Welcome/Status Report

 In Blog

The Chambers Bay Agronomy Team is excited to welcome you to the Chambers Bay Course Blog. The intention is to provide agronomic updates, providing insight into the practices used on the golf course. Chambers Bay is a unique facility that continues to evolve and we hope you can ride along with us and learn a little along the way.

As you may have recently read in the national media, Chambers Bay is in the midst of a putting green transition. We want to keep you informed of our current status and future plans as they relate to Chambers Bay.

In the Pacific Northwest, the majority of putting greens are composed of Poa annua. In most cases, local greens were initially planted with creeping bentgrass, but “Poa” encroaches over time (typically 10-15 years) and eventually becomes the dominant grass. At Chambers Bay, the putting greens were seeded more than ten years ago with fine fescue and a small percentage of colonial bentgrass, giving them the appropriate firm base for authentic links conditions. However, with time, “Poa” has encroached and become part of the turf stand.

Having made the decision to embrace this inevitability, agronomic practices have been adjusted to accelerate the transition to “Poa” dominated putting surfaces. During this somewhat ungraceful transition, you will notice putting greens that have an especially mottled look, resulting from the presence of multiple varieties of “Poa” as well as the colonial bentgrass and fine fescue with which the greens were originally planted. Though the greens have an unconventional look, we are confident that you will experience smooth, consistent putting surfaces.

Unfortunately, we do have one exception. In mid-July, the 7th green fell victim to an outbreak of Pythium. After extensive efforts to re-establish turf, we have decided to remove the diseased turf and sod the green to a pure Poa putting surface. As a result, we’ve prepared an alternate green location (cut at green height) in the 7th fairway that will be in use. We will continue to provide updates on the 7th green throughout the process.

Though Chambers Bay putting greens are imperfect, the dramatic setting and golf course architecture remain amongst the most unique in the world.

Thank you for taking the time to check us out!

PS. Congratulations to Doug Ghim, 2017 Pacific Coast Amateur Champion, for his great showing at the 117th U.S. Amateur and being selected to the 46th Walker Cup Team!

~Chambers Bay Agronomy Team

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Showing 6 comments
  • John Palewicz
    Reply

    How will the Poa grass on the greens be confined to the area of the green or will it just keep moving outward?

    • Tom Voss
      Reply

      Yes, that was my question, too, as I was reading. Is the rest of the course going to eventually have the fescue overrun by Poa?

    • Chambers Bay
      Reply

      Poa will encroach into the green surrounds over time. Continued cultural practices to favor Fine Fescue should keep the surface playing firm and fast. There may be the need to install Fine Fescue sod in some areas to maintain the true Fine Fescue playability.

  • Raj LP
    Reply

    Good to know. We can’t wait for this transition period to conclude. Good luck with it.

  • Marc Walter
    Reply

    I applaud the decision to bow to the inevitable. Forget the ‘authentic links experience’. We are not in Scotland, we’re in Tacoma. Let the course evolve naturally and be its own self. I learned to play on a course that was a basically a pasture, unwatered, bumpy, hard, and fast, depending on the weather and season. Also incredibly strategic and testing. Come to think of it, so were the original natural links courses…

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  • […] referred to in our initial post (Welcome/Status Report), during our putting surface transition many of greens have a “mottled” look. We are going to […]

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