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Richard Choi

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Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole New
« on: January 26, 2015, 10:21:35 PM »



2nd Hole, 420 Yards, Par 4



This will be a weird US Open. I don’t expect to see a slew of doubles and triples due to absence of unplayable hazards and relatively wide fairways. Unless you are really unlucky or dumb, you should be able to navigate your round, even under US Open pressure, without explosive numbers.

On the other hand, I do not expect to see too many birdies either as the combination of length (I expect this course to be the longest course ever – at least for a par 70) and severe movements of the greens will make it difficult to place approach shots within birdie-able range. This will be a grinder’s paradise.

However, if you expect to win US Open this year, you better birdie the second hole at least twice during your week as this is one of the few holes where you may see birdies come in bunches. This is a short hole (yes, it is weird to call a 400+ yard hole “short”, but that is where we are today in golf) where most players will be hitting an iron/hybrid off the tee and then a wedge to the pin. If you do not birdie this hole, you will feel like you let one get away as you walk towards the third hole.

US Open Changes

Most of the changes that happened on this hole is cosmetic (i.e. rough line) and I pray that this hole will be returned to the pre-US Open set up, because it used to be a FAR superior hole than what it is today.

This used to be an extremely wide hole where the fairway spanned from the dunes on the right to the dunes on the left. The fairway width has been almost halved by bringing the rough line from the right dunes by about 20 - 30 yards. This changes the entire tenor of the hole as previously, the whole point of this hole was to hit an awkward drive into the blind area to the right to get the best angle. That element is gone with this set up.

The fairway bunker at the end of the left fairway (C) has been cleaned up and made less “natural”, this makes the hole easier to play.

Tee Shot



Most players will be hitting an iron/hybrid from the tee as the fairway narrows to the neck about 20 yard wide about 280 yards from the tee. To stay short of the bunker (C), you will not want to hit the tee shot any more than 230 or so yards in the air.



However, long drivers may want to think about hitting a driver and try to get it close to the green as possible. As long as you miss the dunes on the right (you will need a draw), missing short of the green is not the worst (50+ yard bunker shot) place to be especially if the pin is in the front. If you can hit a draw that finds the fairway, you will have a very simple chip shot that will almost guarantees a birdie. This could be a really exciting hole on Sunday with a desperate chase group.

Alas, I am expecting most players to lay up. One of my favorite things about Chambers Bay is that pin positions have a great influence on tee shots of many holes, and before you tee off on the second hole, you better check the pin sheet to see where the hole is.

If the pin is in the front, you want to be close to the right edge of the fairway as possible (M) to give you the best angle to the pin. From the right, you can fly it or bump and run it to the pin in the front. However, the right side of the fairway is harder to get to as the fairway is bisected by a ridge that runs right to left. If you hit the middle of the fairway or a draw, you will end up on the left side (N).



If your tee shot is to the left, you better make sure you leave it sufficiently short of the fairway bunker (C) as there is nothing to slow you down and balls will kick forward. This used to be a hairier situation as the transition area between the fairway and the bunker used to be very uneven in lie and growth. It was a crapshoot whether or not you were going to get a playable lie. That is no longer the case as your ball will end up in the sand every time. It is not the end of the world to end up in the bunker as the lie will be even as long as you don’t run up to the bunker’s edge or roll just short of several grass islands in the middle of the bunker.



If there is any wind, it is most likely coming from behind you. If it is, you should really think about using the driver. There is also a chance that you may face a headwind coming from north. That is actually a favorable wind as this is not a long hole and it will help you hit the approach shot tighter with the wind.

A miss to the right (A) is the worst outcome you can have on this hole. Grass here used to be fairway, and it is thick and healthy. Thankfully, there is not as much poa here, so it is somewhat more playable than other places, but it will not be pretty. A miss to the left (B) isn’t as terrible as growth here isn’t quite as thick, but you will have to carry the approach all the way to the green, and if the pin is in the front half, you are not likely to leave it anywhere within 10 yards of the hole.

The Approach - Front Pin



I am going to separate out front and back pin approaches as they are completely different shots. The front pin is the friendlier of the two as there are multiple ways to hit it close. The front half runs back to front from the middle ridge. Because of this, you should be able to fire your wedge fairly close to the pin and have it stuck. Preferably, it will be a baby fade as the right to left slope will help you stick it even more.



