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Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Hole #5, Par 4, 530 Yards
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2015, 01:03:38 PM »

Rant time.

#5 is the hole that has gone through the most extensive change (in my opinion) in preparation for US Open. It used to be one of my very favorite holes at Chambers Bay. Now, it is just ho-hum hole with a nice view from the tee.

#5 Hole Then


What went wrong? Why?

The most obvious answer to why is that #5 was perhaps the quirkiest hole at Chambers Bay. It had two greens, one of which was a driveable green 200 yards away from the other. #5 also had one of the widest fairway at Chambers, a straight landing strip 80 yards wide that went all the way to about 130 yards from the green. It is not surprising that US Open officials wanted something more conventional.

I am not too upset about losing the second green. It was almost never available for everyday play (I only got to play it once). Only extensive use the green saw was during US Amateur match play (it was heaven for match play).

#5 Hole Now


I am extremely sadden by the loss of width. The second green and the area around it has been converted to a deep bunker, which narrowed the left side of the landing zone. The waste area on the right that it shared with the fourth hole was doubled in size to narrow the fairway by more than half. Think Bethpage Black 18th hole, with additional 50 yards of length.

These modifications have changed the hole with numerous options and creativity to just another hole. Before the modification, the pin position dictated your entire play. The tee is perched high up on the slope. You have an incredible view of Puget Sound. The pin position is readily identifiable from the tee box. Due to the large lionís mouth bunker that guards the green (and the greenís kidney shape around the bunker), it was strategically advantageous to leave your tee shot on the same side as the pin. Even though the fairway was incredibly wide, the desired landing area was relatively narrow. The hole did not aim to punish you for missing the ideal line, it inspired you to play the ideal line.

That is all gone now. There is nothing to really think about from the tee box. Your only aim is to hit the fairway, as far away from you as can to leave the shortest second shot possible.

What used to be one of the most inspirational tee shot is now nothing more than just another tee shot. That is really a crying shame.

Tee Shot


The tee box, especially the back one, is about 70 feet above the fairway. Unless there is a strong headwind, most players will be hitting 300 yard + drives. The landing zone (A) starts to narrow from about 300 yards to about 25 yards wide about 350 yards away.

The left side (where the temp green used to be) is the side you want to avoid. The left side bunker (B) is deeper and there are greater chances that you will end up with a dicey lie. Because you are on the lower side, you will also have a very poor view to the green from here as well.

The bunker on the right side (C) will attract many balls. Any long drive with a fade that lands on the right half of the fairway has a decent chance to end up here. However, it is not the end of the world as you the sand is fairly level and the right side of the green is more accessible.

The ideal shot shape here is a gentle draw (or dead straight) that lands on the right half of the fairway. This shot will have the best chance to stay on the fairway. Some players may decide to hit a 3-wood (on a 500+ yard hole!) here to eliminate the chance of rolling the ball into the bunkers.

Approach Shot
From the landing zone (A), you will be left with an uphill approach of around 200 yards. The green is shaped like a saddle with slopes running towards the green from both left and right. The main objective on the approach shot is to miss the lionís mouth bunker guarding the green. Depending on the pin position, you should be able to use the slope of the green to feed the ball back towards the center of the green.


If you are in the left bunker (B), you priority is to leave your ball somewhere on the green (and not bother with the pin). The best route is to use the green slope on the right side to bring it back towards the middle. The left side is to be avoided as the slope there is more abrupt and there is a very good chance that any ball that lands here will kick forward all the way to the sixth tee box.


If you are in the right bunker (C), most of the pin position should still be accessible to you. If the pin is in the right, you should be able to bump and run it up the right slope to feed it back towards the pin. The left side is more difficult, but you should be able to use the slope there to bring the ball back towards the middle as well. If aiming to the right slope, you need to make sure to clear the plateau. If not careful, the ball could end up on the plateau (E) instead of rolling down and you can kiss any right pin position good bye.


