunker.   I thought the greens rolled really true;  I didn't have anything that surprised me.  Even at this time of the year they were pretty fast, which I like - as long as you start the ball on the right line and hit it softly, you're golden.  


I could go on, but I'll leave you with two last thoughts.  I'm from Tennessee and I've only been playing golf in the West since last year, and I'd never played a course anything like this before.  My favorite part was the tight fescue fairways - the feeling of hitting an iron down into the ball and hitting the turf after is addictive.  Around the greens was hard; I did well, but you have to be really careful, there is just no margin for error off those lies, especially when you don't have much room to work with.   Lastly, the 18th green is just filthy.  Didn't put enough on my pitch shot into the green and was sitting in the front with about 100 ft and maybe 25 ft right to left break up a big hill.  My friend found out that if you go too far up the backstop you'll get ejected back to the front of the green.  That was really, really hard and what I had seen on tv did not communicate it at all.

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Edited by Chief Penguin
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Hey there folks.  We don't get too many threads in this sub-forum that aren't about Bandon, so I'd like to share my thoughts on my first trip to Chambers Bay yesterday, 10/26/20.  There was still some

gorgeous, looks soooo fun!!!

Yeah, I was just trying to draw a comparison to a Dye course (in the visual intimidation aspect), but I can see how that perhaps isn’t clear.

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2 hours ago, spud3 said:

Nice summary and great photos.  One thing: CB is a Robert Trent Jones II course, not Pete Dye.


Yeah, I was just trying to draw a comparison to a Dye course (in the visual intimidation aspect), but I can see how that perhaps isn’t clear.

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42 minutes ago, Phireside said:

I love Chambers. Always had a great time there. 

 

Where was the 9th tee box? Up high or down low?


Up high, and there was a wind blowing into your face and to the left a bit.  I think yardage was something like 168, but I hit a 6 iron draw punch (my 190 club) into the hill on the front left of the green, where it rolled(left to right) up and over to about 30 feet.  I love that stuff.

 

 

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Nice writeup and pics!  Played Chambers twice (once before and once after the US Open) and had equally nice experiences.  I never liked that the pros made such a big thing complaining about it.  The way I see it, everyone plays the same course and that's fair.  It seems like the first thing  anyone who hasn't played it says is how much the pros hated it.  

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the scale of the place looks great.  Reminds me of Whistling Straits in a way

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On 11/1/2020 at 8:34 AM, Chief Penguin said:

@desaille - Was that right after a rain storm?  Its hard to imagine after what I saw - on #14 I watched one of my companion's balls roll out a good 50 yards(downhill)!  And it did rain a bit the Thursday or Friday before we played.

14 should run a mile hitting straight downhill, think 50 yds is not enough

Though that whole left side is tough, maybe slower fairways actually helps on that hole and pace of play. Anything middle /left would be in the wastelands

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Just played Chambers on Saturday 4/10/21. I am in Seattle and do play Chambers 5-10 times a year. We had a gorgeous spring day with blue skies but the wind was blowing strong off the water, which I love because of the thought that goes into each shot depending where the wind is for the hole you are playing. Course was in fantastic shape and was playing like it does in summer months. No wet spots or soft spots. Greens were rolling well but a few of them were kind of gritty from sand or a top dressing (7 green comes to mind on this).

 

If you are traveling to the greater Seattle/Tacoma area, I always recommend playing Chambers if you can fit it into your visit.

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1 hour ago, R4haehl said:

Just played Chambers on Saturday 3/10/21. I am in Seattle and do play Chambers 5-10 times a year. We had a gorgeous spring day with blue skies but the wind was blowing strong off the water, which I love because of the thought that goes into each shot depending where the wind is for the hole you are playing. Course was in fantastic shape and was playing like it does in summer months. No wet spots or soft spots. Greens were rolling well but a few of them were kind of gritty from sand or a top dressing (7 green comes to mind on this).

 

If you are traveling to the greater Seattle/Tacoma area, I always recommend playing Chambers if you can fit it into your visit.


I’m dying to get out there this weekend in the 75* weather.  After the wind and lack of rain I’d imagine it’ll be playing beautifully.  Unfortunately I have to go get my vaccine Saturday.  I really wish it was closer to the city - the hour drive each way is enough to keep me from playing it as often as I’d like

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Yesterday was just about as perfect a day for golf as it gets up here in the PNW.  Just stunning, as the past few weeks have been, and very conflicting for this kid also raised in Tennessee who’s considering moving down to SoCal for ‘better’ weather.  
 

Never having spent much time in the Sound region, outside of Seattle proper, the drive into University Place was staggering in its beauty.  I was not prepared for the snowcapped Olympic Mountains to be hovering in the distance over the water, for the blue of that water to be a perfect blue in the sunlight, and for the little town to appear so laid back and chill.   Wanted to relocate instantly, and it’s not hard to see why folks love it up there.

 

Plenty has been said about the scale, the walk, and the terrain.  I’ll just re-confirm all that.  It seemed like a massive amphitheater built specifically for golf, which I suppose it kind of is.  It is stunning.  
 

The conditions were *almost* perfect.  The fairways were very firm, rolling, and in fantastic shape.  The greens were too, with one exception.  The 6th green had several patches that were little better than bare sand, almost gravel.  That was the only blemish on the course I saw.  Greens rolled very true for putts, but not as fast as you’d guess.  But if you landed your approach (or green side chip, even) in the wrong spot, they quickly ushered your ball away from the cup into waiting bunkers or collection areas.  Overall, the turf was a 9.5/10.  I haven’t played a lot of super-firm links golf (mainly Bandon in winter), and it was awesome.  
 

The only knock I have on the day was pace of play.  We turned in 3 hours, and we were all over the group in front of us.  I think they were stacked up too, and a guy at the turn who had just finished was grousing about his 5 hour round.  We were lucky to finish, but played 18 essentially in the dark, and the group behind us had the sprinklers pop on if they tried to get home. We never saw a marshall.

 

Overall, my main takeaway was Gratitude.  I am floored I got to play that course on that day.  I am gobsmacked that it is a municipal.  I almost cannot believe the rate I paid.  I am confounded that is closer and cheaper than Bandon or Pronghorn.  I am numbed with glee that I sent my 5i pin-high on the 9th hole from the high tees and rolled in the five footer for par.
 

If you can, go play it.  Just be prepared for a long march and an amazing day.
 

 

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On 11/1/2020 at 12:36 AM, desaille said:

Chambers has gotten better and looked good.
But still have yet to play it with fairways and greens rolling.  
We played in Sept and the fairways were plugging. Drives were net negatives as your ball would spin back from the pitch mark. 
And the greens required a full shoulder turn from 12 feet. 

 

This is the main issue I have with the course.  The layout is phenomenal, but it has been this way ever since the course opened.  Slow greens and minimal roll all throughout the course.  Doesn't play like a links at all, balls settling on downslopes, etc.  I was hoping after 10 years the course would have firmed up and matured.

 

 

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