VOLUME 9 • ISSUE 2 • JUNE 2015 • COMPLIMENTARY
IN THE BAG: U.S. OPEN WIN TWO TICKETS TO THE U.S. OPEN! JERMAINE KEARSE TALKS SUPER BOWL, U.S. OPEN NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS @cascadegolfer cascadegolfer.com
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Volume 9 • Issue 2 • JUNE 2015
Cascade Golfer is published and owned by Varsity Communications, Inc. This publication is mailed free to more than 106,000 registered Puetz Golf Preferred members. Additional copies are printed and distributed throughout the Puget Sound.
VARSITY COMMUNICATIONS, INC. 4114 198th Street SW, Suite 5 Lynnwood, WA 98036 P: (425) 412-7070 F: (425) 412-7082 varsitycommunications.com
10 SHORT GAME
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20 IN THE BAG
• Wedge wizardry • Grips, women’s sets and more
P R E S I D E NT / P U B LI S H E R Dick Stephens E D I TO R Brian Beaky ART DIRECTION Robert Becker GR APHIC DESIGNERS Robert Becker, Katie Erickson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tony Dear, Bob Sherwin
U.S. OPEN INSIDER’S GUIDE
From where to park (hint: don’t) when to tune in, where to watch, what to do and more, we get you ready for the big week
36 THE COURSE You’ve played Chambers Bay, but you’ve never played it like this. By Tony Dear
35 RISK vs REWARD
50 ROAD HOLES
THE FIELD From A(dam Scott) to Z(ach
• Chambers Bay No. 16
• Escape the U.S. Open crush
54 SAVE SOME GREEN
• Chambers Bay’s nifty neighbors
Johnson), an in-depth look at the players coming to Chambers Bay — and how they got here. By Brian Beaky
THE FUTURE A look ahead to life after the
• PGA TOUR star Andres Gonzales rates Lakewood’s best bars
PUETZ GOLF SAVINGS
U.S. Open. By Bob Sherwin
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Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2015 Cascade Golfer. PRINTED IN THE USA. All rights reserved. Articles, photos, advertising and/ or graphics may not be reprinted without the written permission of the publisher. Advertising and editorial contained herein does not constitute endorsement of Cascade Golfer or Varsity Communications, Inc. Publisher reserves the right to edit letters, photos and copy submitted and publish only excerpts. The publisher has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all material contained in this issue. However, as unpredictable changes and errors do occur, the publisher can assume no liability for errors, omissions or changes. All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted. PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER
Congratulations to the winners of April’s CG Swag! 2 Hours at Clubhouse Golf Center Cory Wells • Shoreline Rife Switchback Putter Ben Watson • Bellevue CG Jackpot — Three incredible Northwest twosomes! Dave Van Pevenage • Puyallup
JUNE 2015 2015
With trips to Palouse Ridge and Black Butte Ranch this issue is jam-packed with more chances to win! • VIP Passes to the 2015 Boeing Classic: Page 10 • TaylorMade SLDR S Driver: Page 11 • Black Butte Ranch Stay-and-Play: Page 51 • CG Jackpot — Twosome to Palouse Ridge and a Rife putter! Page 24
These prizes are going home with CG readers — maybe even you! Log on to CascadeGolfer.com and sign up for your chance to win today! CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
The world is watching and Chambers is ready
ur editor, Brian Beaky, and I recently attended the U.S. Open Media Day at Chambers Bay, hosted by the USGA. It was a truly special day – one I will long remember in a 25-year career in golf media and one that will always leave me with a silly grin on my face. It hit all the perfect notes: news, insights, looks forward and back, remarks from reigning champ Martin Kaymer and some important kudos given out to the Pierce County leaders with the vision to bring Chambers Bay to life. For me, it was also a snap shot of my two decades in this biz, as I shared the day with journalists like Craig Smith, Jeff Shelley, Bob Sherwin, Tony Dear, Rob Perry, Paul Barrett, Steve Turcotte, Jim Moore, Cameron Healey, Tom Cade and others. Many of these same characters were at the very first golf media day I attended over 20 years ago. Some I have worked with – some even worked for me. Two decades later, we were all still there doing what we love — sharing golf experiences with our audiences. The U.S. Open isn’t coming to Puget Sound because of us, but we have all played our part in keeping the local golf fires burning. For me, that’s admirable. So, I wanted to tip my hat to the men and women I have enjoyed playing alongside here in the orchestra pit.
The true cherry on top of this special day, though, was the time I spent over five-plus hours playing the game with Brian. The two of us have played Chambers more than a dozen times combined. But this one was special. It was a day that featured silent tributes to one lost father, and another battling for his life. It showcased memorable shots on a difficult layout. The day was marked by a moment we shared with architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr., on the 15th hole, as he pulled a well-worn copy of our April issue out of his bag, showcasing his very first pencil sketch of what that hole would one day become. He thanked us for making it our cover and went out of his way to introduce us to his associates. It couldn’t have been a cooler experience. Lastly, and most importantly, we have made it a mission to cover all the developments of Chambers Bay — from its opening, growth, challenges and triumphs, there isn’t a magazine in the world that has dedicated more words to Chambers Bay than Cascade Golfer. Now, it will host the U.S. Open — and for a few hours, we felt like we played a small part. If this sounds a bit mushy ... well, it was. What we’re all about to experience is something we may see here just once in a lifetime. ENJOY IT and, as always, TAKE IT EASY!
