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Chambers Bay - Tuedsday Practice Round

Chambers Bay US Open

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#1 spud3

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 12:56 PM

A few thoughts from my trip up to Chambers Bay Tuesday to watch the practice round:

I was not so impressed with the spectator experience.  Parking lots are reasonably well-managed and easily accessed from I-5, but the school bus shuttles were not comfortable.  These are busses built for grade-schoolers; I'm 6' tall and had to fold myself into my seat.  They guy next to me was probably 6'4" and he was not enjoying the ride, though the ride is fairly short (about 15-20 min).  The drop-off is quite a ways from the course.

My biggest security beef is that there are no backpacks allowed, at least anything bigger than 6"x6" (fanny-pack size).  They do allow clear plastic bags, but also not big.  I thought this was ridiculous, as there is a security search (and metal-detector) at the parking lot to board the shuttle.  They look through everything anyway, why not allow small packs?  No food, no bottles (other than empty).  Volunteers and staff were all very friendly and accommodating.

You need to be ready to hike some hills, even if you don't want to do anything other than find a grandstand and park for the day.  Spectator walking routes are not straightforward, signage is so-so.  It is impossible to simply follow a group around the course.  It is difficult to tell where you are on the course, which hole is which, etc.  Walkways are mostly sand, some of it fairly deep.  Some are virtually impassible for the (free) carts that are available for senior/disabled fans.

I was there from 6:30 AM til 4:30 on Tuesday.  I don't know how close they were to "full," but it was difficult enough to get around that I am very glad I will be watching the tournament from my couch.  It wasn't bad early, but by mid-morning the routes were getting clogged and the crossings were very crowded.  The main spectator square was very crowded and the merchandise "tent" (about two football fields in size) was completely packed.  Prices were ok for things (hats: $27, t-shirts: $25, single ballmarker: $2, souvenier flag: $30), but food was a little spendy (cheeseburger: $8, salmon sandwich: $13, water: $2.50).  The food options were ok, best in the main spectator square.  There are no water refill stations, but free water in the first aid tents.

For those going:  the weather looks to be pretty good, with the possible exception of Friday.  Yesterday morning was cool, maybe 50F, and it took a while for the sun to burn off the marine layer.  I was glad I wore zip-offs and a pullover.  When the sun comes out, you'll need sunscreen, a good hat, sunglasses and binoculars. They sell all those things in the merchandise tent.  Wear shoes you don't mind getting dusty/sandy and that you would feel comfortable walking a couple miles on the beach.  There is no shade anywhere, even eating areas are all out in the sun.

Having said all that, I forgot what a wonderful course this is.  I accept that it is not everyone's cup of tea, but I love this style of course.  It demands that you are able to place shots in specific spots, especially in the approaches, and to be in command of the ball close to the ground.  I saw lots of guys hit an approach (or two), then walk up to maybe 50 yards away and whack a putt toward the hole.  Bubba almost holed one doing this, and the result was much closer than the approach he had just hit.

I think Chambers will look fabulous on tv, very much like the British courses do.  The fairways are a beautiful tawny-green, and don't let anyone tell you there isn't any rough.  There's a lot of tall fescue everywhere, including great mounds of it very close to some playing surfaces.  Most of it is pretty dry, though, so not impossible to play from.  I watched several players (Speith, Garcia, Bradley, Walker) take some hacks out of some long grass, and it seems to be wispy enough to get at the ball, as they all were able to make decent shots.

The greens did not appear to be running that fast, though I did see a greenskeeper watering a couple of them ahead of some of the early groups.  I think the USGA has the greens right where they want them, speed-wise, and it's just going to be fine-tuning from this point.  Bunkers are the native grey sand, much finer and heavier than the white stuff, and I thought they did a good job differentiating the bunkers from the waste areas.  DJ should be fine.

Again, I'm glad I'm watching from the comfort of my living room, but I will be watching very closely.  I think it's going to be a great tournament, just not for the spectators.

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"take that, you miserable
little white swine!"

