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Richard Choi

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Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« on: January 20, 2015, 07:09:47 PM »
I joined this board for this.

I really did.

It all started with me winning a local sports radio contest. KJR-AM Seattle had a contest for a spot on the media play day one week before Chambers Bay officially opened in 2007. All you had to do to enter the contest was write an email to the station on why you should win. I donít even remember what I wrote, but it was something about how much I appreciated golf course architecture (I was a frequent visitor to GCA) and how excited I was about Chambers Bay. I am guessing not many people put much effort into the contest as I was selected as the winner (99.99% of the listeners probably had no idea what Chambers Bay was).

It was a love at first sight.

After the round, lunch was served for the press before the press conference with architects and key contributors. After getting my plate of food from the buffet, I saw that RTJ II was sitting by himself at a table. I sat next to him and introduced myself. I told him how much I loved the course and we ended up conversing for about 30 min. During the conversation, I quizzed him about many of the questions that came up about the course on GCA threads.

When I got home, I wrote an email to Ran about the conversation as I thought many in the treehouse would appreciate it. Ran gave me an account to post the conversation myself and I have been posting here ever since.

At that time, I was not convinced that Chambers Bay would ever host US Open. It is unlike any other course that ever hosted US Open. It is a true links course that belongs in The Open rota much more than US Open. I figured PGA Tour players would hate it.

I was shocked as anyone that USGA awarded 2015 US Open to Chambers Bay. I donít know if I still believe it today.

2015 seemed so long ways away back then. It is amazing how time flies. Here we are now, less than six months before tee balls fly at Chambers Bay for our national tournament, I am still in shock.

When Chambers Bay got US Open, I told myself that I would do a detailed posting about it when the time came. That time is now.
I have played over 100 rounds at CB (probably closer to 200) and I feel like I REALLY know the course (at least better than any other golf course I have ever played). It is probably likely that no course more accessible has EVER hosted US Open (not even Bethpage, as trying to get a tee time at BPB is much more difficult, and the round can cost less than $100 if you play with a local). I would like to make it even more accessible for you.

I will be discussing hole-by-hole in detail. I will try to describe the strategies and features of every hole from US Open point of view. I will tackle one hole a week as there is much to be discussed. I should be done with the endeavor by June. My hope is that in the end, it will provide a bit more perspective when you are watching the event on TV. I encourage everyone to participate and I will try to answer any and all questions from everybody.

With that out of the way, letís talk some GCA, US Open styleÖ

Richard Choi

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Hole 1, Par 4/5, 510/600 Yards
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2015, 07:13:25 PM »



Right off the bat, this will be unlike any other US Open. Mike Davis has announced that #1 and #18, which run parallel to each other, will be played as par 4/5 combos for US Open. If there is a strong western wind (from Puget Sound), #1 will play as a par 5 (head wind) and #18 will play as a par 4 (tail wind). In all other situations, #1 will play as a par 4 and #18 will play as a par 5 as originally designed.

No one really knows the exact yardage this hole will play to as one of the strongest feature for Chambers Bay is that yardages are almost meaningless as every hole can be set up to play any desired length. #1 can play as short as 400 yards to as long as 650 yards.

My guess is that they will tee off somewhere around 500 yards if playing as a par 4 and somewhere around 600 yards if playing as a par 5.
Please refer to the overhead view below as I will be referring to the specific hole features labeled below.


Tee Shot

If the first hole is playing as a par 5, this may be the easiest opening drive in US Open history. As long as you can drive 250 yards (into wind), there is virtually no way that you can miss the fairway as the landing area (A) is as wide as a football field and the fairway bunker is not in play unless you can drive over 350 yards. You want to favor the left side for a better angle to the green. However, it is not worth the gamble of hitting into the tall fescue on the left. The aim should be straight towards the far side fairway bunker (B) in the middle of the fairway.

There are far more important things to worry about during your round than this drive.

Tee shot is far trickier when it is playing as a par 4. If you hope to reach the green in two, you must reach the plateau (C) which is about 270 to 300 yards away. Anything shorter will not have enough momentum to climb the slope up the ridge to the plateau and you will have a completely blind (and severely uphill) second shot (and probably no chance to reach the green in two). Hitting a drive long enough to reach the plateau means that the fairway bunker (B Ė it is an actual FAIRWAY bunker as the fairway is mowed closely all the way to the bunker from tee) is now very much in play. But you may prefer the bunker compare to the complete crapshoot that waits for you in the left rough (D). The top part of this rough closest to the fairway is not so bad to play out of, but if you pull it a bit more, it will end up in the lower part of the slope which has some of the densest rough at Chambers Bay. This is one of the very few places at Chambers Bay where you can lose your ball. Just getting the ball back to the fairway will be a challenge from this rough.