If you are in the right side (really, most of the fairway), of the fairway, you can also bump and run it as fairway to green is level and smooth from the right (F). If the pin is tucked really close to the front edge, the bump and run will be ideal as even if you leave it short of the green, it will be very puttable (uphill). If you are in the right rough (A), you will have no choice but to bump and run it if you want to get it close with no spin.

Another benefit to the bump and run is that you will take the right greenside bunker (G) out of play. This will be a tough bunker to play out of for a front pin as everything is running away from you.

If you are coming from the left, you will have to deal with the hollow area front left of the green (E).



As you can see from above, there is a bit of ridge that rises sharply from the left front hollow. Any wedge shot that lands here probably will not have enough momentum to carry this sharp rise. Any draw approach that is pulled will end up in this hollow area as well.

The key is that there is a lot of room on the right and you want to stick to that side (just short of the G bunker). There is no reason to mess with the large bunker on the left.

Approach - Back Pin



If the green is firm as I believe it will be, anything that lands past the ridge in the back half of the green will roll off the green unless you are hitting a very high wedge with a lot of spin. Wedge distance control will be at premium as if you land short of the ridge, will be left in the front half with a 30+ feet severe right to left putt left.



You have a bit more margin for (wedge distance) error from the left side. From the left, you have a little better angle to hit a shot closer to the right sideboard (L). This sideboard will gather aggressive wedge shots and roll them back towards the middle of the hole.

From the right, either your distance control has to be perfect, or you will have to bump and run it by hitting a lower trajectory shot to the front right half of the green and let it trickle up the slope (being in the right rough may actually help with this).

Around the Green/ Putting



I have labeled possible pin positions 1 through 4 from most difficult to easiest. The number 1 is the hardest since it is in the relatively highest position on the green and the sideboard will keep it any errant shots from being close.. #2 is not much easier as many of the approach shots close to it will end up in the bunker to the left.

Any putt that goes across the ridge will be treacherous as the putt will pick up speed as it cross the ridge. You really want to putt from the same side of the ridge.

If you miss to the bunker on the left, this is what you will be working with:



This actually looks worse than it is as you are hitting an uphill bunker shot to the pin, but it is still to be avoided, especially for front pins.

Like many of the greens at Chambers, sideboard figures prominently at the second green.



If your approach shot hits this sideboard, it will ricochet your ball back to the left and you will end up in the bunker. However, it is quite friendly for bunker shots, chip shots and long lag putts with less momentum coming in. If you want to do well at Chambers, you better study closely how the ball releases off sideboards on every green that features it.

[imghttp://hhgpsa.bn1303.livefilestore.com/y2pwUplt3EztKXZdc7rrVvj4pg3Xh5f90DZEVVKw0d8NIQQDa67WQ8c4xKDurBEFouokCOJP__4u16NWizeMJGzokmfcxXk9vzpNRJnAp0qb6LRKOfjbjeGske7yC3blBz9NYIVzupAPjQR0qUCJLrE6I-h57Mu3ImMfJADFc5wmVE/Hole%2002%20-%20WP_20150419_13_58_30_Pro%20%28800x450%29.jpg[/img]

Because of the sideboard, most of the green runs right to left, sometimes severely so (near the ridge). But the green is a bit of a saddle with a bit of slope that comes down from the left bunker. In a few decades, I expect the slope to be more consistently towards the Puget Sound, but for now, there is some slope that comes back from left to right (especially in the front half). Trust your eyes on these putts.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2015, 01:55:55 AM by Richard Choi »

Ryan Taylor

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2015, 10:44:04 PM »
Richard, Thanks for taking the time to do this. This is a real treat to read. Because of your 1st hole write up, I edited my travel plans for March Bandon trip and will come in a day earlier to play Chambers. I'm also looking forward to US Open for a variety of reasons - golf course, FOX telecast, primetime viewing on the east coast, etc. Let the count down begin.
“Bandon is like Chamonix for skiers or the North Shore of Oahu for surfers,” Rogers said. “It is where those who really care end up.”

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2015, 11:41:00 PM »
May I make the suggestion that you put all of the holes in one thread.  It will make it a lot easier to revisit the tour once its done.

It'll also allow for general conversation on the course itself or different groups of holes as the tour is ongoing.