Around the Green


You have almost limitless options on how to play around the green. If you leave the ball short of the bunker, you can lob it, chip, or putt it to almost every possible pin position (using the saddle shape of the green). The most difficult places to play from are top of the slope on left and right. If you get stuck on top of these slopes and is short sided, there is almost no chance to get the ball close as everything is running away from you. It is best to cut your losses and play to the middle of the green.


Playing from the back of the green is also quite doable, as long as you are short of the rough. There is a bit of drop off from the back of the green to the gathering area, but with plenty of short grass, you can try to fly it or bump it into the drop off to kill some speed.

Bunker shot from the front is easy as long as the pins are to the side, as it is mostly uphill and close. Back pins will be a little trickier as the green is fairly deep and the sharp drop off in the back is something that will give you second thoughts.


Putting
The kidney shaped green is almost a bowl with sharp slopes coming from left and right and gentler slope from back to front (going away from the sound). These slopes dominate most putts and putts break a bit more than what you expect.


The front pins (either side) will be tough to putt as the side slopes dominate and will create heavy breaking putts.


A long putt to the back of the green rolls slower than they look and you will often come up short of the pin.



This is not an overly difficult green and getting a par should be fairly routine. Even with over 500 yards in length, chances of birdies here is as good as any other par 4ís in the front nine, other than #2.

Sean Leary

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2015, 03:52:41 PM »
Definitely liked the old fairway better. Can confirm Rich used to try to miss the left or right waste areas by a yard or two in order to get the best angle. Being in the waste area with a perfect angle was better for him than being in the middle of the fairway.




 ;)

Brent Carlson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2015, 04:02:18 PM »
Agree!!!  Bring the greatness of the hole back.  This was an OUTSTANDING par 4.  Now... :'(

Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2015, 05:09:09 PM »
Sean, just because I am not enough of a player to date Jennifer Aniston, does not preclude me from judging that she is hot.

Matt_Cohn

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2015, 09:38:47 PM »
Two questions here.

1. If the fairway were still 80 yards wide ó given how far the pros would drive it from a 70-foot elevated tee to a super-wide, super-firm fairway ó would they care about the angle at all? Or would they just hit a 350-yard drive and a 9-iron from wherever?

2. If you could restore either the left or right part to fairway, which would you choose?

Matthew Essig

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2015, 10:03:36 PM »
If I had to choose, I would probably restore the left side of the fairway. IMO, the left side of the green is harder to approach.
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2015, 10:16:21 PM »
Two questions here.

1. If the fairway were still 80 yards wide ó given how far the pros would drive it from a 70-foot elevated tee to a super-wide, super-firm fairway ó would they care about the angle at all? Or would they just hit a 350-yard drive and a 9-iron from wherever?

2. If you could restore either the left or right part to fairway, which would you choose?

Yes, they would hit a 350 yard drive and a 7 iron (it is a ~200 yard shot even after a 350 yard drive). But so what? It plays amazingly interesting for 99.99% of the players. There are plenty of other holes at Chambers to challenge them. It would still have been more difficult than #2 as it was. I see no point in dramatically changing the nature of the hole for 0.01% of the players.

If their aim is to make this hole more difficult, adding more sand is not the way to go as hitting from the bunkers on the right is not that hard (as I stated above). This hole would be FAR more difficult if they just halved the fairway and grew the rough on the right side. The pros will have a devil of a time trying to hold the green from the rough here. The fairway then could have been easily restored to the original condition after US Open. Now, the hole is ruined forever. I just don't understand this choice, at all.

If you are not going back to the original design, I see no point in restoring just the half...
« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 10:25:41 PM by Richard Choi »

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2015, 03:26:13 AM »
Can anyone explain to me what the point is of choosing a course for a championship and then fundamentally altering it. The fifth has been redesigned in effect and bears no similarity to the original except for the skyline from the tee. Surely the clever placing of 3 or 4 fairway bunkers with associated funnelling contours would have done just as effective a challenge.