Approach/Second Shot

If you are in the middle of the lower bowl (A), there is not much to the second shot other than trying to hit it long enough to go past the end of the rough on the left (200 yards +). As it is with almost every hole, the gigantic dune on the right (E) is to be avoided at all costs. The dunes are very steep and grounds are very uneven. Getting a playable lie after hitting into the dune is an unlikely proposition.

If you are in the fairway bunker your only goal should be to get it somewhere near the left side near the green (G). The steep slope coming down from the dunes on the right and the steep face of the bunker will preclude you from hitting it towards the pin. If you get too greedy, there is a significant chance that your next shot will be a buried shot from the face of the bunker.

If you are lucky enough to hit from the plateau (C), the excellent view and level lie will temp you to fly your long approach (200+ yards) close to the pin. The fact that only 4 players hit the green in regulation during the first day of US Amateur should remind you that you need to pay much more attention to the shot at hand.

The reason why so few hit the green in regulation during US Amateur was that grounds were rock hard. This caused not only any approach shot that landed on the green to end up bouncing through the green to the lower back area 10 feet below the green, but any ball that landed short of the green that was kicked forward (H, as designed) so hard that they ran through the green as well. While I do not believe the fairways will be as firm as it played during US Amateur for US Open, I believe Chambers Bay made a wise decision to soften the hump (H) short right of the green so that the kick forward will not be so violent (one of the very few changes that I agree with).

The right to left slope of the hole dictates everything here. If the pin is in the front half, the approach shot MUST land in the right side of the fairway about 20 yards short of the green, preferably with a high, soft fade. The correct approach shot will feed down gently to the green. Anything that land on the front half of the green will roll to the back half of the green and anything that land in the back half of the green will end up 20 feet below 20 yards behind the green (J). Anything short left (really anything left of the center of green) will also end up down on the fairway shared with #18, 20 feet below the green (G).
Plays Around the Green

The flop shot, the short shot di rigueur for most US Open, is going to be on the endangered watch as there is almost no rough to speak of around the green. Sure, you will be hitting a flop shot from the bottom of the fairway if you miss to the left of the green (G), but you will be doing that because the green is 20 feet above you, not because that is the only shot you can hit out of that lie. The lies around the green will be tight and ground will be rock hard. It will take some cojones to try to pull off flop shots on delicate approaches. I suspect a putter (and hybrids) will be a very popular choice from off the green. This is especially true since Chambers Bay is fescue from tee to green and rolling speed will be pretty consistent from fairway through the green.

If the pin is in the front, it is almost preferable to miss to the left of the green. Even though the pin will be 20 feet above you, there is enough room on the right side of the green to feed the ball back down if you hit it a bit long. If the pin is in the back, you really want to leave it on the fairway to the right where you can see the pin and will have more inviting shot towards the back.

The back right greenside bunker (I) can be nasty based on the lie as it is narrow and deep. However, if the lie is decent, it is a preferable place to miss to as most pins will be readily accessible. Most proís would prefer this bunker shot compared to hitting a blind shot.


The only bunker that you MUST avoid is the front right bunker above the hump (J). There will be some approach shots that will end up here as you need to skirt this bunker to access the front pins. If you are in this bunker, you are looking at bogey at best and double or triple at worst as you will have a downhill lie bunker shot with everything running away from you. Leaving this shot anywhere on the green would be a terrific effort.

Many players will end up in the back left after hitting their approach shot through the green. For a back pin, this shot is not the most difficult as you have plenty of fairway to work with. Just make sure that you donít hit it short as the ball will come back right back to your feet.

Putting

I have noted what I believe are the most likely spots for pins in the diagram above (1-4).

The valley that bisects the green is the dominant feature. Any indifferently hit putt across this valley will end up off the green (hopefully on the plateau just below the green instead of the fairway all the way down). To have any hopes of getting a birdie (or even an easy par), you must hit the right half of the green where the pin is. The front pins (1 & 2) will cause the biggest problems when playing the hole as a par 4 since keeping a mid to long iron in the front half will be extremely difficult. The front part also has the most right to left (and front to back) slope which will cause problems with putts. Putts above the hole will be treacherous. As long as the you navigate the valley correctly, the back pins (3 & 4) will be much easier to deal with as the green is relatively flat in the back.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 01:55:28 AM by Richard Choi »

Joe Bausch

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2015, 07:21:40 PM »
A big TIA RC.
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Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

Jim Tang

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2015, 07:41:55 PM »
Richard-

Thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to your tour. I've not been to Chamber's Bay. The first hole seems to have a lot of width. Is that true for other holes.  Given what you may or may not know about the set up of the course, do you think the course will play more like a typical U.S. Open or more similar to an Open Championship?

