Our second course in the Pacific Northwest took us to the renowned US Open course, Chambers Bay.
Set on the Puget Sound south of Seattle, this old rock quarry turned golf course features some of the most dramatic scenery and views we’ve seen. Not only are the views amazing, but the course played phenomenally and is every bit worth it.
Check out the full review to see why it’s a must play.
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Chambers Bay is a 40 minute to 1 hour drive from Seattle International Airport and Downtown Seattle, respectively. The drive is all on the freeway and can be an easy cruise without traffic.
Course Views: 10/10
Chambers Bay was carved out of an old rock quarry. You’ll notice large concrete storage bins still erected from the old quarry site but what you’ll really notice, is the breathtaking views of the Puget Sound, Cascade Mountain Range, and the rolling hills that make up the course. It really is breathtaking and will leave you in awe throughout the round, no matter how you’re playing.
Pro Shop: 5/5
The clubhouse and Pro Shop are at the top of the hill. You need to take a shuttle bus down to the starter and course.
The pro shop is quaint but full of high quality gear and branded items for you or loved ones.
There is also a small historical shrine dedicated to the 2015 US Open which was hosted at Chambers Bay.
Practice Facilities: 8/10
The driving range and putting green are down by the starter. The driving range has balls for you to use with your tee time or purchase of your day pass for the practice facilities. You hit off natural grass. The putting green is just next to it and offers a realistic view of whats to come on the course: quick, hilly greens.
The restaurant sits atop the hill and overlooks the course and the Puget Sound. The food is just as good as the view.
The staff were very friendly and the members I played with were also welcoming and helpful with local tips for the course.
Rentals/Golf Cart: 5/5
Rental clubs are TaylorMade M4 Woods and Irons and there are no golf carts allowed on the course. It is a walking course only and push carts are available for free.
Fairway Condition: 9/10
The fairways were in near perfect shape in late spring. The day before I played there was some rain but that proved to be no problem for this links style course. Drainage was excellent and the fairways were lush. You’ll find there’s rarely a straight fairway with most winding their way to the green. This along with the rolling hills can create some optical illusions and having a local or caddy can make your round a little easier.
Rough Condition: 8/10
The got rough quick. In keeping with traditional links style, the natural landscape serves as the rough and in late spring, the rough hadn’t grown in yet leaving some dry spots and shorter clumps of grass. If you hit it in the first cut of rough, you have a decent look at getting it out cleanly as the first cut of rough was fairly short. If you’re in the fescue, good luck.
Sand Trap Condition: 9/10
There’s plenty of sand to go around at Chambers Bay. If you don’t find the bunkers, you should try and get your Tour Card. Bunkers are numerous and are on every hole. You’ll find larger sand features on a few holes where it’s just one large bunker. Pro tip- if you’re in the sand, just get back into play. Don’t try and make a big play from the sand. Even with the large amount of bunkers on the course, they were all in great shape.
Greens Conditions: 4.5/5
The greens are still in US Open shape at Chambers Bay. At the beginning of the 2019 season, they changed the greens to bent grass and while I can’t compare to what they were like before, I can say they were fast and firm. The undulation on the greens was also something to take note of. Ball placement is imperative to score at Chambers Bay. They proved to be a formidable challenge but were in fantastic shape.
Chambers Bay favors large landing areas and they are nicely taken care of with very tightly trimmed grass. Through and through, you could putt or chip from the fringe, depending on which club is working better for you during the round.
Par 3's: 5/5
The iconic Par 3, 15th hole has the lone pine tree which has the perfect backdrop of the Puget Sound. If you’re lucky, you can see the resident Bald Eagle nesting in the tree. Outside of this hole, the Par 3’s aren’t easy. The second photo below shows the Par 3, 9th which is 200yds from the Sand Tee. It has a. massive downhill drop bu the wind can turn the hole into just about any yardage. The steep bunkers in front make for a daunting tee shot.
Even though the price ticks into the $200’s during peak season, this course is more than worth it. Not only for the notoriety of being a. US Open course, but for its views, condition, and experience. It’s certainly a one of a kind course and I guarantee you’ll be talking about it for years after you play it.
Final Rating: 91.5/100
Chambers Bay is one of the most memorable courses I’ve played. The dramatic scenery of the Puget Sound and Cascades coupled with a stunning Robert Trent Jones II design will leave you in awe as you play. To top it off, you’ll find the course challenging but rewarding. The shot creativity here is something that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
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