Pierce County prepares to open Chambers Bay golf course

Two months before Pierce County's Chambers Bay golf course is slated to open, KemperSports, the course's operator, reported today that...

Two months before Pierce County’s Chambers Bay golf course is slated to open, KemperSports, the course’s operator, reported today that 700 tee times were booked Monday, the first day it began accepting reservations online. The online reservations add to an earlier list of 3,200 golfers booked for group outings worth $568,000 in golf revenue and $142,000 for food and beverages.

The official public opening is set for 7 a.m. Sat., June 23.

“This is good news, but we have to remember this is a long term thing,” said County Executive John W. Ladenburg. Ladenburg cautioned that it will take years to determine if the course will meet expectatons. “We don’t want people to think we can judge success in the first six months or even the first year or two. Golf courses typically take three to five years to find out whether they are going to run the way you think they are going to run and operate.”

The $21 million project began three years ago with the selection of the Robert Trent Jones II LLC firm to design an Irish/Scottish links golf course that would attract traveling golfers from North America, the Far East and other locations and also attract amateur and professional tournaments of the highest rank. The golf course and surrounding property was purchased by the county for $40 million in the early 1990s.

In preparation for its opening, this week a $685,000 request for golf course maintenance equipment was approved by the Rules and Operations Committee and will be forwarded to the full council for consideration at an upcoming meeting. Ladenburg and Chambers Bay project manager Tony Tipton argued that purchasing — rather than leasing as planned — the maintenance and operation equipment was more cost-effective. The committee approved the proposed ordinance 3 to 0.

The maintenance crew has been using borrowed mowers during the grow-in period. However, a fleet of new mowers will be purchased prior to the June opening if the full council passes the proposed ordinance.

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