Richard Choi

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2015, 07:52:12 PM »
Jim, you are not mistaken, there is a lot of width. Like I said, this will be unlike any US Open in modern history. It will play more like The Open than US Open.

While there is plenty of width, the actual playing width will be narrower than it looks as the ground will be firm and fescue fairways will run fast. There is also plenty of undulation in the fairways to give some discomfort to players even when they are playing from the fairway. The slopes in the fairway will also redirect drives with wrong shape towards the rough.

Most of the photos that I will be using have been taken over the last year or two and the rough line will be what will be used for US Open. They have been cutting this line every since US Open was awarded and modifications were made.

The 1st hole is much narrower than the original design as there was no real rough to the left side of the landing zone and the shared fairways between 1st and 18th holes were much larger. I am hoping that the rough line will be expanded back to the original design after the US Open (the rough line for 7th hole is especially egregious), but I am not holding my breath.

Chris Mavros

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2015, 08:36:59 PM »
Very nice detail and I'm looking forward to following along.  I played CB in the summer of 2012 and I loved every minute of the round.  My caddie made the round and it really opened my eyes as to how many different options reside in how the course can be played.  The Fourth is one my all time favorite holes.  It will be an interesting US Open for sure.

Garland Bayley

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2015, 08:44:13 PM »
This had better become an IMO or Best of Golf piece when Richard is done.

Richard, this is much appreciated.
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

Garland Bayley

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2015, 08:46:09 PM »
...  The Fourth is one my all time favorite holes.  It will be an interesting US Open for sure.

Interesting choice the fourth. I think most would have chosen the fourteenth (AKA, Kalen's demise).
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

Jon Cavalier

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2015, 08:46:31 PM »
Outstanding. Thanks Richard. Very much looking forward to following along for this one.
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Joe Perches

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2015, 11:59:18 PM »
I joined this board for this.

Thanks RIch.

I am very much looking forward to the separate threads for each hole. (well, maybe except eight)
« Last Edit: January 21, 2015, 10:48:25 AM by Joe Perches »

Marc Haring

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2015, 06:16:40 AM »
I think we all will avidly follow in anticipation.

I'd be interested to hear your views on the likely style of play favoured by the victor. Jim Furyk/Zach Johnson or Bubba/Rory?

Josh Tarble

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2015, 09:02:54 AM »
Thanks for putting this together Rich.  I will definitely be following along.

Chamber's Bay is one of the courses I've followed from inception so I hope to one day get out there to play.  It's my opinion that the CB open may even better showcase fast and firm and width than the Pinehurst open.   

Phil McDade

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2015, 09:19:35 AM »
Richard:

This makes me look forward to the next five months ;D -- thanks for doing this.

Re. your comment: "As it is with almost every hole, the gigantic dune on the right (E) is to be avoided at all costs. The dunes are very steep and grounds are very uneven. Getting a playable lie after hitting into the dune is an unlikely proposition."

What are your thoughts on this for a US Open set-up? Is it your view that this rough will be cut/maintained so that the player is left with a wedge-out, or will players truly be left w/ an unplayable lie? I like the former; I'm not a big fan of the latter if there is no reasonable place to take an unplayable and the player is forced to drop in yet more unplayable stuff. I like the idea of severe penalties for players wayward on a course with so much width -- I'm particularly interested in set-up issues as I think Davis and co. may use some of the same principles at Erin Hills here in Wisconsin in 2017 as they do at CBay.


Tom Yost

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2015, 09:31:32 AM »
Bravo Rich!  Looking forward to the tour.

You mentioned the softening of the hump on the short/right side of the green and the addition of the native area left off the tee.  Was that all that was done? 

Can you summarize the changes that were made to the first hole?


Michael Graham

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2015, 09:35:06 AM »
Richard - as others have already said I'm thoroughly looking forward to seeing the rest of the course over the coming months. Many thanks for going into such detail. Your comment about lots of players likely using their putters when they can from around the greens made me think Martin Kaymer is one to keep an eye on. Whenever possible he will putt rather than chip as he did for four rounds at Pinehurst. His lag putting is usually outstanding.

Michael

Dan Kelly

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2015, 09:36:51 AM »
This had better become an IMO or Best of Golf piece when Richard is done.