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Boeing Classic Prepares For Life After The U.S. Open
major championship is coming to the Seattle area this year. But then, this major (little “m”) championship comes every year, delivering a steady stream of Major (big “M”) champions for Seattle golf fans to follow. While much of the local golf world has been rightfully focused on the U.S. Open teeing off in just two weeks’ time, organizers of the annual PGA TOUR Champions Tour Boeing Classic have been hard at work making sure the annual August event at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge maintains its spot as one of the premier events on the senior circuit. The tournament, now entering its 11th year as the only annual PGA TOUR event in the Seattle area, earned the Champions Tour’s Tournament Business Affairs award for the third-straight year in 2014, marking its fifth-consecutive year capturing one of the Tour’s coveted year-end awards. Last year’s event also saw record attendance and charitable giving, hurdling the $5 million mark in total gifts to local charities over the last decade. In almost any year, the Boeing Classic is the highlight of the summer golf calendar, local golf fans’ only chance to watch major champions compete head-to-head in a beautiful setting for one of the Tour’s most coveted titles. That’s not the case this year, of course, and tournament director Michelle DeLancy says that’s just fine. “We’re very excited for the U.S. Open,” says DeLancy, who has been with the Boeing Classic since its inception in 2005. “It’s great for our community, and great for the game of golf.” DeLancy notes that the high profile and excitement generated by the U.S. Open is drawing in new sponsors, who may not have ever thought to sponsor a golf tournament before, as well as thousands of new fans. “For many of these
people, the U.S. Open will mark their first time attending a golf event, and they’re going to have a great time,” she says. “When it’s over, we want them to know that there’s another annual event in this area that’s a big part of the local golf community and is here to stay, and invite them to come take a look.” Those who become addicted to watching major champions battle head-to-head certainly won’t be disappointed by this year’s Boeing Classic. The tournament, taking place Aug. 17-23, featured 12 major champions in its 81-player field in 2014, including Seattle native Fred Couples, Mark O’Meara, Craig Stadler, Bernhard Langer, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Kite and several others. All are expected to return this year, while organizers hope to convince other newly eligible players like Miguel Angel Jimenez, Davis Love III and Lee Janzen to make the West Coast swing this summer. In the end, the presence of the U.S. Open on the Northwest golf calendar in 2015 should be a favorable turn for the Boeing Classic, raising golf’s profile in the local community and hooking a new generation of golf fans on the fun of following the game’s greats around one of the Northwest’s most beautiful courses. It certainly won’t present the same challenges as 2010, when the U.S. Senior Open was held at Sahalee a month before the Boeing Classic — directly competing with the Boeing for players, fans and sponsorship dollars — and the U.S. Amateur took place at Chambers Bay on the Boeing’s same weekend, providing stiff competition for fans and media attention. “The whole team from the U.S. Open, led by Danny Sink, has been great,” DeLancy says. “We’ve had some team mixers with them where we’ve gotten together and shared ideas. I think the U.S. Open is only going to help raise the profile of the Boeing Classic. It’s been nothing but positive so far.”
WIN BOEING CLASSIC VIP TICKETS! Break out the sunglasses and get ready to roar along with the best fans on Tour — we’re sending one lucky reader two tickets to the region’s only PGA TOUR event, including a pair of VIP Alaska Airlines Canyon Club Party Passes! You’ll have exclusive access to the Canyon Club at the par-4 14th, where you’ll enjoy upgraded concessions and watch legends of the game like Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer make the most exciting drive on Tour. And did we mention that for every birdie at No. 14, Canyon Club patrons receive half-price beers? Like we said — the VIP Alaska Airlines Canyon Club is the place to be. Visit boeingclassic.com for the latest updates to the field, and log on to CascadeGolfer.com for your chance to win! 10
Win U.S. Open Tickets at
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e knew we were onto a good idea when we talked up CascadeGolferDeals.com, our allnew deals site, at the Seattle Golf Show this year, and hundreds of golf show attendees put their names down to be the first to receive our greens-fee specials, stay-andplay savings and other exclusive goodies. But when our first deal — unlimited all-day play for two at Port Ludlow, including cart, for just $89 — went live on Apr. 1, we never expected the kind of response we received. Over 150 golfers snapped up the deal in the 15 days that it was live, blowing away our most optimistic projections. The same was true over the following weeks with deals to Suncadia, Mount Si, Allenmore, Discovery Bay, Kahler Glen and the Clubhouse Golf Center. In fact, every deal we’ve put on the site has been a hit, with golfers jumping at the chance to save as much as 60 percent off unique golf experiences throughout the Seattle area. Deals go live each Tuesday, and remain active for 15 days — and once they’re gone, they’re gone. If you want to be one of the first to know when new deals hit the market, visit CascadeGolferDeals.com and
sign up for our free e-mail list. Once a week, you’ll receive an e-mail directly from us with a deal that will have you teeing it up at one of our favorite tracks at rates you can’t find anyplace else. We’ll never share your e-mail information with a third party, and will always make sure we’re working hard to deliver you the best deals we can find ... deals we feel are worthy of the Cascade Golfer name. In fact, we’re so confident that you’re going to love our deals, that we’re throwing our biggest and best enterto-win prize of the year at you — two tickets to the opening round of the 2015 U.S. Open, which we’ll give away at random to one golfer who takes advantage of our latest deal ... a twosome of golf to Apple Tree, including cart and range balls, for just $114. That’s right — buy the deal, and not only are you receiving 40-percent-off on a fun day out to one of our state’s top courses, you’re also going to be automatically entered to win two tickets to the biggest event in Northwest golf history. So don’t delay ... log on to CascadeGolferDeals.com and take advantage of our latest deal, and maybe we’ll be seeing you inside the ropes at Chambers Bay on June 18.
