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Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0

Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
6th Hole, 480 Yards, Par 4
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 11:21:19 PM »


The strength of Chambers Bay is its collection of world-class par fours and the #6 is certainly a contender for the best of them. The #6ís combination of benign looking, but deadly hazard off the tee and drop-dead gorgeous, but treacherous green site is good as you will find anywhere.

US Open Changes
The fairway has been narrowed by growing rough in the left quarter of the fairway. There used to be connected fairway here between #6 and #7.

Tee Shot
#6 may have the largest difference between the normal back tee to the championship tee at Chambers.  Even from the back tee, this is relatively a short hole (~400 yards) that plays a bit shorter due to a downhill tee shot. Something other than a driver is a popular choice here. However, from the Championship tee (~480 yards), this is one bear of a hole.

What is a wide open and inviting tee shot from the normal tees, becomes claustrophobic as the slope from the #5 green intrudes into your field of view and the green is hidden. The landing strip like tee grounds points towards the ominous  mounds on the right. Everything from the tee here orients your directly towards exactly where you donít want to go. Everything about this tee shot is psychologically awkward.


Driver is the play here as there is enough width in the landing area and most players should be short of the mounds on the left (O) where the hole begins to veer towards right. The green is sharply sloped and you will need to place the approach precisely and getting it close to the green as possible off the tee is going to make a huge difference.

With lack of water and reachable out of bounds, there are a very few places that you MUST avoid at Chambers. The right side of the landing zone at #6 is one of those places you must avoid.


There are three parts to the torture chamber. The first is a wall of dirt (C). Any ball here will be a punch out as the rough is thick and slope is sharp. Once you pass this wall, you will pass a service dirt path (D, which is relatively safe and playable as long as you stop here Ė which is unlikely) lined by a dirt wall on the other side. Most misses to the right will end up in the middle of the wall, where you will have a severe uphill like and total crap shoot of a lie. However, that may count your blessing that you ended up here instead of just above it on a plateau (E), where thick, knee high length rough will challenge you to just find your ball.


I guess what I am trying to say is, donít miss to the right on #6.

The miss to the left is (A), while not ideal, something that you can live with. The rough will be treacherous here, but it will not be as thick as it will be to the long right. The lie is level and you have an opening to the green that will allow you to land short and run up to the hole. As long as you have a playable lie, you can still shoot for a par from the left.

In the fairway (B), the ideal line is the right side of the fairway as it will orient the narrow green inline with your approach. However, I donít know if that advantage is enough to risk leaving your ball in the right mound. Middle of the fairway is the correct play here. There are gentle rolls and hollows in the fairway, but not enough to dictate strategy.

If you are a very long here (or the tee box is moved up), the mound on the left (O) may come in to play as very long drives will run through the fairway and end up on a side slope (especially if the wind is blowing from the north). This will be almost as bad as ending up on the right, so you need to be aware of how much your drive flies and rolls.

Approach
If you missed the fairway to the right (C, D, E), you have a completely blind approach and you need to be honest about how good of a lie that you have. There are numerous little gotchas around the green that will turn your bogie into a double, your main aim should be to avoid a big number. If you cannot get a clean contact on the ball, the correct play is to punch it back to the fairway. If the balls in on a severe uphill slope, the same applies.


If you gamble, there are many things that could go wrong. The worst is that you will end up in the large mound right of the green (L, which will be easy with a severe uphill lie). As it is true with most of the mounds at Chambers, the lie here will be very dicey and your stance will be terrible. With almost no green width, leaving the next shot on the green is not going to be easy. If you are lucky, you will end up in a bunker 10 yards short of the green (F) with a long bunker shot left.

If you have a thick lie, and you hook your ball, you are dead as you will end up in the left mounds (M, N) with side slope lie trying to hit over the bunkers. You really should think twice about trying to hit the green from a bad lie.

From the left (A), the lie will dictate the approach, but even with a buried lie, there is enough opening that you can try to roll the ball to the green, or at least leave it just short (I) where you have a relatively easy chip.

From the fairway, your main goal is to leave the ball below the pin. The green is narrow and long, with severe back to front slope. Any downhill or sidehill putt will be impossible to hole. The bunker short of the green (F) should not come into play as there is plenty of room between the bunker and the green (J). If the pin is in the front, this area is a great place to aim. The back of the green (K) is to be avoided at all costs for almost any pin position.

[/b]Around the Green[/b]
What makes this hole world class is its outstanding green and its surrounding. An emerald plateau lined by bunkers on both sides, surrounded by amphitheater of mounds is as beautiful and inspiring as it is deadly.


There are almost limitless variety of short shots that you can play here with difficulties ranging from simple putt/chip to ď1-800-Cars for KidsĒ jingle diabolical.

The simplest shots are the ones just short of the green (I) where many punch outs and shots from the rough will end up. There is a false front in the front of the green that you must climb, which will probably rule out putting for most players. A low chip shot with a 7 iron or a hybrid is the preferred play as the slope will kill the speed and gently roll the ball to the green.


The bunker shots left (G) and right (H) of the green is tougher, but fair as long as the lie is good (there will be some buried lies here and the some downhill lies that you have to hit high to clear the lip). Since the green is narrow, only objective here is to clear the lip. The slope of the green will do the rest.