Great thread Richard.

Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2015, 01:25:40 PM »
Jon, I don't think that is quite fair.

You have to remember that Chambers Bay is not even 10 years old. It is a baby in GCA terms. Other well established venues had decades to make tweaks and changes to their course. Heck, Augusta makes major modifications every year.

I am not necessarily against changes. I think many of the changes instituted for US Open are neutral or positive. I just really do not agree with this change.

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2015, 06:58:47 AM »
Richard,

I am not having a go a the course. I would not call what has happened to the 5th as an evolution but rather a redesign. It bears no resemblance to the original hole in either look nor strategy.

Jon

Jason Thurman

  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2015, 08:34:08 AM »
Richard, it looks like there's a ton going on around the green on this hole. I'll be excited to watch how players handle the contours apparent in the green surroundings.

Last year, we saw that putting from off the green at Pinehurst was the clear percentage play for short game shots on the majority of holes. While some guys had periods of success pitching and chipping, most of the players who went those routes consistently eventually made a big mistake that cost them multiple strokes. Kevin Na's debacle on 16 is the most memorable example for me. The result became a bit one-dimensional at times.

What do you think will be the preferred play around a green like the 5th at Chambers Bay? Will we see a clear "right way" to play from a few yards off the green, or will strategies vary?
"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.

Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2015, 11:41:48 AM »
Jon, I do not disagree that this is a redesign. But if you compare a list of courses that have hosted majors, the ones who had redesign like this (at least a hole or two) in its history would far outnumber the ones that do not.

Jason, great question.

I think it depends.

There are three different types of plays around the green. The first is where you have to carry over a false front or a significant slope between you and the green (say, from the bottom of the 1st or short of the green on 4th). In this case, I think the safest play is to play a low bump and run in most cases. There are usually sidehills or sideboards to help you with this on most holes. If you hit it low and hit into the slope, it will release nicely to the green and it will be very controllable.

The second is where you have the fairway blending gently into the green where there is almost no distinct boundary between. I prefer a chip with a hybrid in these cases and you may need more power than what a putter may provide.

The third is a downhill lie like it is here on the fifth (from left and right wings). You have almost no choice other than using a putter here. You can try to lob high and hope to hit a flatter spot on the green to kill the speed, but that is a very very risky play.

I saw a LOT of guys play regular flop shots off the green at US Am with varying degree of success. I will say that they had more success with it than I would have imagined. I still think other shots are better choices, percentage wise.

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2015, 04:53:12 PM »
Richard, not really the point I was getting at but never mind ::)

Matthew Essig

  • Karma: +0/-0
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 12:11:36 AM by Matthew Essig »
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

Jonathan Mallard

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2015, 03:13:19 PM »
It seems Mr. Norman is getting started in his preperation for calling the US Open.

Not exactly what he means by "Joke 5"

"Joke 5 @ChambersBayGokf 490 yards Par 4 100+ foot drop. Spectacular view."

https://instagram.com/p/18wIHnJQPR/


Jason Thurman

  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2015, 05:00:37 PM »
Looks like an unfortunate typo to me.
"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.

Matthew Essig

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2015, 07:50:34 PM »
Looks like an unfortunate typo to me.

*Autocorrect
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 5th Hole
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2015, 03:26:51 PM »
Another GREAT example of how strategic width can be.


Jordan hits a 3 wood that draws and ends up in the left side of the fairway, opposite of where the pin is located (right), and has the shortest approach.


Justin Rose goes for surgical precision with his iron off the tee to the right side of the fairway. And even though, he is hitting from further away from Jordan, Rose has much easier shot as the green and the pin is very open from this angle and he leaves the approach about 20 feet below the pin.


Jordan is hitting from about 15 yards shorter, tries to go around the lionsmouth bunker, but pulls his shot into the bunker in the way.


Even though they were both in the fairway (and Jordan was closer), one was much more preferable to the other (and all based on pin position alone).

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