First Tee Gala To Feature Fred Couples, Steve Ballmer ... And You
little over 40 years ago, a young Seattle golfer picked up his first set of clubs, headed down the street to Jefferson Park Golf Course and found his calling. In June, World Golf Hall of Famer Fred Couples will return to his hometown, hoping to build a lasting legacy at Jefferson Park that will inspire and instruct the next generation of Seattle-area youth looking to better their lives through the game of golf. The first-ever “Fore The Future” Gala, being held at the downtown Seattle Sheraton on U.S. Open weekend, will serve as a celebration of the Seattle golf community and the 2015 U.S Open at Chambers Bay, as well as an opportunity to raise funds for the First Tee of Seattle and other youth development projects. In addition to Couples, former Microsoft CEO and L.A. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer will speak to the guests in attendance, while former Husky golfer, LPGA star and Golf Channel analyst Paige Mackenzie will emcee. The gala begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, following the third round of play in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. Tickets are $250 per person, or $2,500 for a table of 10. Corporate sponsorships are also available, and include the opportunity to play Chambers Bay on the final day before the course closes to the public in advance of the Open, plus a VIP reception at the Washington Athletic Club. In addition to celebrating the local golf scene, the event will serve as a fundraiser for the First Tee of Greater Seattle and the First Tee of South Puget Sound, whose programs combine to serve over 80,000 kids throughout the Puget Sound area, teaching life skills and holistic values through the game of golf. Funds will also be used to construct a permanent teaching and learning center at Couples’ home course of Jefferson Park. For more information, or to buy tickets or make a donation, visit www.thefirstteeseattle.org. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
In the “Sun Belt” At The Golf Course Rockaway Bar & Grill
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Camaloch Golf Course
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Cascade Golfer Cup’s First Major On Deck
major championship, on a beautiful Northwest course, with an incredible prize pool and a field of top players mixed with local qualifiers — yep, the 2015 Scramble at McCormick Woods on June 13 is going to be epic. Sure, there’s that other major coming to town this month, and it will be memorable, too. But unlike the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, the Scramble at McCormick Woods — the third of seven events in the 2015 Cascade Golfer Cup — gives you the chance to feel the thrill of tournament golf and the pressure of competing for a major championship in a fun, friendly setting. Open to any player with an established handicap, the Cascade Golfer Cup has become the region’s most popular amateur tournament series, with fun, team-scoring formats, free beer and coffee on the course, a post-round meal, giveaways, hole contests and prizes for up to 25 of the 64 teams in the field at each event. Each tournament features its own prize pool — including stay-and-plays to Palm Springs, Bandon Dunes and other top locales — while players competing in multiple events earn points towards the season-long Cascade
18 HOLES 9 HOLES
Weekdays 29 Weekends/Hol. 35 Jr./Sr.(Sr. M-F) 26 Golfer Cup and the overall grand prize, 15 twosomes of golf in 2016 at the state’s top courses. And to up the ante, this year’s Cup will crown not just one but two team champions, including one each in the net and gross divisions. In addition, we’ve doubled the prizes for gross teams at each tournament, from five team prizes to 10, giving you even more ways to win. Already this year, four team champions have been crowned — longtime CG Cup players Mike Premo and James Tibbetts won the net title at April’s Season Opener at Salish Cliffs, while Scott Long and Nick Riebli claimed the gross division, each team winning a stay-and-play package to Mesquite, Nev. In addition, the Muckleshoot Casino Players Championship, held at Washington National, sent CG readers Adam Hargrave and Chad Orvella to Bandon Dunes, and prized out another 20-plus local teams. Remember, just because you’ve missed one or both of the first two events, doesn’t mean it’s too late to join the fun. You can play in just one, or play in them all — either way, you’re guaranteed a great time. To learn more about the Cascade Golfer Cup, or to register, visit CascadeGolfer.com and click on the cup, or email email@example.com.
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6601 244th St. SW Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043 425-776-5154
SHORT GAME Stay and Play U.S. Open-style at Salish Cliffs
lanning for the 2015 U.S. Open has been near-flawless, but for one small issue: travel and lodging. Current plans (covered in detail on page 24) involve directing traffic to parking lots at the Puyallup Fairgrounds or Fort Steilacoom Park, then running shuttles to and from the course. That said, there is a better way. Rather than fight the highway traffic and endure hot, sweaty bus rides, many local golfers and golf fans are planning to set up home base at the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, home to Salish Cliffs Golf Club and the Little Creek Casino. It’s just 45 minutes from Chambers Bay by car, and will feature its own dedicated shuttles taking golf fans to and from the U.S. Open — shuttles that will let you off just a 10-minute walk from the tournament gates, as opposed to halfway across Pierce County. What’s more, setting up camp at the Little Creek affords golfers amenities that we’ll just assume you won’t find at
home — amenities like a 35,000-square foot casino; eight on-site restaurants; a cigar and wine lounge featuring one of the Northwest’s most diverse humidors; the luxurious Seven Inlets Spa; a 190-room lodge-style hotel with modern, comfortable rooms and concierge service; and, of course, one of the top 18-hole golf courses in the entire state. There’s little to say about Salish Cliffs, which opened in September of 2011, that we haven’t said before. Its conditioning is among the best anywhere in Western Washington, and its Gene Bates design offers just about everything a golfer could want — holes that reward aggressive play, and others where caution is more prudent, fun par-3s and par-5s, fabulous conditioning and perhaps the most beautiful bunkers in the state. Our advice? Play an early round at Salish, then
head over to the Open after lunch. You’ll still get to see all of the top players in action, and you’ll have the chance to flex your own golf muscles a little, too. Packages during the Open start at just $399, and include a round of golf for two, lodging and further golf and restaurant discounts. An hour after the final ball drops into the hole on 18 at Chambers Bay, you could be sitting on a cramped bus, waiting for traffic to move just enough so you can back out of your parking spot, or staring at a sea of taillights on the highway. Or, you can be sipping your favorite drink, sidling up to the blackjack table, sitting down for a surfand-turf dinner, or collapsing onto a clean, comfortable bed and flicking on ESPN to catch the highlights and look for yourself on TV. Seems like an easy choice to us.
ALLENMORE GOLF AND EVENT CENTER THE BEST GREENS AROUND! Cedarcrest G.C • Marysville
Oki, Premier Broaden Horizons
ocal golf companies Oki Golf and Premier Golf engaged in a bit of musical chairs this spring, with Oki selling one of its 11 courses — only to immediately be hired to manage it — and Premier expanding its reach north and east with the acquisition of two more Northwest tracks. Seattle-based Premier Golf — which manages municipal courses throughout the Puget Sound region, including Jackson Park, Jefferson Park, West Seattle, Legion Memorial and many others — announced this spring that it has added Cedarcrest in Marysville and the Crossroads Par-3 Course in Bellevue to its management portfolio. Built in 1927 and redesigned by John Steidel (Apple Tree, Eaglemont, Highlander, Legion Memorial), Cedarcrest is one of the region’s most well-known courses. Tall trees guard the fairways of the 6,000-yard, par-70 track, while more than 50 new bunkers installed as part of the redesign in 2010 protect classically small Northwest greens. Crossroads, meanwhile, is a popular par-3, with a brand-new FootGolf course that combines Seattle’s love of golf and soccer into a fun family sport. While Premier was busy adding courses, Oki was reducing its number by one — sort of. The Bellevuebased company, which manages Washington National, The Golf Club at Newcastle and Harbour Pointe, among others, announced in April that it had sold The Golf Club at Echo Falls to an outside investor, who then immediately hired Oki to manage the course’s day-today operations. The Snohomish course, located just off of Highway 522 between Woodinville and Monroe, was the first purchased in 1994 by former Microsoft executive Scott Oki, who has since expanded his ownership to 11 Seattle-area tracks. As part of the agreement, Echo Falls will continue to be a part of the popular Oki Golf Players Card, which provides discounted rounds to all nine Oki public courses. While Echo will be the first course that Oki has managed without owning, it will almost certainly not be the last. “We are very excited about launching our golf course management services,” says David Hein, Oki’s vice president of sales and business development, ”and the opportunity this new endeavor offers Oki Golf for future growth.”