Thanks for doing this.
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

Alex Miller

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 11:45:56 PM »
Love these threads so far Richard!

Here's a hopefully legitimate question: given the sideboard, is playing down 16 with a Driver an option to be considered? This would allow the player a wedge approach with a backboard to a wide putting surface, however it may not make sense for some pins.

Looking forward to the rest of these!


Edit: Nevermind, I see in the aerial that the fairways are no longer connected. Perhaps not the play...

Jim Nugent

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2015, 11:53:39 PM »
Richard, you said the hole used to be far better.  Why did they change it -- they felt the driving zone was too wide? 


Matthew Essig

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2015, 12:31:45 AM »
Richard, you said the hole used to be far better.  Why did they change it -- they felt the driving zone was too wide? 



I believe the rough line was brought in because

1) the fairway was very wide up until the 325ish yard mark, so shrinking the fairway down takes driver out of most hands.
2) have the layup with a hybrid/5 or 3 metal be semi-difficult.

I, too, hope that the rough line here is extended back out to the base of the dunes on the right.
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

Matthew Essig

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2015, 12:58:44 AM »
Once again, Richard is spot on with the analysis!



I think a key feature of this hole is the hollow/false edge short left of the green. Knowing that the USGA likes to be tough on the pros, don't be surprised to see no hole location at (4). Mike Davis could easily cut it front center/front left a few paces above the false edge in front of (3). Or he could add a second hole location in the back left by cutting it 4 yards from the back edge behind (2).
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

Richard Choi

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2015, 01:31:16 AM »
I edited my travel plans for March Bandon trip and will come in a day earlier to play Chambers...

Fantastic. Just be aware that Chambers will have many temp greens (they are still fun than most other regular greens).

Richard Choi

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2015, 01:32:06 AM »
May I make the suggestion that you put all of the holes in one thread.  It will make it a lot easier to revisit the tour once its done.

Will do. Probably would be a good way to begin a US Open discussion perhaps a week before it starts.

Richard Choi

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2015, 01:37:03 AM »
Here's a hopefully legitimate question: given the sideboard, is playing down 16 with a Driver an option to be considered? This would allow the player a wedge approach with a backboard to a wide putting surface, however it may not make sense for some pins.

Hmmm... That definitely is something that I have not considered. You would think with my wild swing, I would have ended up there at least once or twice, but I have not.

There are a couple of issues besides the fairways not being connected. First, there are dunes between the tee and the 16th fairway. Not very tall ones, but if you hit it short, it could be a factor. The 16th fairway is also sloped quite a bit towards the ocean so a big hook may roll all the way in to the sand on the other side of the 16th fairway. The other reason is that 16th fairways is about 5 to 10 feet below the 2nd green so your approach would be completely blind. I don't think the gains in angle would be worth the risk.

Matthew Essig

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2015, 01:50:26 AM »
Here's a hopefully legitimate question: given the sideboard, is playing down 16 with a Driver an option to be considered? This would allow the player a wedge approach with a backboard to a wide putting surface, however it may not make sense for some pins.

Hmmm... That definitely is something that I have not considered. You would think with my wild swing, I would have ended up there at least once or twice, but I have not.

There are a couple of issues besides the fairways not being connected. First, there are dunes between the tee and the 16th fairway. Not very tall ones, but if you hit it short, it could be a factor. The 16th fairway is also sloped quite a bit towards the ocean so a big hook may roll all the way in to the sand on the other side of the 16th fairway. The other reason is that 16th fairways is about 5 to 10 feet below the 2nd green so your approach would be completely blind. I don't think the gains in angle would be worth the risk.

+1

Con 1: the 16th fairway is blind to the 2nd tee box
Con 2: 16th fairway slopes away towards a massive bunker.
Con 3: hit it too short and your ball is in nasty rough.

