Chambers Bay blows away Torrey Pines in aesthetics, golf experience: Take that, Tiger!
Chambers Bay is a golf course that grabs you before anyone even says hello. Stepping out of your car and seeing the wide-open course and the striking blue water of Puget Sound stretching out below your hillside perch gives the ultra hyped host of the 2015 U.S. Open a sense of entrance that few golf courses anywhere can match.
The clubhouse sits on top of this big hill and you take a shuttle bus ride to get to the course down below.
The setting couldn’t be more of a contrast with Torrey Pines - the USGA’s other West Coast muni of choice. At Torrey, you pull into a cramped park lot and warm up on a driving range that’s crunched up against a chain-link fence.
Charming like an old beat-up ocean cottage? Perhaps. But wowing? Not even close.
The sharp differences don’t stop there either. If you play Torrey Pines most of the year, you get frayed and worn fairways - fairways that remind you again and again it’s a municipal course.
In two visits to Chambers Bay, after one of the Pacific Northwest’s harshest winters in memory, the course stood in as good shape as any plush resort track. (Chambers Bay’s greens are pretty slow, but that’s because the grass is the same as the fairway grass just cut differently, creating a rugged natural look).
Recreational golfers are sure to come away much more impressed with Chambers Bay’s holes than storied Torrey Pines South’s too. I’ve had more than a half dozen golfers tell me they felt left down after a Torrey round. No one slung anything but praise at Chambers Bay with the most frequent comment being “I like it better than Bandon Dunes.” (I might argue that the standard should be a course like Circling Raven, but I digress).
Chambers Bay’s No. 10 is one of the more unique holes in the world, an uphill, massive sand-dunes squeezed wonder. The tee shot on No. 18 along the hulking concrete remains of the sorting bins from the old gravel quarry that used to be on site provides something of an Escape From New York feel.
Prolific author, sometime WorldGolf.com blogger and friend to all casino security personnel Joel Zuckerman is set to play Chambers Bay for the first time this weekend, so it will be interesting to see what he thinks as well.
I for one finally feel like I have a one up on WorldGolf.com’s elitist Brandon Tucker - who does his best to play only Top 10 resort courses or European escapes - by having the Chambers Bay experience he doesn’t.
Tiger Woods might not like Chambers Bay better than Torrey Pines. But you will.
|« Tiger Woods hasn't even played 18 holes yet on recovering knee with U.S. Open 10 days away||Circling Raven Golf Club: The reason you need to visit Idaho just as much as Bandon Dunes »|
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