Chambers Bay Course Rankings:
Golf Digest: #26 US public, #2 Washington
GolfWeek: #29 US modern, #1 Washington public
Golf.com: #64 US top 100, #17 US public
Designer: Robert Trent Jones, Jr. (2007)
I had the opportunity to play Chambers Bay for the second time last month. Host of next year’s 2015 US Open, Chambers Bay is one of the premier links courses in the United States.
What impressed me the most during my return visit to this Pacific Northwest gem… Beyond the obvious beauty of the course and Puget Sound… Was the facility’s unique new customer service program.
As a high-end, walking-only fine fescue facility, there are times when course marshaling is necessary. Rather than having marshals who cruise around and tell people to hurry up or pick up their pace, they have adopted a new, more customer friendly method: Personal experience liaisons.
At five distinct times during our round, we were helped by three different Chambers Bay staff members. Raph, who is the head of the customer experience initiative, joined our group on the first tee and walked and chatted with us through the fourth. He pulled pins, helped find balls, fixed marks on the greens, fore-caddied, helped with lines/reads, and basically spoiled us, in general. No one was happy to see him leave our group to help out others.
I was the saddest to see him leave, having started the round with birdie/bogey/par/birdie while he was there! The funniest story we got out of Raph was about the Speaker of the House visiting the course a few weeks prior. In his outgoing and personable way, Raph approached their group – with a huge divot repair tool in his hands – and was subsequently accosted by Secret Service agents. I don’t tell it as well, but it was hilarious.
We saw Raph again several other times during the day, including after the seventh to help us find our way to the eighth and then along with another staff member (this hole is always staffed for forecaddying purposes) who helped spot tee shots on the incredibly narrow, but drivable, twelfth hole. I hit the fringe of the green off the tee on that hole, and shouted to Raph that he should stick around with our group as I was playing great when he was there. “I will follow you…” he started singing back.
Our last great on-course customer experience came on the famed par three fifteenth: “The Lone Fir.” After teeing off we were met on the green by a third customer experience representative who fixed our ball marks, asked about our round, pulled the pin and wished us well.
With the recent loss of the Eisenhower tree at Augusta National, “The Lone Fir” beyond this green is now considered to be the most iconic tree in all of golf:
The par threes at Chambers Bay are awesome, including the aforementioned fifteenth, the seventeenth, ninth and third.
Chambers Bay is the kind of course and environment that can make amateur photographers look like they have solid skills. For your viewing enjoyment, the following are some of my photos from the round:
False front on seven, nicknamed “Humpback”:
For more photos and my original hole-by-hole review of Chambers Bay, please visit the following link:
Location: University Place, WA
Yardage: Teal-7564, Navy-7088, Sand-6420, White-5890, Blue-5253
Slope/Rating: Teal-142/76.8, Navy-141/74.7, Sand-136/72.1, White-130/70, Blue-130/71.1
Weekend Rates (walking only): $205