The golf course at the University Place, Wash. property will be closed beginning October 1st until March 2019, to redo all of its greens. Chambers Bay officials hope the change will help it attract another major golf championship, after complaints about its “dirt and sandpaper” greens when it hosted the 2015 U.S. Open.
Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Wash. will be closed for five months while it focuses on improving the grass on the golf course.
After complaints about “dirt and sandpaper” greens when Chambers Bay hosted the 2015 U.S. Open, the course is switching from fine fescue to poa annua, the predominant golf grass in the Northwest, reported The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash.
Work will start Monday, October 1st, and the golf course will be closed until March.
Changing the greens “will immediately improve daily playing conditions and ensure the ability to conduct an exemplary [United States Golf Association] Championship in 2021,” officials said in a news release.
When Chambers Bay opened in 2007, it was known for being one of the only all-fescue courses in the country, The News Tribune reported. But the fescue greens were heavily criticized as bumpy by golfers who played in the 2015 Open.
For months leading up to the tournament, officials at the course tried to keep poa annua grass from overtaking the greens, but the invasive grass thrived as grounds crews were forced to water more frequently thanks to above-average temperatures, reported The News Tribune.
Instead of a smooth putting surface, the poa, also known as bluegrass, was bumpy, and much of the grass appeared to be dead.
Officials at Chambers Bay said they first detected signs of unhealthy turf on three putting greens early last year, The News Tribune reported.
New poa grass was shipped from British Columbia and used to re-sod the Nos. 7, 10 and 13 greens, as well as the practice green. The results were so favorable that officials decided to redo the remaining 15 greens.
The budget for the final phase (15 holes) is $238,000, reported The News Tribune. Pierce County (Wash.), which owns the course and contracts with KemperSports for its management, received a $150,000 grant to help pay for the project, said Libby Catalinich, a Pierce County spokeswoman.
Feedback so far has apparently been good, The News Tribune reported. “The people I have talked to have been nothing but positive about the new greens they have played,” said Larry Gilhuly, an agronomist with the United States Golf Association. “Players think the greens are spectacular. They’re firm. They have good pace.”
Part of the reason new greens are going in is to improve the odds of Chambers Bay hosting another U.S. Open and possibly a U.S. Women’s Open, The News Tribune reported.
Sites for the U.S. Open have been picked through 2027, and sites for the U.S. Women’s Open have been announced through 2023.
Chambers Bay was supposed to host the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship next year, but it was moved to Bandon Dunes in Oregon at the request of Chambers Bay, reported The News Tribune. The Pierce County course will be the site for the four-ball championship in 2021.
Although Chambers Bay will be closed for five months, the clubhouse, restaurant and golf shop will remain open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends, The News Tribune reported.
C&RB featured Chambers Bay and its rise from an industrial site back in November 2008.
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