Pro Shop: (253) 627-7211 Events: (253) 272-1117
Restaurant now OPEN! Allenmore Golf Course, located In the heart of Tacoma has much to be admired. There is a beautiful lodge building with event venues ready to rent. Allenmore Golf Course is the pride of Tacoma and awaits your play.
2013 S. Cedar St. Tacoma, WA 98405
After your round of golf! take in the relaxed atmosphere and great food at Smoke + Cedar Restaurant
Big-Play Jermaine Sets Sights on U.S. Open This Summer
A CG EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
ou’re an undrafted free agent, and your hard work over three seasons has resulted in a $2.3 million contract this offseason. What do you do with it? You go to the U.S. Open, of course. At least, that’s what you do if you’re Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, and the U.S. Open is being played in your own backyard. A graduate of Lakes High School and the University of Washington, the 25-year-old has become a vital part of the Seahawks offense, making the game-winning
touchdown catches in each of the last two NFC Championship games, and scoring a highlight-reel touchdown against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Of course, Googling “Jermaine Kearse Super Bowl catch” doesn’t turn up that play — instead, it turns up Kearse’s twice-tipped, twice-kicked stunner at the end of Super Bowl XLIX, a catch which might have been remembered as the Super Bowl’s all-time greatest were it not immediately overshadowed by “that of which we do not speak.”
Are you excited for the U.S. Open coming to your hometown this summer? “Yeah, definitely. I’m for sure going to go down there. I want to see Tiger play; I think it will be cool to see him in person. I’m also excited to see Jordan Spieth play, and Rory, and all those guys. Just to see a PGA tournament will be cool. This would be the perfect, ideal day to me — it would be sunny, but windy. Because when it gets windy there, it gets really tough.”
and checking out new courses.”
I heard you went down to the Seattle Golf Show this year. Did you see anything you liked? “Yeah, I was there. I was just looking around. I’ve never been to a golf show before, so I thought, ‘Why not go?’ I just wanted to see what’s there. It was cool.” Did you grow up playing golf? “No, I actually just started three years ago. I had gone to the U-Dub driving range and just kind of had fun hitting balls around. But then my stepdad started playing with my older brother and I, and we’ve been addicted since then.” What do you like about golf? “That you can’t win. There’s always something new that you need to work on. You might hit your irons really well one week, but your short game is messed up, and then the next week, it’s the reverse. It’s a constant challenge.” How often do you play? “I try to play at least two or three times a week during the offseason. One of my favorites is Washington National. I really like Salish Cliffs; I like Suncadia, Fairwood Country Club and Gold Mountain, too — oh, and of course Chambers Bay. I like playing different tracks, 18
How’s your game? “It’s up and down, like most golfers. My weakness is my driver, and my strength is my putting.” What kind of clubs do you use? “My irons are Titleist AP2s, and I go back and forth with my driver between a Titleist 915 and a Nike Vapor. When I hit my driver straight, I can hit it 300-plus. Actually, I was in Palm Desert and played PGA West, the TPC Stadium course, and hit one about 360. That drive was wild.” Who are your favorite people to play with? “I play with a guy named James Mancino almost every time I play; he’s one of my good friends. Also my stepdad, Steve. On the team, I used to play with Max Unger, Bryan Walters, Golden Tate ... but I don’t get to play with those guys anymore because they’re all on other teams.” I saw a video of Richard Sherman trying to swing a club ... it looked like he needed a little help. [laughs] “I think we all could use some help, really.” Is there a particularly memorable round that stands out for you? “I shot my best score ever at Chambers Bay. I shot 88, playing the sand tees. And they told me they were playing long that day, like around 7,100 yards. So I felt pretty good about that.” Changing gears to football, what has it meant for you to be able to play your entire career, from pee wee to the NFL, in one town? “It’s a rare thing to happen. I’ve been blessed to be
Kearse has had plenty of time to unwind since the Super Bowl — time which has included no shortage of rounds on local golf courses. Here’s what he had to say when we caught up with him this spring. able to play in front of my family and friends, people who give me a lot of support. It’s been a lot of fun.” You’ve earned a reputation for making big catches in clutch moments. Is that a skill you can work on, or is just something you have to have? “I constantly try to work on my game and make the most of each opportunity. I mean, I’m definitely trying to score on every catch. I guess it’s just about being in the right place at the right time.” What did you see on your catch at the end of Super Bowl XLIX, and what is it like to have such an amazing catch that could potentially be lost to history? “Everything was going so fast that I didn’t even really have time to think about it. I just reacted. But I’ve moved on from it. It is what it is. Obviously I would have liked to win the Super Bowl, but you just try to move on and make other memorable moments.” Is your motivation any different coming off a Super Bowl loss than it was last year coming off a win? “You kind of reset after each season. You have to let go. Winning the Super Bowl [against Denver] wasn’t going to help us win the Super Bowl last year, and winning it last year wasn’t going to help us win it this year. You just have to reset and take the season one day at a time.” Where is Max Unger going to be missed more — on the o-line, or in your golf foursome? [laughs] “That’s a great question. Man, that’s tough. He was a core guy in my foursome, but he was a vital person on our offensive line. I think he’s going to be equally hard to replace.” CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO THE 2015 U.S. OPEN
The Transportation Tango
verything about the U.S. Open is going to be amazing. Everything, that is, inside the fences. Outside? Well, that’s still a work in progress. As anyone who has visited Chambers Bay can attest, it’s not exactly the world’s most accessible golf course. About seven miles through urban streets from I-5 (the last mile-and-a-half on two-lane roads), a 20-minute drive from downtown Tacoma and roughly an hour’s drive from Seattle (but oh so worth it), shuffling 30,000 golf fans to and from Chambers Bay each day has been the single most pressing item on the USGA’s operational agenda since practically the day in 2008 that the event was first announced. While it seemed for a while that the USGA might build a train stop just outside the Chambers Bay gates, allowing the public to ride in by rail, that plan’s been scrapped for various reasons of timing and insurance. Likewise, no cruise ships will anchor offshore (none
were willing to give up a week of revenue during the prime Alaska cruising season), nor will private boaters be allowed to drop anchor. Coast Guard cutters will patrol the Sound and keep all watercraft a certain distance from the shore for public safety purposes, just as they patrol Lake Union on the Fourth of July. With all creative options off the table, your best bet, therefore, is going to be arriving by car or public transportation. On-street parking will be banned throughout the two-lane streets nearest the course (even for residents), clearing the way for shuttles and emergency vehicles, while the rest of University Place west of Bridgeport Ave. will be dotted with “No Event Parking” signs. In fact, most of those who drive won’t go to University Place at all. Event parking lots have been established at both Fort Steilacoom Park and the
Chambers Bay 167
WA State Fairgrounds 512 512
Fort Steilacoom Park
Puyallup Fairgrounds, with shuttles running constantly to and from the golf course, starting at 5:30 a.m. and ending one hour after the conclusion of play each day. Parking and shuttles will be free at both locations, with an estimated travel time of 25-30 minutes from either lot (the USGA’s estimate ... any local would tell you Fort Steilacoom is probably half the drive). Golfers driving in from the north and east will be guided to the Fairgrounds, while those lucky travelers from the south and west will be directed to Fort Steilacoom. In addition, a drop-off zone will be available at Sunset Primary School about a 10-minute walk from the tournament gates, allowing vehicles with 12 or fewer passengers to unload before driving away. While traffic going to and from the drop-off zone will almost certainly not be brisk, it’s a great option for anyone who can convince a friend or family member to shuttle them to and from the course each day. Complete information on driving, parking and other spectator guidelines is available via an interactive guide at www.usopen.com/knowbeforeyougo, a must-read for anyone heading down to Chambers Bay this month. Our recommendation? Avoid the situation entirely by driving to any Tacoma Park & Ride lot (we’d recommend Tacoma Community College, just minutes from Chambers Bay), then taking a taxi or Uber ride over to the drop-off lot. Or, if you have friends the area, see if you can leave your car at their place and do the same. You’ll save yourself the hassle of waiting in line for the shuttle buses — not to mention traffic in and around the lots — and also won’t have to sit on a bus for an hour round-trip. That’s more than worth the few bucks you’ll hand the driver. Will it be perfect? No. Will it be worth it? Absolutely. We’ll see you on the grounds.
