What I Think I Think About Chambers Bay and the US Open

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Screenshot 2015-06-22 at 11.44.36 AMIt’s the Monday morning after the completion of the 2015 US Open at Chamber’s Bay.

Things I loved:

I live about a mile away from the course. My neighbors and I were all convinced that the traffic was going to be a nightmare during the week of the tournament. And to our absolute delight and surprise, the traffic was a non-issue. The US Open had buses running constantly throughout the tournament to shuttle people back and forth. I saw buses from Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Washington. I saw Greyhound buses, school buses, church buses. The US Open must have contracted with anyone with buses in Washington and its surrounding states. Cudos! Well done. Duly impressed!!!

The setting of Chambers Bay. Is there anywhere more beautiful and picturesque than the Pacific North West on a nice sunny summer day? You could not have asked for a more scenic setting than the Puget Sound in the summer time.

The US Open Experience. Both Chambers Bay and the USGA did a superb job of making the tournament experience exciting. The fan experience at the pavilions, to the shops, and the concessions was done very well.

Finally, I love that the tournament was held in our back yard! It was great to get the exposure to the South Sound. When I travel around the world and even the US, I end up telling people I am from Seattle because most people don’t know where Tacoma/University Place/Lakewood is.

Things I Hated Loved Not So Much 

Hate is a pretty strong word. So I changed it to “Loved Not So Much” but my real feelings are closer to hate.

Screenshot 2015-06-22 at 11.42.44 AMNotice I haven’t said a thing about golf in the above section? That’s the thing. I think the USGA ruined the golf experience for the players and the fans.

The picture on the right is what Chambers Bay normally looks like. It’s beautiful. The greens are…well, would you look at that!!!…greens are green! The fairways are green! 

The USGA ruined the course. The USGA and Mike Davis intentionally browned the course. For almost two weeks they intentionally starved the course of water in order to brown it, to make it faster, the course harder (not necessarily tougher, literally the surface harder). The end result was the moon-like terrain, and broccoli like greens.

Not only was the course visually ugly, it made the golf ridiculous. I hate that good golf shots were not being rewarded. I hate that bad shots could end up being great because of a lucky bounce. This happens all the time when one is playing golf, but the USGA set Chambers Bay to play like that. Why did you do that USGA? Why did you make our course look and play so horrendously?

Finally, the thing I hated was the spectator experience. There was no way to follow the action. The only way to see the tournament was to park one’s rear end on one of the grand stands or along the course and wait for the players to come by. Had I paid to fly in, pay for lodging, and tickets for the tournament, I would have been incredibly disappointed. We ended up watching most of the golf action at home on TV. Given, this is true for most sporting events. But no sporting event or golf tournaments I’ve been to had a worse set up for spectators than the US Open at Chambers Bay.

If they ever bring the tournament back to Chambers Bay, they need to fix this.

Conclusion

I am glad the Pacific Northwest, the state of Washington, Seattle, and particularly the South Sound got major exposure. This was a fantastic way to show the rest of the world how wonderful our corner of the world is.

Note to folks from rest of the world – you are very welcome to come and visit anytime.

I would love for Chambers Bay to host another US Open…but USGA leave our course alone. Don’t ruin it for the players and the spectators please.

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