If you found a way for your drive to find the 16th fairway successfully,

Con 4: the approach would be blind to the green. You would see the top half - 2/3 of the flagstick, though.
Con 5: no where to bounce the ball into the green; all carry

BUT you are correct in thinking,
Pro 1: there would be a big backboard.
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

Matthew Essig

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2015, 04:04:37 AM »
Players will see #2 as an important kickstarter to a round. It will be the easiest par 4 on the front 9, and on days when #1 isn't a par 5, will likely be the easiest hole on the front 9. A birdie here might lead to back-to-back birdies and a solid front 9, but a bogey on this easy hole could create a negative disposition and lead to bogeys...or worse... at #4 and the "Bermuda Triangle" of #5, #6, and #7 (#4, typically a par 5, will play as a par 4).
« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 04:11:45 AM by Matthew Essig »
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

Jason Thurman

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2015, 09:24:24 AM »
Richard, your discussion of hole 2 makes clear that the hole plays a bit shorter than its listed yardage, particularly when you mention that tee shots shouldn't carry over 230 yards if they want to stay short of the bunker at 280. Can you explain why? Does it play downhill, or is the shorter-than-listed effect more a function of how firm and fast the course plays in general?

You mention that, prior to the fairway narrowing, the right side (now rough) presented the ideal angle in to the green. From the photos, it seems like the left side today (now that the narrowing has been done) would be a more ideal angle for pros as it seems the green would be more receptive to a high wedge shot from left of center than from right of center. Am I wrong about that? What made the right side advantageous previously?
"There will always be haters. That’s 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.

Richard Choi

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2015, 10:09:19 AM »
Does it play downhill, or is the shorter-than-listed effect more a function of how firm and fast the course plays in general?

The hole is pretty level, but it does have a slight tilt towards the green and the ball will kick forward nicely. With the firmness I am expecting, roll of 10% or more is probably reasonable. If you want to lay up, 250 to 260 total is a good target, and should be a 3 or 4 iron shot for most top pros.

What made the right side advantageous previously?

For the pros who hit wedges 150 yards, the left side is perfectly fine, though the right side will give you more shot options.

For us mere mortals, having more room on the right means we can take advantage of the bump and run option which comes in very handy when we are hitting 8 - 5 iron from the right, without having to navigate from the rough.

J_ Crisham

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2015, 10:32:44 AM »
Richard,  Nice review! Any idea when the course will reopen for play after the Open? We are planning a family trip the last week of July and I would enjoy a game at Chambers.

Richard Choi

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2015, 10:54:52 AM »
Jay, I expect Chambers to open within 2 weeks after US Open. I would call ahead to confirm but you should be able to play in July.

Matt_Cohn

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2015, 01:07:32 PM »
May I make the suggestion that you put all of the holes in one thread.  It will make it a lot easier to revisit the tour once its done.

It'll also allow for general conversation on the course itself or different groups of holes as the tour is ongoing.

Thanks for doing this.

Disagree, as such a thread would probably reach 50 pages and make navigation a frustrating endeavor. I'm sure an index thread, with links to each of the 18 holes, will be posted when the tour is complete!

Jim Nugent

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2015, 03:17:19 PM »
I agree with Matt. 

Garland Bayley

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2015, 03:20:33 PM »
May I make the suggestion that you put all of the holes in one thread.  It will make it a lot easier to revisit the tour once its done.

It'll also allow for general conversation on the course itself or different groups of holes as the tour is ongoing.

Thanks for doing this.

Disagree, as such a thread would probably reach 50 pages and make navigation a frustrating endeavor. I'm sure an index thread, with links to each of the 18 holes, will be posted when the tour is complete!

Or, it could be a thread with 18 copied posts.
"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

Jason Thurman

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2015, 03:30:53 PM »
Thanks Richard. I have another question after looking again at the frightening photo of the bunker left of this green.

I recall from watching the Amateur a few years back that bunker sand at Chambers Bay has a unique slate-gray color, at least as it appears on TV. How would you describe the sand's playing qualities - what kind of lies does it give, how often do balls plug or bury in it, what's the texture like, etc?

Also, with regards to the organization of these threads, I originally thought a single thread would be best so that I could pull it up and cruise around in it during the event. However, seeing how this thread is organized with the link to the hole 1 thread included, I think that will work just fine. It'll be much easier to navigate from an index that links to separate threads for each hole than it will be to navigate one very long thread. I think you've made the right choice.
"There will always be haters. That’s 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.

Richard Choi

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2015, 04:19:55 PM »
I recall from watching the Amateur a few years back that bunker sand at Chambers Bay has a unique slate-gray color, at least as it appears on TV. How would you describe the sand's playing qualities - what kind of lies does it give, how often do balls plug or bury in it, what's the texture like, etc?