"Best of Golf," I think. Or "Best of Golf Club Atlas."

Thanks, Mr. Choi. I will have this thread handy in June.
"There's no money in doing less." -- Joe Hancock, 11/25/2010
"Rankings are silly and subjective..." -- Tom Doak, 3/12/2016

Jason Thurman

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2015, 09:53:27 AM »
This course is going to look fabulous on TV. For all the talk about how Pinehurst's rugged presentation would help change the "Green is good!" mentality, this Open and the three following it are at least equally important to reaffirm the message - all on spacious layouts with few trees and plenty of tawny grass (Please note that I typed this before reading Josh's post above, which only reaffirms this thought).

Rich, I'm interested in your thoughts on the strategy of the hole. From your description and photos, its clear that the hole offers a lot of variety in recoveries and can easily bite a player who isn't precise or fails to judge their shots correctly. There's a ton going on. And yet, it seems that the strategy is fairly straightforward when played as a par 4 - hit a big drive up to the plateau and keep it in the fairway so that you can control your approach enough to keep it from running away.

Is there enough meaningful width on that plateau to make the advantage of shading to the left off the tee worth the risk of getting into the fescue? What is your ideal line when you play the hole, and what will the ideal line for the pros be? It seems like you want to be as far left in the fairway as possible, as the dune would likely block your view from the right and using the ground contours to feed the ball from right to left on the approach seems more controllable from the left side. Is that impression accurate? Also, is the dune as imposing as it looks from the fairway bunker? It looks like if you get into the bunker, you're essentially doomed to a missed green as you'll have to come out to the left. Can you foresee the best in the world coming up with a green-hitting recovery from there?

Also, thanks for doing this. I can already imagine pulling this thread up as a reference when watching the tournament.
"There will always be haters. Thatís just the way it is. Hating dudes marry hating women and have hating ass kids." - Evan Turner

Some of y'all have never been called out in bold green font and it really shows.

David Davis

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2015, 10:38:32 AM »
Thanks Rich, pretty good description. I've only managed to play 4 times so looking forward to your tour.

Chamber's certainly does play like a true links, is fast and firm like one and has the fine grasses but I don't believe it fits the definition of a true links given that the sand was all trucked in and it used to be a rock quarry. The land is also not the "link between the fertile ground and the sea" i.e. it's not dunes land. However, that won't matter for the players or anyone visiting it's a great playing experience even for people use to true links golf. It's on the very long side if you play the back tees even though it plays shorter being so firm.

I missed the 1st green once to the left with my approach and watched my ball roll all the way down to the bottom of the hill. Very tough up and down from there. I can't remember if my approach which was from the right side of the fairway actually rolled over the front of the green first, I seem to remember this being the case but it was about a year and a half ago. I was really surprised to find it all the way down to the left in any case.
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Richard Choi

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2015, 01:03:38 PM »
I promise I will answer every question you post, with every detail that I know.

I'd be interested to hear your views on the likely style of play favoured by the victor. Jim Furyk/Zach Johnson or Bubba/Rory?

Marc, I am not sure any style of play will be favored going into play. Obviously, the course will be playing very long, so long driving will definitely be a plus (this and the hot putter is how Peter Uihlein won US Am), but the firmness of the fairways will even that out a bit. What I would favor is a player with patience. Going pin hunting is usually not advisable in US Open and at this course, that will be doubly so. With all the humps, hollows, and sideboards, the best strategies often involve hitting away from the pin and using the contours to feed the ball closer to the pin. This will frustrate many, many PGA Tour players. I think long players with good imagination and shot shape, like Bubba, has to be the favorites going in.

What are your thoughts on this for a US Open set-up? Is it your view that this rough will be cut/maintained so that the player is left with a wedge-out, or will players truly be left w/ an unplayable lie? I like the former; I'm not a big fan of the latter if there is no reasonable place to take an unplayable and the player is forced to drop in yet more unplayable stuff.

Phil M, the rough (at least the ones in flat areas) have been watered and fertilized so they are quite thick and juicy. Based on what I have seen the grounds crew do over the last several years, they will keep these areas quite tall (calf height). They will be as bad as any US Open, if not worse. But since they are not everywhere like other US Open courses, I think this setup is more than fair. You really have no business hitting these rough except for a few holes.

The dunes are different stories. The dunes are so steep that it cannot be maintained with machinery. It pretty much grows wild Ė which adds to its unevenness. There will be unplayable lies in those dunes if you are not lucky. What I am afraid of is that many players will try to play it anyway instead of taking an unplayable lie and replaying the last shot, quickly turning a bogey into double or worse.