Palouse Ridge And a Sweet New Putter ... On Us!
ust two months remain before we unveil Washington’s Top-10 Public Courses for 2015, and we know all of you will be scanning the list to count up how many of the top-10 you’ve played. So, we’re giving you a head start — we’ve teamed up with the fabulous Palouse Ridge Golf Course in Pullman to give one lucky CG reader and a playing partner of their choice the chance to head across the state and check out the No. 5 course from our most recent rankings in 2013 ... on us! What’s more, we’re going to up your odds of a good score by throwing in a state-of-the-art Rife Switchback putter! Log on to CascadeGolfer.com and enter to win today! 24
A MINUTE OF THE ACTION
The Best Seats In The House
f the many aspects that make this month’s U.S. Open unique (first ever in the Northwest, youngest course ever awarded an Open, first true links Open, fourth public course to host an Open, first ever FOX Sports golf broadcast) perhaps is none is as significant as the way the course layout will impact spectators’ ability to follow the action — and players’ ability to see and hear exactly what’s going on all at all times. On most courses, players and spectators can see one, maybe two holes at a time — probably the most well-known grandstand in golf, in fact, is at Augusta National’s Amen Corner, and even that only allows spectators to catch the action on three holes. However, the unique layout of Chambers Bay — which is built in what is essentially a half-bowl topped by ridges to the north and east, and features no trees whatsoever that block views from anywhere on the golf course — will allow spectators to be able to follow the action on as many as 16 holes at once, while players will be able to see digital scoreboards from almost every single location. With a good pair of binoculars — or even the naked eye, provided you don’t mind when Rory becomes a little blue dot — you could follow your favorite players all day without ever leaving your seat. And with the USGA’s handy new U.S. Open app, available free for iPhone and Android, you can even track where your favorite player is on each hole, in real time. Having scouted the grandstands as they were being built this spring, here are a few of the places we’ll be hanging out:
Grandview Trail On a regular day at Chambers Bay, walkers and joggers on the Grandview Trail (which runs the entire length of the ridgeline on the course’s eastern slope) can see almost every hole on the course, and practically since the moment the Open was announced, fans have speculated as to whether the trail would be open to spectators. The answer: you’d better believe it. While the main purpose of the trail (which will be inside the gates) will be to provide CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
direct access from the northeast gate to the far side of the course, spectators will be allowed to stand along the fence itself, giving a Colosseum effect to the action below. Fans on the trail will be afforded a front-row seat to the seven holes that play at or away from the ridge, plus a significant portion of nine others (all but No. 12 and No. 17). Bring some good binoculars and line up early, because the trail is sure to fill up fast.
Grandstand behind No. 16 green Tucked along the railroad tracks and Puget Sound, the grandstand at No. 16 will afford a view of as many as five holes without too much effort — chief among them the par-4 16th. With suggestions that it could play as a drivable par-4 for the Open, the hole could have a “Bear’s Canyon” feel to it, like the Boeing Classic’s 14th at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. Get a seat at the top of the grandstand and you’ll also be able to look behind you to the par-3 17th, look right to the par-4 second, and look straight ahead to see, about 500 yards away, the par-3 15th and, in the distance, the risk/reward par-4 12th.
Grandstand behind No. 7 green One of the highest points on the course, the grandstand at No. 7 will afford a full view of both the seventh and eighth holes, as well as the No. 9 green and parts of several other holes. The best action, though, will be right in front of you — the seventh is expected to be the toughest hole on the course, and any player who makes birdie will gain anywhere from 1-3 strokes on the field.
or the first time ever, FOX Sports has secured broadcast rights to a U.S. Open, meaning that those of us without tickets to Chambers Bay will be treated to an all-new show — and with over 200 million eyeballs glued to their sets from all over the world, you can bet that Fox will have some unique bells and whistles to try and set their first broadcast apart. Longtime NFL and major league baseball anchor Joe Buck will head the broadcast team, joined by Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman, 1995 U.S. Open champion Corey Pavin, two-time U.S. Women’s Open champ Juli Inkster, four-time PGA Tour winner Steve Flesch and Shane O’Donoghue, host of “Living Golf” on CNN. And viewers will have plenty of opportunities to hear all of those broadcasters in action. FOX is planning nearly 40 hours of live coverage over the tournament’s four days, so go ahead and plan that sick time now — whether you have tickets or not, it’s a good bet you’re not going to want to be sitting at your desk or out working a job when Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are playing just a few miles from home, on a course you’ve more than likely played yourself. (And if you haven’t ... what on Earth are you waiting for?) THURSDAY — JUNE 18 ROUND TIME
FOX Sports 1 FOX
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 5-8 p.m.