The back of the green short of the rough (K) will  be troublesome. Distance control is paramount and everything is running away from you, sharply and a slight over-weight will cause the ball to go 15 feet pass the pin. Most players will putt from here. If the ball is in the rough, you are on your own.

The worst plays will be from the mounds left (M, N) and right (L) beyond the bunkers. The first problem is the lie. The ball will be anywhere from a foot to 3 feet below your feet (I have hit shots from knees here), and your lie will be terrible with pebbles, eroded drainage holes, and various weeds. You have no option of hitting it short of the green and letting it roll up as there is a bunker between you and the green. Even if you fly to the green, the green is so narrow that it will most likely roll through it and end up in a bunker on the other side. There are no good options here. The smart ones will abandon trying to hit the green and leave the ball in the flat area between the green and the front bunker (J). At least from here, you have a relatively simple chip and a putt.


Putting


For a green with lack of heaving movements that are common in other greens at Chambers, the difficulty when it comes to putting here is off the chart. The problem comes mainly from the back to front slope.

When you are walking around the green, the slope does not seem so bad, but it is consistent with very few flat areas and once the ball starts rolling downhill, there is very little to stop it. If you are facing any sort of downhill or side hill putts, leaving the ball somewhere within 3 feet of the pin will be a challenge. Trying to make these putts will be foolish,  your goal should be to have a reasonable comeback putt.


There is a bit of saddle effect here as there is some slope coming from the bunkers lining the green left and right. These will cause most putts to have two distinct breaks.

It takes almost no skill to find difficult pin positions on this green. A pin in the smack middle of the green (2) will be one of the most difficult pin position a player will face all day. If USGA is feeling particularly evil, there is a small plateau (of about 3 feet by 3 feet) in the back left of the green (1), which will be impossible to get close. If the pin is there, I expect the average score on this hole to be around 4.3 or higher.

Will Lozier

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 6th Hole
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2015, 11:09:14 AM »
Richard,

That right side bunker (H) looks brutal.  From pics, it reminds me of the left side bunker at Pac Dunes 16th which always presents a really tough challenge.  Narrow so that a ball sticking on the back side of the slope - slightly downhill with maybe a limited backswing playing to a green sloping away - is almost impossible.  Does it ever play this way?

Cheers

Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 6th Hole
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2015, 02:02:20 PM »
Will, you are correct. I meant to mention that in the posting.

Both bunkers are quite narrow. If the ball ends up on the bottom (flat) of the bunker, even though the lip is quite steep, most pros probably won't have too much trouble getting the ball out. However, if the ball rolls in and ends up on the opposite side (which is more likely to occur on the right side bunker), it will be very difficult to keep the ball on the green.

This does happen, and there will be players who will face some difficult choices.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 02:17:21 PM by Richard Choi »

Stephen Davis

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 6th Hole
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2015, 02:15:18 PM »
Richard,

Thank you for these great write ups! I have played Chambers Bay several times and love it. These photo tours are really great and bring back memories of great times spent out there. The 6th hole is a really great hole and you are correct that the green and the surrounds really make the hole.

Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 6th Hole
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2015, 07:08:17 PM »
I forgot to mention one more thing.

Thanks to El Nino, Seattle area is enjoying an unusually dry, sunny, and warm winter. This has it much more likely that the turf condition will not be a problem for US Open.

The course has already opened the regular greens for #1, #7, #10, and #13, which were using temp greens over the winter. This is at least a couple of months earlier than what I was expecting.

I fully expect Chambers Bay to play firm and fast for US Open and greens to be consistent.

Colin Macqueen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 6th Hole
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2015, 07:21:56 PM »
Richard,

This is mouth-watering stuff!
You have already conjured up in my mind the idea that this will be the most testing and adventurous of any U.S. Open.

I guess it is just this is the first time, in my experience, that the treacherous path the professionals have to steer has been described in such a vivid and compelling manner.

Great stuff! I am afraid that, come the competition proper, I am likely to miss the occasional shot being struck as I will be too busy assessing the hole (courtesy of one R. Choi) on my damn laptop as it is being played!

Cheers and thanks,  Colin
"Golf, thou art a gentle sprite, I owe thee much"
The Hielander

Matthew Essig

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 6th Hole
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2015, 11:41:17 PM »
I forgot to mention one more thing.

Thanks to El Nino, Seattle area is enjoying an unusually dry, sunny, and warm winter. This has it much more likely that the turf condition will not be a problem for US Open.

The course has already opened the regular greens for #1, #7, #10, and #13, which were using temp greens over the winter. This is at least a couple of months earlier than what I was expecting.

I fully expect Chambers Bay to play firm and fast for US Open and greens to be consistent.

I can't think of a sunnier and warmer winter in my lifetime. I wore shorts the other day.

Great to hear that the turf is so healthy. Is 15 still using the "pickup ball" situation?

Assuming spring isn't poor, I, too, expect a firm and fast US Open.
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

Brent Carlson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 6th Hole
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2015, 01:03:30 AM »
#6 is a fantastic par 4 and one of the best at Chambers.  There is so much going on here that the GCA community will love.  I call this a "violent" green site.  If you don't hit the green the ball will violently carom in various directions.  You want to be short of the hole and not in the right bunker.  The green site feel will remind many of Ballybunion.

Matthew Essig

  • Karma: +0/-0
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 12:10:33 AM by Matthew Essig »
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

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