I’m not really a golf fan – my idea of an exciting day at the links is a scorching round of putt-putt – but I tuned in to the U.S. Open over the weekend with an eye toward 2015.
That’s when the Open – arguably the most prestigious golf title in the U.S. – comes to Chambers Bay, the former strip mine turned world-class golf course.
I’ve never played the Scottish links-style course, but I’m a big fan of it for another reason. By building it, Pierce County was able to develop the Chambers Creek Properties for a variety of public uses. I enjoy the Soundview Trail around the golf course as well as the very good restaurant with its spectacular view over the water and the Olympic Mountains. On a nice day, there’s hardly a more pleasant place to eat or just have a drink than out on the Chambers Bay Grill patio. Other people use the dog park, the Bridge to the Beach, the events pavilion and the Playground by the Sound.
But back to the golf course. Will it be up to the U.S. Open? It won good reviews when it hosted the U.S. Amateur in 2010, but the U.S. Open is a much bigger event. The Amateur draws 3,000 to 5,000 spectators each day; the U.S. Open attracts as many as 65,000 daily. That’s a lot of people wandering over the rugged course and getting to and from it through University Place.
On Monday, News Tribune sportswriter Todd Milles interviewed Mike Davis, the executive director of the United States Golf Association, which puts on the U.S. Open. Davis sounded confident that the course will be up to the task. “I think Chambers Bay is going to be great,” he told Milles.
Of course, there’s much more to a mega-event like the U.S. Open than just the course: hotels, transportation … heck, just the number of portable toilets that will be needed is mind-boggling. From what I hear, planning is well under way. Plus the USGA is an old hand at this, setting up a small city on site to deal with media, crowds, player needs, etc. It certainly will have plenty of space to spread out.
Although the Chambers Bay course is hilly, much like the Olympic Club site of this year’s Open in San Francisco, there’s one thing the world’s best golfers won’t have to worry about in 2015: hitting into the trees. The course has only one: a solitary Douglas fir behind the 15th green.