We’ve already run one letter to the editor rebutting Schriver, and we’re running a Viewpoint today by Toby Davis, senior vice president of KemperSports, the company that manages Chambers Bay for Pierce County. So I’m not inclined to run another defense in the print edition.
However, I thought online readers might find this letter interesting. It’s from the president of The Home Course in DuPont (I’m guessing that’s Chamber Bay’s competition in the South Sound) and the executive director of the Washington State Golf Association.
Here’s their letter:
We read with interest Mr. Lee Schriver’s recent (op-ed) regarding the fees and number of rounds at Chambers Bay Golf Course. While his intentions and two-month study of Chambers Bay are admirable, his information, comparisons and conclusions are flawed.
Mr. Schriver states “most golf courses” allow 60,000 annual rounds of golf. This is inaccurate and arguably an impossible number of rounds for an 18-hole facility in the state of Washington to achieve in one year considering our weather issues. We are not aware of any 18-hole golf course in Washington State or the Pacific Northwest for that matter that has attained 60,000 annual rounds in recent memory.
Also, Mr. Schriver states the green fee rate for county residents should be slashed in half. He concludes the loss in revenue could be alleviated by significantly increasing the number of annual rounds by decreasing minutes between starting times. Unfortunately, this would have disastrous results for Chambers Bay on two very important fronts.
While some golf courses use alternating 7 and 8 minute starting time intervals, this often results in too many golfers being on the golf course at one time, which results in five to even six hours rounds of golf being the norm. Even nine-minute starting time intervals would compromise the pace of play for a challenging, championship caliber course like Chambers Bay.
Finally, increasing the annual rounds from 35,000 to 48,000 would result in much greater wear and tear on the golf course and much less time for the maintenance staff to properly prepare and care for the golf course. This would result in deteriorating conditions of a very valuable asset for Pierce County. Such deteriorated conditions would also make it less desirable for an organization like the USGA to conduct the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
William H. Mays
The Home Course
John M, Bodenhamer
Washington State Golf Association