It may be predominantly fescue, but Chambers Bay will play firm and fast — just like other U.S. Opens.
The U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, which kicks off tomorrow at 7 a.m. on the first and 10th tees, will be a U.S. Open of firsts.
It has taken 114 years, but this is the first time that a men’s or women’s U.S. Open will be played on a course that is predominantly fescue. In fact, it’s the first time a men’s or women’s major tournament has been played on a course where fescue is the dominant turf type, outside the British Isles. It’s also the first time a U.S. Open and a golf tournament of this magnitude has been held in the Pacific Northwest.
But one thing that isn’t a first is that Chambers Bay, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design than opened in 2007, will play like an asphalt parking lot, just like most all U.S. Open courses.
“This course will positively play firm and fast,” said Mike Davis, executive director of the United States Golf Association. “Even if we get some rain, [the course] is built on all sand, which is great, obviously, to allow for good drainage.”
Fescue also doesn’t have any “tackiness” to it, which makes it a great grass to play golf on, Davis said, noting that balls tend to skid on it, where bentgrass has a tendency to grab a ball.
“So it’s a fascinating grass on which to play,” he added.
Davis called Chambers Bay “a big, bold site,” and said the course isn’t “remotely similar” to any course that a U.S. Open has been played on.
“There are places out on the golf course where you have blind shots and semi-blind shots, which in and of itself is a very interesting thing,” Davis said. “Makes you feel like you’re across the pond in one of the great links courses.”
Speaking of which, Davis predicted that some players will love the ground game at Chambers Bay and that others won’t. But that’s the U.S. Open for you.
“It wouldn’t be a U.S. Open if we didn’t get some chirping,” Davis said.
Photo: Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA, assures that the fescue golf course will play firm and fast. (PHOTO BY LAWRENCE AYLWARD)