Chambers Bay Golf Course Gets Rave Reviews

Chambers Bay Golf Course Gets Rave Reviews 1(

You might want to put Chambers Bay Golf Course in Tacoma, Washington (near Seattle), on your gotta play list. Ever since I posted about it in April, I have been receiving rave reviews about the links-style course perched above Puget Sound.

(My original post is here. Check out Chambers Bay here.)

Following is what golfers and caddies are saying.


This course is absolutely incredible. I live just across from the main entrance of the new course and have watched the course develop. When it first started taking shape, I had difficult imagining the hole layouts. Now, I feel like I am looking at panoramic shots from the British Open. RT Jones II really went all out – there is nothing like this in the area. One thing you cannot get a sense of from the website pics is the significant elevation changes throughout the course and the monstrous size of some of the dunes. Honestly, though, this will be a once-a-year event for me – unless I cut a hole in the fence and play 2 thru 17 only 😉

“Unlike any course I’ve ever seen”

The course is beautiful. I walked the loop around it today. It is going to be tough! Lots of elevation changes and narrow, narrow fairways. The soil off the fairways is very sandy and there are quite a few sandy waste areas. This is definitely unlike any course I’ve ever seen.

“Potential to be better than Bandon (Bandon Dunes)”

This course is so unique to the Pacific Northwest; it’s hard to compare it to anything. It has the potential to be better than Bandon in Oregon and the fact that it isn’t miles and miles from civilization like Bandon makes it even better. I had the chance to play it the other day and recommend saving up to play it yourself…just don’t plan on doing it in the near future, it’s booked solid for a long time.

“Definitely use caddies”

Another caddie and I caddied for two guests yesterday. I believe they had an excellent time. The other pair of golfers in the same group used their own push carts. They commented to me that next time they are at Chamber Bay, they will definitely use caddies. Now that is a nice compliment.

“World-class course”

I played Chambers Bay on Monday and came away totally impressed. Sure it’s expensive, but this course is still a good value because it’s a world-class course. I’ve played all three Bandon Courses and Chambers reminds me of Pacific Dunes.

I can’t wait to see how this beauty matures over the next 5-10 years. This place definitely should be considered for a U.S. Open as it can handle a huge crowd with excellent terracing for optimum viewing. Oh, it’s a great challenging course as well.

My only complaint was the slow greens. I was told they were stimping 8 and I consistently left many putts short. Overall, I can’t complain cuz it was fun and I did manage two birdies on the back nine!

“U.S. Open in the near future”

I played golf at Chambers Bay on 6/27/07. This course is amazing! The walk is very long though. This course will be receiving a U.S. Open in the near future. The Par 3’s are amazing. The greens are still very young and slow but the undulating setup gives you a lot to think about when approaching a green. This will be the best links course in the U.S., period. $150 a round. Have fun. It’s worth it.

“Bring a camera”

Chambers Bay is a gorgeous course – bring a camera! It’s not gorgeous like some you see with artificial landscaping everywhere – the sand dunes and grasses are meant to look indigenous and there is only one tree on the entire course. It’s gorgeous because it’s golf in its almost original form. In Scotland, links are the almost-treeless “links” between usable land and the coast and they are open to the public, just like Chambers Bay. The 9th hole, Olympus, is frequented by spectators on the public walking trail (and one of the best views on the course!). Many other holes see spectators peeking between the dunes from the walking trail.

I agree with the previous post that walkers move more quickly than cart golfers. We had two older, disabled golfers in carts recently who were in a foursome with two walkers and the carts definitely slow things down, as well as detract from the total golf experience of having a caddy. Sometimes the caddy isn’t there exactly when you want because he is parking the cart!

Although you can spot golfers without caddies there, I anticipate that more and more golfers at Chambers Bay will use caddies as word gets out that it is a very long course with some serious elevation changes. Unless you are in excellent shape (Ironman, marathoner, Best Ranger competitor, etc.) you will be exhausted by hole 18 without one!

Greens fees are about $150 plus about $20 tax (a hefty Pierce County recreation tax is added), and caddies are $35 per bag. Don’t forget as you plan your trip to Chambers Bay to calculate the customary generous tip for a deserving caddy!

The Armchair Golfer

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

12 thoughts on “Chambers Bay Golf Course Gets Rave Reviews”

  1. Played on 6/27 at Chambers Bay. Going back on 7/24. If the wind comes up and the greens are cut this could be really tough. I have taken 2 trips to Scotland and this is as good. The really slow greens do make putting difficult and added many strokes. Make sure to practice putt before. A very stout walk as well – be prepared.

  2. I am not impressed. I grew up in the British Isles playing links golf and Chambers is not links golf. (the last 4 holes would pass a links style holes) I will have a hard time going back, not just because of the high prices but I am not really very impressed with the layout. There are too many blind shots with strange things in the middle of fairways, it seems as if too many greens are cut into a plateau, and the greens are way too contoured to be playing bump and run shots. I found that too many fairways had severe runs offs and if you did not hit the right side of the fairway you were in trouble. The same with the greens, huge but with only 2/3 of it usable, there are not too many places to put the pins.

  3. I’m a sucker for new and expensive golf courses, so of course I had to give Chambers Bay a try. Of the usual group of guys I play golf with, two passed on the opportunity due to the price and the commute to the south of Tacoma. But I did get a foursome together.

