Hole 1 (Puget Sound)
While designed to be played as both par 4 and par 5 during the U.S. Open, the opening hole at Chambers Bay is a welcoming par 5 that provides a very manageable start to the round. Most tee shots will finish short of the crest of the hill in the fairway, leaving a partially blind second shot. Approach shots must favor the right side and can utilize the contours along that side of the fairway to find the putting surface.
The first hole is named after perhaps the most important element of the site, Puget Sound. Like the North Sea at The Old Course or the Pacific Ocean at Cypress Point, Puget Sound provides a stunning backdrop to the golf and highlights the sense of place. Just hearing the name Puget Sound conjures images of beauty and grandeur. We hope players will feel the same way about Chambers Bay.
Hole 2 (Foxy)
The tee shot on this medium length par 4 plays through the dunes to a narrowed fairway. The shortest approach is from the left side of the fairway, but that route brings a large bunker into play. Play down the right side to take advantage of an open entrance to the green, which slopes from right to left, and is bisected by a large ridge.
The name Foxy pays tribute to one of the great links holes in the world, the 14th at Royal Dornoch in Scotland, which holds the same title. It also plays on the fact that Fox Island, within the Puget Sound, provides the backdrop for the second shot.
Hole 3 (Blown Out)
The first of the short holes at Chambers Bay is a mid-iron for most players. The kidney-shaped green is guarded on the left by a deep bunker and a swale off the putting surface collects shots struck too long. A large kick-slope on the right redirects shots toward the center of the green.
Wind. The invisible hazard. Nowhere in golf is this element more important than on a links course. Not only will the wind change the way a hole plays from day to day and even hour by hour, but the swirling and stiffening winds often add to the mystique of links golf.
The name Blown Out pays tribute to the invisible hazard, as well as the style of bunkers incorporated at Chambers Bay.
Hole 4 (Hazard’s Ascent)
The fairway on this medium length uphill par 5 slopes significantly from left to right. The green is reachable in two shots for long hitters, though tee shots must avoid the immense bunker on the right. The green complex, which can be accessed from a strong fairway slope left of the green, is framed by a large bunker front and right with three blowout bunkers behind. The large and heavily contoured green features a right hand hole location, bordered on three sides by sand.
The name Hazard’s Ascent identifies one of the first climbers (Hazard Stevens) to successfully reach the peak of Mt. Rainier in 1870. Rainier, situated in eastern Pierce County and rising to 14,411 ft, requires the same skill and thoughtfulness as the fourth at Chambers Bay.
Hole 5 (Free Fall)
The elevated fifth tee offers players a panoramic view of Puget Sound and Chambers Bay. This long straightaway hole rewards a drive down the center. While the fairway is generous, massive bunker complexes protect either side. Tee shots that land left of center will chase toward the bunker and be faced with a semi blind approach. The green on this long par 4 is guarded by a deep fronting bunker. The name Free Fall is due to the dramatic elevation change from the tee to the fairway.
Hole 6 (Deception Point)
Depending on the placement of the tee markers, the sixth hole is either a long, dogleg right or a short straightaway par 4. Regardless, favor the left side for an unobstructed view of a green perched between two bunkers. The slope from back to front encourages a low running approach.
The name Deception is well-known throughout Western Washington geography. Most notorious is probably Deception Pass, where it is believed that in 1792, General Vancouver and his First Mate Whidbey were deceived into thinking a strong current during the change from high to low tide was a river and the opening to the fabled Northwest Passage. Since the designers unexpectedly found a new green site on this hole and since a golfer’s eye may be fooled by the bunker short of the green, the name fits well for Hole 6.
Hole 7 (Humpback)
This long uphill par 4 turns hard from left to right. Taking an aggressive line over the large bunker on the right invites a shorter approach to the green, but also brings trouble into play. Tee shots played safely to the left will face a blind approach over the hummocks fronting the green. The severely uphill approach plays much longer than the actual yardage. A player who is unable to reach the green can play left of the hummocks to a narrow landing area short of the green.
The name Humpback is significant for three reasons; First, it identifies the two dominant outcroppings in the middle of the fairway. Second, the name describes a strong roll at the back of the green. Finally, Humpback whales have been known to visit the South Sound region from time to time.
Hole 8 (High Road / Low Road)
This fairway is much wider than it appears from the tee, but does slope from left to right. A drive struck down the left side of the fairway will be redirected to the middle, offering an open view of a long and narrow green. Contours to the left and in the back of the green will move approach shots back toward the center of the green.
Hole 9 (Olympus)
The teeing ground on this long par 3 is perched nearly 100 feet above the green. The oversized green slopes from left to right, providing assistance to players hoping to avoid the menacing bunker short and right of the putting surface. The contours on and around the green provide ample opportunity to get close to the hole. An alternate, lower tee has been installed to provide variety in setup for the U.S. Open.
The name Olympus is appropriate since the ninth tee is the highest point on the course, and pays tribute to Mount Olympus, the tallest and most prominent of the Olympic Mountains that are visible across the Puget Sound.