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#2 Leflerej

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 01:05 PM

I had a very similar experience yesterday- Parking was too far of a shuttle, the crowds were hard to navigate and it was hard to get the view you were looking for on a lot of tees and greens. However, I am realllllly happy I went and saw the course. I will definitely be going back to play this fall (once is greens up again a bit). I am also glad to be watching this weekend from home, it should be a great tourny to watch on TV!

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#3 jamie

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 01:08 PM

Your observations are spot with what I experienced yesterday.  It was tough to find routes around the course.  I was extremely disappointed how difficult it was to watch full shots...most tee boxes didn't have spectator viewing.  They weren't lying when they said the best places were the grandstands, even though I didn't sit in any.
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#4 jamie

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 01:10 PM

View PostLeflerej, on 17 June 2015 - 01:05 PM, said:

I had a very similar experience yesterday- Parking was too far of a shuttle, the crowds were hard to navigate and it was hard to get the view you were looking for on a lot of tees and greens. However, I am realllllly happy I went and saw the course. I will definitely be going back to play this fall (once is greens up again a bit). I am also glad to be watching this weekend from home, it should be a great tourny to watch on TV!
I agree...I'm going to play it again ASAP.  Wish it wasn't so expensive, though.  Regarding parking, I had trophy club parking yesterday and for Saturday.  The parking lot for that was at Tacoma Community College and that was painless.  It took roughly 10 minutes to get to course from there.
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#5 ayotte2

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 02:56 PM

Both of your observations match mine. Trophy club parking at TCC was a piece of cake. I haven't been in a school bus in 38 years. I thought a united airlines legroom situation was bad. I'm 6'3" and the ride back was not good. Thanks to a vendor from work, I enjoyed a great day of golf. Even though it was just a practice day.

My wife and I will be in the 1895 club Thursday and Friday, I'm not going to log near as many miles as we did on Tuesday. It's a much easier walk to play Chambers than what we had to endure yesterday. Those hills are tough to climb since they're the maintainence roads and well off the course of play. At least I know where to go now on Thursday and what to avoid.

The course is in fantastic shape and the putts roll true. Americans are used to perfectl looking greens. It will not be the case here but I didn't see a single putt that didn't roll true. They just don't look like what Americans are used to seeing.

With all that said, I'm looking forward to watching Saturday and Sunday at home in my TV room with the BBQ on high alert.






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#6 spud3

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 03:28 PM

View Postjamie, on 17 June 2015 - 01:10 PM, said:

View PostLeflerej, on 17 June 2015 - 01:05 PM, said:

I had a very similar experience yesterday- Parking was too far of a shuttle, the crowds were hard to navigate and it was hard to get the view you were looking for on a lot of tees and greens. However, I am realllllly happy I went and saw the course. I will definitely be going back to play this fall (once is greens up again a bit). I am also glad to be watching this weekend from home, it should be a great tourny to watch on TV!
I agree...I'm going to play it again ASAP.  Wish it wasn't so expensive, though.  Regarding parking, I had trophy club parking yesterday and for Saturday.  The parking lot for that was at Tacoma Community College and that was painless.  It took roughly 10 minutes to get to course from there.

I played it a couple years after it opened (I played in August and I think it was $99 back then) and really want to play it again, especially after seeing it in top shape.  Plus I've got several trips to Bandon under my belt now, and have a lot better idea of how to play this style of course.

The greens fees at Chambers are now over $300 (by the time you add all the tax) for non-residents, and I see that going nowhere but up after the rest of the world gets a good look at it.  The best way to play there is to do the "Championship Experience" package, where you get two nights lodging and a round each on Chambers, Home Course and Gold Mountain (http://www.thechampi...experience.com/).  Great courses, and all pretty close to each other.

Lotsa nice courses in the area.
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#7 HoffTTM

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 03:33 PM

View Postspud3, on 17 June 2015 - 12:56 PM, said:

My biggest security beef is that there are no backpacks allowed, at least anything bigger than 6"x6" (fanny-pack size).  They do allow clear plastic bags, but also not big.  I thought this was ridiculous, as there is a security search (and metal-detector) at the parking lot to board the shuttle.  They look through everything anyway, why not allow small packs?  No food, no bottles (other than empty).  Volunteers and staff were all very friendly and accommodating.