FRIDAY — JUNE 19 ROUND TIME
FOX Sports 1 FOX
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 5-8 p.m.
SATURDAY — JUNE 20 ROUND TIME
FOX FOX Deportes
11 a.m. - 7 p.m. 4-7 p.m.
SUNDAY — JUNE 21 ROUND TIME
FOX FOX Deportes
11 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. 4:30-7:30 p.m.
MONDAY — JUNE 22 ROUND TIME
Playoff (if necessary)
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Grandstand behind No. 13 green Another high point, the view from 13 can’t be beat. Ten different holes can be followed from this spot, including 13, 14 and the iconic par-3 15th, plus the entire “Monster Mile” from holes 4-7 that will go a long way towards determining the 2015 champ. JUNE 2015
AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO THE 2015 U.S. OPEN
HISTORY IN THE MAKING A look back at some of our favorite moments in U.S. Open history ... what magic waits to be made at Chambers Bay?
Oct. 4, 1895: A Championship Is Born Twenty-one-year-old Englishman Horace Rawlins bests a field of 11 to win the first U.S. Open Championship, pocketing a $150 purse. June 12, 1950: Hogan’s Comeback Ben Hogan (above, left) made two comebacks to win the 1950 U.S. Open — first by recovering from a near-fatal car accident just 16 months before, then by saving par on the 72nd hole to force a playoff before winning with a 69 the next day. His famous quote about Oakland Hills — “I brought this monster to its knees” — inspired an industry-wide shift towards longer, tougher golf courses that has only just recently begun to ebb. June 18, 1960: Golf’s Greatest Drive Arnold Palmer trailed by seven strokes as he stepped
onto the first tee for the final round of the 1960 U.S. Open at Colorado’s Cherry Hills. No problem. The 31-year-old reigning Masters champ drove the green of the 346-yard, par-4 for a two-putt birdie, the first of six birdies in seven holes to launch the greatest comefrom-behind win in U.S. Open history. A 346-yard drive would be impressive today ... in 1960, it was like Babe Ruth hitting 60 home runs in an era when entire teams only hit 30 per season. Needless to say, The King was crowned and golf’s greatest rivalry was born. June 22, 1980: “Jack Is Back!” After a winless 1979, Jack Nicklaus (above, middle) sent notice that he wasn’t done yet with birdies at 17 and 18 to win his fourth — and final — U.S. Open with a record 272, prompting the crowd to roar, “Jack is back! Jack is back!”
June 21, 1982: Watson Chips In Tom Watson completed a series of “miracle” par and birdie saves with a chip-in on 17th green at Pebble Beach to give him a one-shot lead over Nicklaus with one to play. His jubilant sprint across the green remains one of the greatest moments in the game’s history. June 21, 1999: Stewart’s Final Win One of golf’s most popular players, Payne Stewart (above, right) held off Tiger, Phil and Vijay for the win with a 20-foot putt on the 72nd hole at Pinehurst. Four months later, he was gone. June 19, 2000: A New Century In the year the Open celebrated its 100th anniversary, Tiger Woods officially sent notice of a new era in golf with a record-breaking 15-stroke victory at Pebble Beach.
Course upgrades. Fees remain in the past.
June 16, 2008: The End of An Era? Despite a knee that would require surgery just a week later, Tiger Woods drained a 14-footer on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines to force the Odd Couple of U.S. Open playoffs — the intense, dominant Woods versus affable, 46-year-old Rocco Mediate. After falling as many as three strokes behind on the back nine, Mediate roared back to tie, before losing on the 19th hole. It was Tiger’s 14th major, and sixth in 38 months. We had no idea it might also have been his last. June 19, 2011: And The Beginning Of The Next The world fell for 21-year-old Rory McIlroy at the 2011 Masters, when he fired a final-round 80 to blow a four-shot lead, but showed incredible grace and poise in defeat. Two months later, that attitude paid off when McIlroy dominated the U.S. Open at Congressional in a wire-to-wire win, (360) giving golf fans our first glimpse of a worthy heir to Tiger’s throne.
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CG INSIDER TIPS Planning to head down to Chambers Bay for the U.S. Open this month? Here are five things to remember when making the trip:
1. Dress For Success
It’s June in Seattle, which means it could be 65 and sunny one minute, then pouring down rain the next. Dress in layers, or pack a light rain coat and (sigh) an umbrella. Also, wear good shoes — no flip-flops, wedges or flats. Chambers Bay is a hilly course, and you’ll be doing lots of walking. A good pair of tennys are your best friend.
2. Download The App
THE KEY TO LEE TREVINO’S
BEST DRIVE OF THE DAY STARTS HERE.
For the first time ever, the USGA is allowing phones. What’s more, they’ve developed a must-have app that will allow you to track every golfer on the course, at all times. Want to go find Tiger? Check the app to see exactly where he is, in real time, then head on over. The app will also show restroom and concession locations and maps of the grounds, plus highlights and other features. It’s an awesome innovation, but “with great power comes great responsibility.” Don’t call your buddy back home. Don’t be that doofus in the background holding a phone and waving at the TV cameras. And don’t, don’t, don’t dare leave your ringer on.
3. Pack Light
No backpacks or bags larger than six inches on any side will be allowed on the grounds (except for transparent clear plastic bags no larger than 12 inches a side), so you’re going to need to limit yourself to just a few essentials, plus a 24-ounce-or-smaller clear plastic water bottle. Oh, and a Sharpie.
4. Be Respectful
As tempting as it is to want an autograph or a picture from your favorite player, remember that he’s trying to focus on one of the biggest days of his life. From the time a player heads to the first tee, to the time he walks off 18, leave him alone. Otherwise, stand respectfully along the ropes with your hat, ball, program and Sharpie. If a player doesn’t want to sign, don’t take it personally — he’s got a lot on his mind.
5. Do The 12th Man Proud
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Cheer only when appropriate, and keep negative comments to yourself. If you’re up against the ropes, kneel or sit so those behind you can see. Be aware of kids, and let them squirm their way up to the front for a better view. Don’t litter. Remember, this is an exciting week not just for us, but for our thousands of out-of-town guests as well; let’s send them home saying what we already know to be true — that we live in the greatest place on Earth. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
RISK vs. REWARD Chambers Bay
Hole No. 16 Par 4 300 yards
By Simon Dubiel
While this hole plays anywhere from 323-396 on a regular day, there are widespread rumors the USGA will be moving the tees way up to make this a drivable par-4 on at least one day of the U.S. Open. We couldn’t agree more. With a potential pin placement in the “thumb” of the green, this type of setup screams RvR. Sand is the great equalizer here, with a huge wasteland that runs along the entire right side of the fairway, all the way past the putting surface, as well as a bunker placed back left of the green. The green itself is 36 yards long yet narrows to just eight yards wide in the “thumb” at the back right. Precision will be key, and could possibly decide who will be holding the trophy in two weeks’ time.
