Championship prep continues at Chambers Bay

Representatives from the United States Golf Association, golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., KemperSports and Pierce County met recently at Chambers Bay to assess progress and preparations for the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open Championships.

“We’re very pleased by the progress that has been made to date,” said Mike Davis, Senior Director of Rules and Competitions for the USGA, which awarded the championship to Chambers Bay just 15 months ago. “These visits give us great insight into the golf course architecture and fabulous championship set-up opportunities at Chambers Bay.”

The USGA has provided nearly $1 million in advance rental payments to allow Pierce County to make improvements to the golf course and add a 17-acre practice facility in preparation for the Championships.

Nine teeing grounds have been added or expanded to provide the USGA with additional flexibility for championship set-up. The green complex and approach on the fourth hole will be modified to soften some of the features around the green and to increase the number of hole locations for everyday play, as well as to better handle golfers’ traffic patterns. Work on the new practice facility was started in April and will be completed this August. This facility is sized to handle the needs of the Championship events as well as enhance the warm-up experience for everyday play at Chambers Bay.

“After working with Pierce County and the USGA to create Chambers Bay, we are thrilled to participate in the design of some exciting course additions,” said legendary course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. “The new teeing grounds are sure to provide great flexibility for championship setup, allowing Mike Davis and his team to highlight many of the unique design elements at Chambers Bay. And we believe the new practice facility will be a great asset for championships while providing Pierce County and KemperSports with a wide range of opportunities for use between events.”

It’s widely understood that the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay will mark the first major U.S. championship to be played on 100 percent fine fescue grass. While that is probably a new surface for most local golfers, professionals play on it in the British Open. Golf course superintendent David Wienecke and his team are working on the agronomics to ensure a “firm and fast” championship.

“David and his team have been working very closely with the USGA to prepare the course for the championship,” said Josh Lesnik, President of KemperSports, which has managed the golf course since its opening in 2007 and participated in the efforts to bring both USGA events to the property. “We are confident that the players in the field at the U.S. Amateur will be very happy with the selection of Chambers Bay as the venue for this prestigious event.”

There is a lot of activity off the course, too.

A Web site for the U.S. Amateur is now live at . It offers information about tickets, volunteering for the event, and corporate hospitality packages. Only a week since the Championship’s online debut, 205 people have registered to volunteer, but many opportunities remain.

The Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau held an event at Chambers Bay on May 12 in which more than 90 hospitality industry representatives had the opportunity to network and learn more about the upcoming championships.

Writers and editors from golf publications and regional media outlets are scheduled to play the course in June.

A team of experts assembled by Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy is meeting regularly to address advance planning needs in the areas of marketing and communications, golf course management, tourism, economic development, transportation and other disciplines.

“We intend to put on a high quality event next year — one that will make our community proud and that will inspire golfers all over the world to come visit after seeing Chambers Bay on television for several days,” McCarthy said. “This event represents a huge economic development opportunity for our region, and we’ll be ready.”

Recently, Golfweek magazine ranked Chambers Bay at No. 2 on its list of Best Municipal Courses. The top three courses on that list — Bethpage Black (2009), Chambers Bay (2015) and Torrey Pines South (2008) — are U.S. Open venues.

Chambers Bay was recently awarded America’s Best New Public Course of 2008 in Golf Digest’s January 2009 issue. In April, The Wall Street Journal called Chambers Bay “the most spectacular recent success” among new municipally-owned golf courses.
Besides the new Web site for the U.S. Amateur, information about Chambers Bay is also available at .