Hole 10 (High Dunes)
This medium-length par 4 splits the two largest dunes on the golf course. The fairway narrows steadily the closer one comes to the green, making club selection off the tee crucial. A relatively flat green is nestled between the dunes and is flanked by deep bunkers front right and back left.
Some of the wonderful elements of the site at Chambers Bay were the enormous stockpiles of sand left behind from the mining operations. These “leftovers” provide a unique scale and sense of place often affiliated with links golf. The designers plowed through one of the largest stockpiles in the area that occupies the tenth hole. The resulting form is a valley fairway played between two High Dunes.
Hole 11 (Shadows)
This long par 4 plays straightaway, while the fairway curls in and around the dunes and waste areas. A tee shot over the central fairway dune leaves a middle-to long iron approach. The green is set into a slope from right to left and features a ridge bisecting the surface lengthwise.
In the early evening, shadows can be seen dancing across the eleventh fairway. In fact, the name Shadows came about after an early evening walk-through just after grassing. The natural undulations of the fairway exploded in the rays of the falling sun.
Hole 12 (The Narrows)
An uphill, drivable par 4, the 12th is the narrowest hole on course. Lay up short or challenge the blowout bunker fronting the green. A very large and undulating green set in a punchbowl requires an accurate approach or lag putt. Strong contours all around this green invite creativity and imagination into your short game.
The name The Narrows quite literally refers to the tight quarters of the hole, but it also refers to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the Puget Sound passage just north of the hole. The Narrows Bridge is famous for having collapsed after a violent windstorm on Nov. 7, 1940 garnering the nickname Galloping Gertie. The Narrows passage is famous for producing strong swirling winds that will help enhance the golf experience at Chambers Bay.
Hole 13 (Eagle Eye)
The placement of the tee shot is critical on this strong, dogleg right par-4. Though the fairway is the widest on the course, a tee shot down the right significantly reduces the length of the approach. A central bunker requires players to carefully choose their line of attack on the approach. Shots struck off line will be rejected by the knob on the left of the green, or a slope falling away on the right.
The name Eagle Eye refers to the abundance of majestic wildlife in the area. Spectacular Bald Eagles who typically reside on the islands were frequent onlookers during construction. As the shortest of the long holes, there is also an opportunity for golfing eagles at thirteen.
Hole 14 (Cape Fear)
The first task on this dramatic downhill par 4 is to decide how aggressive you wish to be off the tee. A large, deep waste area must be carried onto a fairway sloping from right to left. Mounding short and right of the putting surface will funnel shots onto a large green that tilts toward the fairway in front, but then slopes away toward a collection area beyond.
The name Cape Fear plays upon the daunting tee shot the players face, as well as the “Cape” layout of the hole. A “Cape” hole is one that plays in a crescent-like shape around a hazard. The fifth at Mid Ocean club in Bermuda and the 18th at Pebble Beach would be examples of “Cape” holes.
Hole 15 (Lone Fir)
This short par 3 plays from an elevated tee and is fully exposed to the prevailing wind, making club selection critical. The well-defended green slopes from left to right. Standing watch in the distance, the Lone Fir is the only tree on the course.
The name Lone Fir describes the iconic single fir tree located behind the green. The only tree on the golf course, like a lighthouse, provides a frame of reference throughout the course. The tree can be seen from numerous holes, but never is it more noticeable than at the short fifteenth.
Hole 16 (Beached)
This medium-length par 4 curves gently around a long bunker that flanks the entire right side of the hole. Tee shots should favor the left side to account for slope toward the bunker. The tabletop green is the smallest on the course and also slopes dramatically from left to right.
The enormous sandy area down the right side of the hole was the catalyst for the name Beached. Although finding a beached grey whale not far from the pier not long ago might also be a fitting explanation.
Hole 17 (Derailed)
With two distinct teeing grounds, this picturesque par 3 plays into the prevailing breeze. The lower tee offers a level shot and requires a long carry over the waste bunker, while the upper tee provides a drop shot with full view of the green and its surrounds. The putting surface is split into obvious halves, allowing only accurately struck shots near the hole.
The name Derailed came to life after some “dirt opens” or construction golf. It was at this hole that a good round was often sent awry. The presence of the active railroad, like many traditional Scottish links, along the entire right side of the hole made the fit.
Hole 18 (Tahoma)
The home hole is a slightly uphill par 5, surrounded by dunes. The remnants of vast concrete sorting bins loom over the teeing grounds. After navigating a fairway dotted by bunkers and swales, built to accommodate play as a par 4 or par 5 during the U.S. Open, a large green featuring multiple levels and strong contours awaits. Imagination and a deft putting touch are required to pass the final exam in this championship test.
Perhaps the most iconic natural landmark in Washington is Mt. Rainier, which happens to reside in Pierce County. The Indian name is Mount Tahoma. In fact the name Tacoma is a derivative of Tahoma. We felt that Tahoma was a fitting name for the home hole and final climb at Chambers Bay.