5 reasons Chambers Bay is not your conventional golf course

The golf course is making the most headlines ahead of the 2015 US Open.

We can’t wait to watch this week’s US Open. All major golf tournaments are difficult to predict but this one is more difficult than usual, largely due to the unknown nature of the host course, Chambers Bay on the west coast of the US in Washington State.

It’s a course that was purpose-built to host a major championship and the US Open arrives just eight years after it opened. Very few players in the field have played Chambers Bay before and it has some interesting quirks that make it uniquely different from most other golf courses.

Sloping tees
This may be difficult to believe but some of the tees aren’t flat at Chambers Bay. Most of them are of course and many holes have multiple teeing grounds but there are some areas that can be used to tee off that aren’t flat. The tees can be positioned on a side slope, downhill or uphill lies. And why not I suppose, who said it had to be flat? Many of us play off uneven tees every week.

The white dots: Green or fairway?
Chambers Bay has both fescue greens and fescue fairways (fescue rough too) and so there isn’t much delineation between green and fairway like we are used to seeing at your more conventional US Open golf course. Think Barnbougle Dunes for those that have played it.

It’s meant that the USGA needed to add white dots outlining the edge of the green to show where golfers can mark their balls, and where they can consider sand a loose impediment. Check out this USGA video for more info.

Is it a par-4 or is it a par-5?
The 1st and 18th holes have been designed so they can be played as a par-4 or a par-5. There is plenty of space on the tee and the USGA will switch the tees back and forth during the tournament that will force the players to think a little more before they hit the golf ball.

The wildly different tees on the 9th hole
There are two wildly different tees at the par-3 9th hole at Chambers Bay. One is 100 feet above the green and the other plays from the right and is 20 feet below the green and you can be sure both will get used during the tournament. It’s almost like two holes for the price of one.

Wider, longer, deeper
And we haven’t even mentioned the widest fairways in US Open history, three of the par-4s are the longest in US Open history (11th, 13th and 14th) and the deepest bunker in US Open history – known as ‘Chambers Basement’ on the 18th, it’s 10 feet deep.

This is going to be fun to watch. Time will tell if the players will be having as much fun as we are.

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