The land of the free and the home of the brave indeed,

just kidding but it makes you think what on earth has driven it to that ridiculousness

Edited by HoffTTM, 17 June 2015 - 03:34 PM.

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#8 spud3

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 03:41 PM

Agreed - there may be those who don't like the looks of the greens, but they were rolling true.  I even heard Luke Donald make that comment to his caddy.  And he should know...

[attachment=2812258:IMG_0155.JPG]
[attachment=2812262:IMG_0159.JPG]
"take that, you miserable
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#9 spud3

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 04:00 PM

One final note:  On my way out, I walked by the media tent, and there was a big crowd getting autographs from....

Chambers Bay course designer Robert Trent Jones II
"take that, you miserable
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#10 KrazyTrain18

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 04:27 PM

Almost all of your observations are spot on with what I thought as well.

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#11 SurfDuffer

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 04:47 PM

Course looks dumpy.  Why so brown in early June?
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#12 ayotte2

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 05:26 PM

View PostHoffTTM, on 17 June 2015 - 03:33 PM, said:

View Postspud3, on 17 June 2015 - 12:56 PM, said:

My biggest security beef is that there are no backpacks allowed, at least anything bigger than 6"x6" (fanny-pack size).  They do allow clear plastic bags, but also not big.  I thought this was ridiculous, as there is a security search (and metal-detector) at the parking lot to board the shuttle.  They look through everything anyway, why not allow small packs?  No food, no bottles (other than empty).  Volunteers and staff were all very friendly and accommodating.

The land of the free and the home of the brave indeed,

just kidding but it makes you think what on earth has driven it to that ridiculousness

Have you ever been to the Super Bowl? It's even worse. These are the times we now live in. Sad.

People can't even bring their boats anywhere near Chambers Bay before the Coast Guard sends them away. It was supposed to be within 1000'. It looked to me like more than a half mile away the CG boats were cruising the Sound. I saw at least 2 boats sent away yesterday while sitting in the #17 grandstands. Part of the Puget Sound and Northwest charm is boating. That in itself stinks.

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#13 ayotte2

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 05:32 PM

View PostSurfDuffer, on 17 June 2015 - 04:47 PM, said:

Course looks dumpy.  Why so brown in early June?

It's fine fescue grass. It's been incredibly dry the last two months. That's what it does.

Typical American observation. I hate to be obtuse but this very subject has been beat to death on this forum and everywhere else. Fine fescue grass is not what you and most every other American is used to. Check out any links course on the other side of the ocean. Exactly the same.

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#14 spud3

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 05:40 PM

View Postayotte2, on 17 June 2015 - 05:32 PM, said:

View PostSurfDuffer, on 17 June 2015 - 04:47 PM, said:

Course looks dumpy.  Why so brown in early June?

It's fine fescue grass. It's been incredibly dry the last two months. That's what it does.

Typical American observation. I hate to be obtuse but this very subject has been beat to death on this forum and everywhere else. Fine fescue grass is not what you and most every other American is used to. Check out any links course on the other side of the ocean. Exactly the same.

Or the course cameras at Bandon today.  Looks pretty much the same.
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#15 blink3665

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 05:46 PM

I have heard that spectators aren't allowed on the dunes.  Is that true?

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#16 SurfDuffer

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 06:27 PM

View Postayotte2, on 17 June 2015 - 05:32 PM, said:

View PostSurfDuffer, on 17 June 2015 - 04:47 PM, said:

Course looks dumpy.  Why so brown in early June?

It's fine fescue grass. It's been incredibly dry the last two months. That's what it does.

Typical American observation. I hate to be obtuse but this very subject has been beat to death on this forum and everywhere else. Fine fescue grass is not what you and most every other American is used to. Check out any links course on the other side of the ocean. Exactly the same.

