Traveling golfers are the real winners after Chambers Bay gets 2015 U.S. Open
No matter which golf course hosts the U.S. Open, it's safe to say the pros will curse its weedy rough, Herculean length and marble greens.
But the rest of us golfers should laud the USGA and its dedication to bringing America's Open to more and more public-access venues. They've just added another municipal course to the mix: The 2015 Open will be played at the Chambers Bay golf course near Tacoma, Wash.
What's extraordinary about Chambers Bay is that it isn't a renowned public links like Pebble Beach, Pinehurst or Bethpage Black. It's a brand new municipal golf course with a history yet to be written. Chairmen at Winged Foot, Oakmont and Olympic are probably squirming in their button tufted leather couches.
Traveling golfers, who would rather spend their cash collecting bag tags from far away lands than pay annual dues at their local club are the real benefactors of the USGA's shift in policy. Until recently, the U.S. Open was held almost exclusively at private country clubs, where the majority of golfers wouldn't even be allowed through the gates to take a picture, nonetheless squeeze in a quick 18. It meant that for most golfers, the thrill of being able to play a major championship course was, at best, a once-in-a-lifetime possibility.
Today, golfers don't have to go to Scotland and England, or shill out the big bucks at Pebble Beach to get a tee time on a major championship venue - or in extreme cases, quit their job at the firm and caddie for the Monday afternoon employee playing privileges. Thanks to the USGA's recent shift, along with the PGA Championship going to Kiawah Island and Whistling Straits, there is a major championship course in each region of America that will accept your tee time - and expect the number to grow even more in coming years.
And that can only help the golf industry, because it will get more and more people excited about the game. Now, everyone who watches the majors googly-eyed on their HD TVs won't have to dream about what it's like to be in the players' shoes as they walk down the back nine on Sunday.
With ever-increasing odds, getting a chance of their own will likely be well within their own grasp.
Forget Torrey Pines as you know it. Or watched it on TV. It no longer exists. At least not for the next six months. The San Diego-area's most famous golf complex, having been examined and tweaked by United States Golf Association officials for nearly six years, is entering its final stages of preparedness for June's U.S. Open. This means a completely different experience for regular golfers who come here in the months before and after the Open.
In the 100th edition of the TravelGolf.com This Week podcast, host Dave Berner talks to PGA instructor Chuck Evans about 3-D instruction. Dr. Greg Rose of the Titleist Performance Institute says that understanding the patterns of your body’s movement in the golf swing will help you efficiently improve your golf fitness. And, Patrick Meagher of Golf Vancouver Island says the island is loaded with great golf, and the season is just beginning.
Regardless of what the rule books say, there are in fact two sets of rules: those to follow and those to ignore, Jennifer Mario writes in her latest "A Girl's-Eye View" column at TravelGolf.com. If you're playing a friendly game, and the key word is friendly, you know that when it comes to golf, some rules simply don't apply. Stroke and distance is just one of them.