I played on a Saturday in late March. The weather was decent, sunny, but windy (20 mph and variable). Pace of play was great. A few of the holes/greens were closed due to the US Open being in a couple of months. Although this wasn't a huge deal, I'm concerned that once the event leaves they may have a hard time keeping those holes/greens in tip top shape.
The course itself was great - but it is really close to being top notch. A solid 4 star course. You can tell that they moved a lot of dirt to make the course and sometimes you are left wondering why did they moved so much. The first several holes are great links style holes. Some interesting angles off the tee and some well positioned mid fairway mounds - which I'm not a huge fan of, but they add some difficulty. Balls runs a lot on the fairways.
Couple of holes I'll comment on...
Holes 1 - 6 are all good holes, really good holes. Interesting features in the fairways and great greens with run off areas on many of them. 7 had a temporary green so I can't really comment. However it is VERY uphill and makes the hole difficult. Hole 8 is a long par 5 that runs along the top of the bluff overlooking the course. It feels a little bit like the didn't have the room so they had to manufacture a hole here and it had to be an uphill par 5 because this hole sets you up for the 9th hole which is a ridiculously downhill par 3. It must fall a 100 feet. Although I play most of my golf in Colorado and am familiar with a lot of elevation change, the 9th hole is just too much. I believe this is one of the reasons the put another tee box in place for the US Open.
10 and 11 are both great links holes. However, 11 does have one of those big grassy knolls in the middle of the fairway. 12 is a short, 'go for it' par 4, although it too was closed for the Open. I like short par 4's a lot, but you have to give the player something to aim at off the tee and that really isn't the case on this hole.
The closing 6 holes are the best on the course in my opinion. If the other 12 were all like these, I'd give this place 5 stars. 15 is a great slightly downhill par 3 hitting right into the bay. Beautiful hole with a huge greens and great bunkers. 16 is actually one of my favorite all time par 4s. Not too long or short. A tough drive with a fairway that slopes slightly right to left. Huge bunker lines the right side of the fairway with the bay to the right of that. The green on this hole is great - open at the front but narrows towards the back of the green. 17 is a nice down hill par 3 with another large, but interesting green.
18 is great hole. Huge bunker 3/4 of the way up the fairway that is a place you don't want to be. Is a great reachable par 5 for the amateur and my guess a beast of a par 4 for the pros.
All and all, I really liked the course and put it in the solid 4 star category. I'd give it 4.5 stars if I could. In my opinion there are a couple of things that keep it from being one of the world top's courses (holes 8, 9 and 12 for instance), but I'd play it again if I got the chance!
April 22, 2015
Bucket list , No regrets , Tour tough
12 Handicap , play often , 69 years , Marin County, Discount Bob
Great experience, played 2 days, 10 am tee times , went by myself, all very , very good. The walk was fine, not difficult, weather was perfect, caddies were fine ,
The course was interesting , highly nuanced , gettable on a good day, routing was good, greens interesting , some difficult approach shots, some easy,
I think that there is no comparison to Bandon , Bandon being a much better venue, with 4 courses that are sensational.
If you want to watch on TV and say , I Did That, then run to go.
Its definitely a go to place, once.
Shot 85 and a 79
September 8, 2014
Incredible experience every time at Chambers!
If you want a lush, manicured traditional golf course, don't bother. Chambers Bay is a links style course and is rugged, bold, rough and tough.
Fescue grass is the grass growing everywhere at Chambers, from the thick, heavy rough to the tight fairway lies and greens. The course was built on an old quarry, so the gravel and sand base means it drains well and is extremely playable year round.
The course is a good hike with a lot of elevation change and manageable distances from green to tee. You will carry or push a golf cart---motor carts are not allowed. Caddies are available and they are great! Their advice will definitely save you strokes the first time you play there.
This is definitely a fair but challenging test of golf. Most of us are unaccustomed to playing links golf, but you quickly learn that there are different techniques that work well here. Every hole is a masterpiece in its own way, and if you take a moment to figure out the lie of each hole---where you want to approach from and how the contours can help you get the ball where it needs to go, you'll have a much better experience. Again, a caddy can help you with your "reads" from tee to green.