The courses in Asia are all much greener.
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#17 SurfDuffer

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 06:28 PM

Sorry.  This looks pretty crappy to me.

Posted Image
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#18 drn92

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 06:57 PM

View PostSurfDuffer, on 17 June 2015 - 06:28 PM, said:

Sorry.  This looks pretty crappy to me.

Posted Image

Looks great to me. I love the contrast between the green and brown grasses and the contours and elevation changes of the course.

drn92

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#19 Fade to Black

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 07:17 PM

I think it looks awesome.
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#20 golfdad907

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 07:20 PM

What is with all the whining about the course?  It's going to play hard and fast, and the lowest score will still determine the winner.  Plays the same for everyone.

Can't wait til The Open at St. Andrews, then it'll be, how great the old course is.

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#21 TMBob

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 07:21 PM

View PostSurfDuffer, on 17 June 2015 - 04:47 PM, said:

Course looks dumpy.  Why so brown in early June?

El Niño

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#22 Playaway

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 07:37 PM

View Postayotte2, on 17 June 2015 - 05:32 PM, said:

View PostSurfDuffer, on 17 June 2015 - 04:47 PM, said:

Course looks dumpy.  Why so brown in early June?

It's fine fescue grass. It's been incredibly dry the last two months. That's what it does.

Typical American observation. I hate to be obtuse but this very subject has been beat to death on this forum and everywhere else. Fine fescue grass is not what you and most every other American is used to. Check out any links course on the other side of the ocean. Exactly the same.

Give it a rest.  The guy likes American style green lush soft boring missionary golf.  I don't know what position Chambers Bay represents, but I am pretty sure tats and tongue balls would be part of it. :taunt:

Edited by Playaway, 17 June 2015 - 07:38 PM.

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#23 SteelPride

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 07:37 PM

View Postgolfdad907, on 17 June 2015 - 07:20 PM, said:

What is with all the whining about the course?  It's going to play hard and fast, and the lowest score will still determine the winner.  Plays the same for everyone.

Can't wait til The Open at St. Andrews, then it'll be, how great the old course is.

People have always whined about everything: but in the advent of Internet forums and social media, people like me and you have to listen to it. Yawn.

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#24 natedd

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 07:51 PM

View PostTMBob, on 17 June 2015 - 07:21 PM, said:

View PostSurfDuffer, on 17 June 2015 - 04:47 PM, said:

Course looks dumpy.  Why so brown in early June?

El Niņo

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#25 TMBob

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 08:55 PM

View Postnatedd, on 17 June 2015 - 07:51 PM, said:

View PostTMBob, on 17 June 2015 - 07:21 PM, said:

View PostSurfDuffer, on 17 June 2015 - 04:47 PM, said:

Course looks dumpy.  Why so brown in early June?

El Niño

Sergio?

http://www.elnino.noaa.gov


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#26 nochct1

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 09:13 PM

These are the same posts that we had last year. Some people hate the brown grass for whatever reason.

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#27 natedd

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 09:18 PM

View PostTMBob, on 17 June 2015 - 08:55 PM, said:

View Postnatedd, on 17 June 2015 - 07:51 PM, said:

View PostTMBob, on 17 June 2015 - 07:21 PM, said:

View PostSurfDuffer, on 17 June 2015 - 04:47 PM, said:

Course looks dumpy.  Why so brown in early June?

El Niņo

Sergio?

http://www.elnino.noaa.gov

I'm sorry I so poorly delivered the joke that you felt the need to give me that link. My fault.

27

#28 J LO

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 11:15 PM

Course looks great and exactly what i would expect Bandon to look like if it were hosting a major.  Played it 3 years ago and it was a great experience.   Prices sure have gone up though...
Driver: G400 Max 8* 6.5 Hzrdus Yellow
FW/Hybrid/DI: King Utility 2/3 Rogue 95S
Irons:  765 4-PW Modus 120S
Wedges: RX3-CB 54.11, 58.9 Modus 120s

Putter: Spider Tour Black

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