    $150 pretty much sets the high water mark in green fees in the area (it comes to $170.77 after you tack on all the phony city taxes, just $65 plus all the taxes for a same-day replay), so we were all anxious to bask in the opulence of this new course. Cast opulence aside. This is a new course operating with a skeleton of amenities. Fine, the view is great, let’s play some golf.

    This is what I would describe as a bomber’s course: just grip it and rip it. I played 36 holes with the same ball. So did my playing partners. For $170.77 I expect to be ravaged, hacked to bits, and discarded with the trash due to the difficulty. This was not the case. I guess when the greens mature and they’re able to mow them to a speed faster that 2 on the Stimp Meter, it could get tough. But on July 29, they were downright shaggy. A disappointment for the price.

    In the first greenside bunker of the day (hole #2), a playing partner damaged his lob wedge due to rocks in the bunker. This was a true greenside bunker and not a waste area. Again, disappointing and not worthy of the green fee.

    This is an easy course to walk for a moderately in shape adult male. We played 36 holes and were none the worse for wear. Skip the caddie, or at least just talk your playing partner into getting one so he can rake your bunkers, too. (By the way, the rakes look like they came from Pier 1 Imports… not very good raking implements.)

    We played from the Navy tees (7,100 yds) both rounds, and everyone improved over 10% on their second round in terms of score, another indication that the course just isn’t that tough.

    I don’t see to whom Chambers Bay is catering to. It’s not competitive in terms of amenities (clubhouse, on-course beverage service, power carts, etc), course condition (rocks in bunkers, greens longer than my sideburns), or location (for Seattle Eastsiders), then throw the price into the equation, and I just don’t get it. Good luck. I’d price it at $85 minus the University Place rip-off tax, tops.

    This course has a lot of maturing to do in all aspects. I had a great time playing golf with friends, but in the parking lot, at that tell tale moment, when it comes to the question of, “Will you be back?” the answer was “Not right away.”

  4. Its a great course, I played there earlier this year. The greens fees were high.

    I just got back from a business trip in Denver and I played a great Colorado Golf Resort called Pole Creek.

    Pole Creek Golf Resort is everything a Colorado mountain golf vacation should be stunning alpine views, cool clear mountain air, and the perfect amount of serenity.

  5. Its a great course, I played there earlier this year. The greens fees were high.

    I just got back from a business trip in Denver and I played a great Colorado Golf Resort called Pole Creek.

    Pole Creek Golf Resort is everything a Colorado mountain golf vacation should be stunning alpine views, cool clear mountain air, and the perfect amount of serenity.

  6. I played on 8/11/08 and was anything but impressed. I’ve played all 3 bandon courses and would recommend any of those of this course. I’ll be shocked if the 2015 US Open remains on this USGA schedule.

    NOTE: Pumpkin Ridge and both Trent Jones JR. Heron Lakes course play much better

  7. Played 8/5 on a week long trip to the Pacific Northwest. For the price there were a number of small things that quickly added up. Arrived 45 minutes prior to my tee time, ten minutes to check in and then another ten waiting/taking shuttle from clubhouse to course. Also, even though I was taking a caddie I wanted a yardage book but none were available as they had just hosted an event and had been cleared out of yardage books. This allowed 15 minutes to warm up as I was supposed to be on #1 ten minutes prior to teeing off. Oh wait, nobody mentioned that on Tues. & Thurs. you go off on 10 instead of 1. Not a huge deal but when you pay $200+ (including caddie and tip) you want to play the course in order and not finish on a par 3. Practice facility was shaggy or dirt, not a big deal except that you're playing off tight fescue all day and it would be nice to warm up on similiar conditions.
    As for the course the view is spectacular and course is pretty but very gimmicky. You could miss by 30 yards and end up feeding in to 10 feet or miss by ten feet and end up rolling off and into a bunker or thirty yards off the green. Prime example was #9 (our 18th)pin was in the front so caddie had us hitting 20 yards left of the flag off the green and the balls would feed all the way down and tight. Novel but should you really be rewarded for hitting a shot 20 yards left on a short downhill par 3? As for the greens, they were probably rolling about 8. You had to disregard all break and uphill/downhill and just ram everything knowing you would have no more than three feet coming back. Number 6 green had been resodded as it appeared to have not recovered from aeration the front portion of number 7 was dirt.
    Another problem is that there are many collection areas that if you end up in you end up in a patch of old divots.
    Having played all of the Bandon courses I expected something similiar and was sorely disappointed. Worse shape, wide open, and more expensive.
    I had the pleasure of playing Crosswater on the same trip and for half the price played a solid layout in spectactular shape. If you are a resident Chambers Bay might be worth the price but for a full price player not worth the money. Certainly not worth the time or money to make a special trip for, save the effort and go play Bandon as this is a weak knock off.

  8. in addition to the glowing reviews of chambers bay, a truly challenging and enjoyable golf course, there are numerous critiques from whiney golf snobs complaining about anything they can. (these are probably some of the same higher handicap goofs who say they don't like bandon dunes) i have played the course 15 times since opened and feel it's one of the most unique/best public courses in the country along with bandon dunes and torrey pines.


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