Can you summarize the changes that were made to the first hole?

Hi Tom! I will try to put better emphasis on all the changes that have occurred since the course opened. I did not dwell on it too much on the first hole since this hole has not been altered much. Here are all the changes for the first hole:
1.   Rough area created left of the landing area (used to be mostly fairways between first and eighteenth hole)
2.   Additional tee box extended next to the starter shack to allow the hole to play as a par 5 (600+ yards)
3.   Front green mound soften to lessen the kick forward effect.

And yet, it seems that the strategy is fairly straightforward when played as a par 4 - hit a big drive up to the plateau and keep it in the fairway so that you can control your approach enough to keep it from running away.

Jason, this is such a long and tough par 4 that survival is your main strategy. It is much more interesting (strategy wise) as a par 5.

Is there enough meaningful width on that plateau to make the advantage of shading to the left off the tee worth the risk of getting into the fescue? What is your ideal line when you play the hole, and what will the ideal line for the pros be? It seems like you want to be as far left in the fairway as possible, as the dune would likely block your view from the right and using the ground contours to feed the ball from right to left on the approach seems more controllable from the left side. Is that impression accurate? Also, is the dune as imposing as it looks from the fairway bunker? It looks like if you get into the bunker, you're essentially doomed to a missed green as you'll have to come out to the left. Can you foresee the best in the world coming up with a green-hitting recovery from there?

Great questions!

You will favor the left side more based on how firm the ground is. If the ground is US Am firm (I am not expecting this since it is June and not August), you MUST be on the left side and hit a high fade to the short right of green to have any chance of holding the green. Any sort of draw from the right side of the fairway will not hold in that situation. So, your impression is correct.

I have a very hard time believing that you can hit the green from the fairway bunker. You are looking at 230+ yard shot that you must first, clear the very steep lip of the bunker, that will have 30 yard + fade.

Another big factor with these bunkers is that they are filled with real sand and not crushed rock. The sand here is not as weathered as those at Bandon, so they donít play quite as soft as they do in Bandon Dunes, but the balls do not sit up like they do in crushed rock bunkers. Hitting a long iron from these bunkers will not be an easy task.

Chamber's certainly does play like a true links, is fast and firm like one and has the fine grasses but I don't believe it fits the definition of a true links given that the sand was all trucked in and it used to be a rock quarry.

This is not true. This site was both sand and rock quarry. Almost every golf course (from 20ís to 80ís) in Seattle area has greens built with sand from this site.

The land is also not the "link between the fertile ground and the sea" i.e. it's not dunes land. However, that won't matter for the players or anyone visiting it's a great playing experience even for people use to true links golf.

This is true.

William_G

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2015, 01:38:31 PM »
This is not true. This site was both sand and rock quarry. Almost every golf course (from 20ís to 80ís) in Seattle area has greens built with sand from this site.


Thank you Richard, great stuff.

Everyone I spoke with when the course first opened said a huge amount of sand was brought in to fill the site as it was essentially a huge excavated pit pre-golf.

Great job by the county!
It's all about the golf!

Pete_Pittock

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2015, 02:44:50 PM »
Richard,
What about spectators areas? The hill on the right would be brutal in dry, slippery conditions., like medevac dangerous. The left side will only be good watching for the first 300, after that everything is way above you. Stands behind the green don't make much sense, unless they are way back because of the  collection area.

David Davis

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2015, 03:00:14 PM »
Rich, actually what about wind? I've really not had any wind to speak of in my 4 plays. What's June like? Are we likely to see some challenge from the elements other than of course the possibility of rain?
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Richard Choi

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2015, 04:42:26 PM »
Pete, you are correct about the dangers of the dunes. My wife fell several times during US Am. With steep slope and tall slippery fescue, the dunes can/will cause many people to slip and fall - even with golf shoes. From what I heard, USGA is limiting the ticket sales just to deal with this issue. There is enough room to host 200k spectators a day, if you really wanted to.

David, there is really no severe wind to speak of, unless there is a storm brewin'. Most likely you will see 5 to 10 mph breezes, and only in the afternoons. On most days that I play (I play very early), there is no real wind to test you. This is why firmness of the course and its flexible length will be a key to a successful US Open.


Wade Whitehead

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2015, 07:14:30 PM »
Been excited about this thread for a long time.

Thanks, Richard.

WW

Guy Nicholson

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 1st Hole
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2015, 07:59:18 PM »
I wonder if there's any chance they'll put stands on top of those hills? Not sure how great it would look on TV, but it would address the safety issue and make for a unique spectating experience.

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