I talked about it briefly in the first hole discussion. The sand at Chambers is from local quarries and it is real sand, not crushed rock (especially marble) like it is at most upscale clubs these days. The balls do not setup as nicely as they do in crushed rock. However, the sand here is not as smoothly weathered as they at Bandon and balls will not get buried like they do there.

What I have experienced is that fried egg lies only occur if you are hitting a very high ball. The balls will sit up fine if they just roll into the bunker, which it will be in most cases. I do not expect bunker play to be particularly difficult here. If you hit into fairway bunkers, you will have a decent lie to play your approach shot as long as you don't roll into the lip.

There is also a ton of non-hazard sand waste areas (which I believe will play as such). I will note them as we encounter them. They do not play any appreciably different than regular bunkers as sand is pretty consistent. There may be a bit more pebbles in those areas.

Matthew Essig

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2015, 04:49:37 PM »
I recall from watching the Amateur a few years back that bunker sand at Chambers Bay has a unique slate-gray color, at least as it appears on TV. How would you describe the sand's playing qualities - what kind of lies does it give, how often do balls plug or bury in it, what's the texture like, etc?

I talked about it briefly in the first hole discussion. The sand at Chambers is from local quarries and it is real sand, not crushed rock (especially marble) like it is at most upscale clubs these days. The balls do not setup as nicely as they do in crushed rock. However, the sand here is not as smoothly weathered as they at Bandon and balls will not get buried like they do there.

What I have experienced is that fried egg lies only occur if you are hitting a very high ball. The balls will sit up fine if they just roll into the bunker, which it will be in most cases. I do not expect bunker play to be particularly difficult here. If you hit into fairway bunkers, you will have a decent lie to play your approach shot as long as you don't roll into the lip.

There is also a ton of non-hazard sand waste areas (which I believe will play as such). I will note them as we encounter them. They do not play any appreciably different than regular bunkers as sand is pretty consistent. There may be a bit more pebbles in those areas.

I am going to throw in some history notes, too:

"The sand and gravel mined was as high quality and pure as it gets. The sand and gravel is known as “Steilacoom Grade.” It was highly, highly desirable as it was so clean and pure. As a result, it took very little processing."

When building the course, the train of dump trucks was endless; more than 100,000 loads moving 1.4 million cubic yards were filtered of the bigger pieces of gravel, and then replaced.

Typing in "granite sand" into google images.... *poof* an image of the grey sand appears (below).



As Richard said, the giant waste areas are not as filtered; it is much more pebble-y. They are quite compact, too. Balls can roll a good distance in these (especially the steep bunker at 16 pictured below where you seem to trek down a mountain to find your ball after a drive) and your ball will be sitting up.



The more filtered sand in bunkers can leave poorer lies if you hit a high shot that lands in a face. Assuming you don't plug it in a face, it is easy to get good contact on the ball from most of the bunkers. In Richard's picture below, you can see the ball mark rolling nicely down the face of the bunker.



Like Richard said about the bunker long right of the green on 2 (below), it is a very straight-forward bunker shot because a ball that rolls in will have a good lie.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 04:54:26 PM by Matthew Essig »
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

Brent Carlson

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2015, 12:46:32 AM »
Agree with everything Rich.

This hole is subtly good.  CB needs to restore the width after the Open.

Matthew Petersen

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2015, 01:56:17 PM »
You mention that a player needing to make up ground might pull driver to try to get into chipping range of the green. Any chance the USGA moves up the tee to try to make this a drivable hole?

I seem to recall Chambers has other short 4s so maybe that's not necessary ...

Matthew Essig

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 2nd Hole
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2015, 05:51:49 PM »
You mention that a player needing to make up ground might pull driver to try to get into chipping range of the green. Any chance the USGA moves up the tee to try to make this a drivable hole?

I seem to recall Chambers has other short 4s so maybe that's not necessary ...

Given the large elasticity in the length of every hole between front and back tees, it is possible to make #2 a 310 yard par 4. While it is completely possible for Mike Davis to make it drivable, I doubt he will. #12 is already a 305 yard par 4, making it drivable everyday. During the US Am, #16 was set up as a drivable par 4 for a day. So, if there was a par 4 that I would watch for a very pushed forward tee, it would be #16, probably not #2 (but still a slight possibility).
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

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