Sand, sand and more sand. If the golfer pulls driver off the tee, they’d better tell their caddie to have their 56-degree handy. Long and left will be in the trap, along with anything sprayed right, regardless of the distance. Miss it further right and your golf ball will be introduced to Sounder commuter rail service, along with being out of bounds.
The Reward: Much of the risk can be alleviated by aiming a few yards short and left, giving the golfer a chance to get on in two, but also leaving a very manageable second should their shot not be struck true. Clearly, pin placement and a
player’s specific score will be large factors in their decision, but regardless, whether your approach shot is your drive or your second, it is no walk in the park. The reward is two-fold: get on in one, or get that sand shot out of the way in two.
Final Call: One might suggest laying up and taking your chances with a wedge into the green. We prefer to think that choosing a putter over a wedge is the way to play this game. Aim left of the green and hit the fade back into the slight breeze coming off the sound as you watch your ball go pin-seeking. Don’t be afraid to be great. No guts, no glory. Yahtzee!
Bay-ing for Blood Chambers Bay is difficult enough on a regular day. Its U.S. Open setup, though — tipped-out, tucked and tightened — is going to be a whole new level of hard. And a lot of fun to watch.
ne of the greatest aspects of the game we play is that yippers, slicers, whiffers and shankers like us have the opportunity to perform on the same stage as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth (not at the same time, obviously). We can’t plunk down any amount of cash at Safeco Field, head for the batter’s box, and try to hit a homer into Edgar’s Cantina. Likewise, we don’t get to throw spirals or take penalty kicks at CenturyLink. However, you’ve probably already played the venue for this year’s U.S. Open. Chambers Bay isn’t quite eight years old, which is absurdly young compared with some of the game’s other championship venues, but plenty old enough for locals to have experienced the
By Tony Dear course’s many charms and demands. But how similar, actually, is the Chambers Bay you’ve played to the Chambers Bay the world’s best will take on? If you saw the course from the 6,015-yard white tees, you most probably had a great day out, and faced your share of challenges. But you only received a taste of how demanding Chambers Bay will be for the elite who, depending on how the weather affects course setup, could play a 7,700-yard behemoth with rough thicker than has ever been grown at the course, and greens quicker than they have ever played. It will make the Chambers Bay we play look like a gentle pitch-and-putt. It’s worth noting that all yardages in this feature are from the listed back tees, though Chambers Bay’s
unique “ribbon” tees allow markers to be set just about anywhere, and USGA Executive Director Mike Davis has hinted that the tees could be moved as much as 100 yards on some holes from one day to the next, forcing players to think on their feet (which, in some cases, may even be standing on uneven lies ... on the tee box). Sunday pins, too, are likely to skirt the edges of Chambers’ acres of sand, forcing players to take on great risks to go close with their approach shots, or play it safe and settle for long, difficult putts. And if the weather turns even the least bit nasty at any point, there won’t be (m)any beating the par of 70, or 280 for the four rounds. Get ready, Rory, Jordan and Co. ... because you’re in for one of your stiffest tests yet.
598/495 yards Par 5/4 The opening hole (which plays from out of the frame to the right, to the green in the upper-left portion of this photo, along the dune) will play as a par-4 on two days and par-5 the other two, though it has not yet been decided which it will be for the final round. To make it a par-5, the USGA located a new tee near the practice putting green way behind the tees you’re familiar with. From there, the right fairway bunker (in the shadow of the dune just above this sentence) is certainly in play. The approach and left side of the green were flattened following the 2010 US Amateur, when eight out of 10 approach shots trickled 50 yards or more down the slope to the left of the green. Most players should get home in two, but with a strong southwesterly (the prevailing wind direction), the huge sand hill to the right of the fairway and green could see a lot of action.
2015 US OPEN No.
399 yards Par 4 With or without the wind at their backs, competitors will regard the second as a definite birdie chance. A long bunker on the left which starts about 100 yards short of the green must be avoided from the tee, so players will likely use a hybrid or long iron to ensure finding the fairway. Many approach shots will use the bank on the right of the putting surface to feed the ball down toward the hole, but with a sand wedge in hand, some players will simply fire it high and attempt to land it softly near the pin.
163-198 yards Par 3 The new back tee at No. 3 extended this wonderful par-3 to 198 yards, but with the wind still helping, players might need as little as an 8-iron to reach the green, and a 5- or 6-iron on calm days. As with all classic Redan holes (the 15th at North Berwick in Scotland was the original), the ideal tee shot will land on the front-right portion of what is sure to be a very firm green and use the slope to work the ball left. Balls pitching too far up the green and bouncing hard may plunge into the back bunker, from where an up-and-down will be extremely difficult. On Sunday, the tee will likely be moved up to the 163-yard marker and the pin tucked into the green’s front left corner, daring golfers to fly the huge front bunker with a wedge.
495 yards Par 4 It’s possible, with favorable wind, for players to be a shot or two under par as they step onto the tee at No. 4. They’ll be happy to walk off the green with their score intact, however, as this long par-4 gives the first indication of just how tough Chambers Bay can be. A 300-yard drive down the line of the large waste bunker on the right will leave a mid-iron uphill to a green much wider than it is deep, while more conservative players can aim for the center of the fairway (a safer choice, but leaving a longer approach). The second shot is likely to be played with an awkward stance from a lumpy fairway. With the pin on the front edge and a little wind, many players will see their solid start go up in a puff of sand. Copyright USGA/John Mummert
488 yards Par 4 This hole began life with two greens – the current one and a smaller, infrequently used surface to the left of the fairway that made the hole a short par-4. Following the 2010 U.S. Amateur, that green was removed and replaced with a large sandy area about the same distance off the tee as the similarly large and threatening waste area to the right of the fairway. Together, they pinch the fairway to just 30 yards wide at about the 300-yard mark. Many players are therefore likely to snub the driver in favor of a hybrid or long iron to lay up short of the trouble. They will then face a 190-200 yard shot to a wide, sloping green. Expect to see the Sunday pin tucked directly behind the deep, central bunker that waits for anything even a little short. Copyright USGA/John Mummert
Copyright USGA/John Mummert
495 yards Par 4 This is where we get into the real meat of Chambers Bay, when players are likely to shift into safety mode and hope to protect their score for the next few holes. The par-4 sixth starts a stretch designer Robert Trent Jones, Jr., believes will be crucial in the outcome, and if the prevailing wind is blowing hard into the playersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; faces, a par here will be very hard-earned. Any miss right is dead, while a tee shot to the left half of the fairway gives a better view of the narrow, rising green, which players will probably need a long-iron or even hybrid to reach. The rakes alongside the bunkers to the left and right of the putting surface, and even the one short and right, will be among the courseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s busiest.