There are a lot of sandy waste areas and bunkers of every description waiting to snare an errant shot. Several pot bunkers are so deep you'll need to use the built in stairs to descend to the bottom! They are all in great shape and the sand is the perfect texture.
It's easy to focus on the course so much that you miss the incredible beauty of Chambers. The views of Puget Sound and nearby islands are spectacular! Seagulls, hawks and eagles all call the area home, and are seen soaring over the water.
If you love a good challenge, appreciate an extremely well laid out course and want to figure out what links golf is all about, get to Chambers Bay! Do it soon so you know what you are looking at when the US Open is played there in June 2015!
September 1, 2014
Absolutely great course. If you are flying into Portland to visit Bandon Dunes, it is well worth the 2 hour drive from Portland before you head down to Bandon. In fact, I like it better than the courses at Bandon, which is really saying something because Bandon is awesome!
August 19, 2014
A real life American links experience
Most American golfers have never experienced anything like Chambers Bay. I'm not even sure Bandon Dunes prepares you for this experience. But this much I do know: Robert Trent Jones Jr. got this one right, although quite naturally there has been some tweaking leading up to next year's U.S. Open. The course and experience is so unique you hardly notice that there's no clubhouse, just a starter's hut and snack shop and restaurant and golf shop a shuttle ride away from the course. It's walking only and quite a walk at that. Lots of elevation change, overlooking the sound. Because of the natural deep sand base that drains so well and the fescue grass, the fairways run firm and fast and there's little difference between them and the greens. And that means you can play a myriad shots to the green, often bumping them up, negotiating the endless angles both on and off the greens. This a links players delight coupled with great scenery and quirks like the trains that run along the course and the remnants of the old gravel pit that's been here for more than 100 years.
August 5, 2014
Incredible Experience, almost ready for the US Open
I played Chambers Bay a couple weeks ago on a perfect PNW day with barely a cloud in the sky. My first impression was awe as I looked down from the clubhouse to see a golf course in an old rock quarry with the bay just beyond it.
I was fortunate to play the course with no temp greens, also the USGA had just approved the length of the rough and the width of the fairways. The only disappointing aspect was the shagginess of the greens. The starter assured us they would be twice as fast next year for the US Open.
The course is beautiful, it's a bit of a fabricated links style course(due to all the sand brought in) but it has the feel of being there for a very long time. The waste bunkers are everywhere, and they are brutal. I was in the sand a lot and I paid for it.
For those who are unfamiliar with links golf, brown is beautiful, the course may look dry but it plays as it is supposed to play. I thought it was challenging, beautiful, and I definitely want to go back.
I am excited to have a major in the NW, it's been too long. Chambers Bay will be an excellent test for the pros and you need to get out and play it before June 2015.
July 28, 2014
American Links on the Puget Sound
I played Chambers Bay in a Golf Channel Am Tour 2 day event. The course is a great example of a true links course. You have to walk the course, no carts.
You need to know how to play running, ground shots. We experienced a 3 club wind on Saturday. Any shot more than 20 feet off the ground was a gamble on where the ball would end up, rarely where you wanted it to finish.
The greens were very challenging as the speeds were different from green to green. As a rule, greens of the same color played slower than the greens that had varying colors.
Overall, it was a fair and grand test of ones shot making abilities. I recommend a caddie if you are playing it for the first time. Their advise is helpful on shot placement and reading the greens.
The staff was very friendly and helpful. The amenities were average. You have to take a shuttle from the clubhouse/proshop to the driving range/practice green and 1st tee.
Pace of play was good at 4 hours but I imagine it could be slower due to walking and people not prepared for links golf.
A must play on any golfjunkie's bucket list. A great experience and I will be back.
July 26, 2014
Get a caddy for your first round here
Golfers are treated very well at Chambers Bay. The staff, including the guys in the clubhouse, the shuttle bus drivers, and the caddies (especially Veronica) make this a very nice experience.
The course will challenge you with elevation changes, smaller effective landing areas, thick rough and bunkers/waste areas.
With the US Open coming there next year, it's supposed to be a very challenging course, and it is. Try it out.
July 25, 2014