Copyright USGA/John Mummert
508 yards Par 4 The seriously demanding seventh hole was altered significantly in 2012. The rough on the left side of the fairway shifted inwards, moving the two large mounds which had been in the fairway just short of the green, into the left rough. The green was also modified, becoming larger and flatter at the front to prevent balls landing short from rolling 100 yards or so back down the fairway. A cape-style hole, players will need to decide on the tee how much of the huge fairway bunker on the right they want to carry. Bombers will aim well right, and risk finding the sand in an effort to leave a short and relatively straightforward second. Those bailing left will likely face a blind, uphill approach over the mounds to a two-tiered green that is much deeper than it appears from below.
2015 US OPEN
614 yards Par 5 The new back tee (2012) not only turns the eighth into a grueling, 614-yard monster, it also gives it a little right-to-left kink. Players will need to draw a driver up the left side and watch their ball ease down the slope into the middle of the fairway. A big 3-wood up the hill will now be necessary to reach the severely slanted green, with a back slope that players will use to cushion their ball back down to the hole. The ground short and to the right of the green has been flattened so that balls pitching there wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t bounce off the fairway and fall down the hill toward the footpath. There is no sand on the eighth, and with two solid blows, it is waiting to be birdied. Typically for Chambers Bay, though, disaster is just a missed fairway or downhill putt away.
Copyright USGA/John Mummert
217-224 yards Par 3 The ninth will be played from the high tee (224 yards) on two days, and the lower tee (217 yards, at the bottom of the hill to the right of the eighth fairway) the other two. From on top, players will have to guard against the prevailing wind pushing their ball toward the huge waste bunker to the right, while the same wind would be in the playersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; faces on the lower tee, from where the hole actually plays a little uphill. The green is likely to be a little softer in June than it was in August 2010, so players should find it easier to pitch onto the putting surface. But on another wild and expansive Chambers Bay green, hitting the green in regulation is absolutely no guarantee of a par.
2015 US OPEN No.
436 yards Par 4 The delightful, uphill 10th (at left) will be many players’ favorite hole, provided they don’t find trouble on either side of the fairway and run up a six, of course. It’s possible a forward tee will be used one day, giving players the opportunity of driving the green, but from 436 yards, most will probably take less than driver and favor the fat part of the fairway. The safe tee shot will leave a tough second, though, uphill from 180 yards or so to a narrow green wedged beautifully in between the sand hills. The surface was re-seeded in 2013 as the fescue had not borne foot traffic terribly well. The new turf has developed well, however, so the difference between this green and the others will be minor.
500-537 yards Par 4 The championship tee on this hole is one you likely haven’t noticed before — 112 yards behind the sand tees, and 135 yards behind the whites! But with a favorable wind, the longest hitters might still be able to blast one clean over the top of the large, shaggy mound in the fairway. The majority should aim a little left of it, though, as the fairway is wider here than it is to the right, and the approach shot a good deal easier. Anyone in trouble off the tee will find plenty of fairway for their recovery shot short and left of the green, which is set into a right-to-left sloping hill and best found with a high fade. Anything low and drawing will run off the green to the left and well down the slope, leaving a 20-30 yard pitch back. Copyright USGA/John Mummert
281-311 yards Par 4 The 12th (at left) is one of those quirky, idiosyncratic, short par-4s that will be popular with many but might also exasperate some unlucky soul who catches a bad bounce, or hits a great-looking drive that catches the wrong slope and rolls 100 feet away from the hole. The ideal tee shot misses the front bunker to the right and, with a touch of draw, rolls onto the green and hopefully close to the hole. The huge (58 paces from front to back) green, nicely situated in a bowl, is covered in not-subtle breaks that will conspire to protect par. After a couple of unproductive attempts at driving the green, some players may decide to hit a long iron followed by a sand wedge, as this may yield better results than the runaway drive over which the player has little control once it lands. Copyright USGA/John Mummert
534 yards Par 4 The 13th (at right) is a daunting enough par-4 from the 437-yard tee. At 534 yards, it is frankly beyond the wits of most amateurs to comprehend. There is plenty of room to the left on this left-to-right bending hole, but the best drive flirts with the large sandy area on the right, as this leaves a significantly shorter approach than the 250-yarder you’d face from the other side. Even from the right, though, players are going to have 200 yards or so uphill to another fairly shallow, heavily-contoured green that was rebuilt in 2012 and, like the 10th, re-seeded in 2013. The large bunker in front of the green prevents any sort of run-up shot — another high, soft-landing long-iron, like the sort Rory McIlroy hits, is what you need, though not a simple task from that distance. Rob Perry Photography
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2015 US OPEN
521-546 yards Par 4 It may be slightly longer on the scorecard, but the 14th will play shorter than the previous hole, as it plunges dramatically from a new back tee to a fairway that curves and slopes from right to left and has a pot bunker — named “Bobby’s Bunker,” after RTJII — positioned right slap in the middle. Going left of that bunker will leave a much shorter second, but will need to carry the huge waste area down the left side of the fairway. From the lower left side, players will probably need a long, possibly mid-iron to reach a green that rises from the front to the middle but then falls away into a collection area at the back. Anyone approaching from the right will have a much longer second, though a better view of the green. Copyright USGA/John Mummert
123-246 yards Par 3 The 15th will present a different challenge every day as the wind shifts and Davis plays around with the hole’s yardage. Most of us know it as a short-iron drop shot from 103 or 116 yards, but the shortest it will play in the U.S. Open will be 123 yards – just a sand wedge, assuming players aren’t facing the wind. The 167-yard tee will probably require a 9-iron, maybe an 8, but the hole will be at its most challenging when the 246-yard tee — located on the east side of the No. 12 tee box — is used, especially in combination with a front-right pin placement, where an elbow jutting into the green makes for tricky putts. With no wind, it will be a 4 or 5-iron shot down the hill, with little room to miss. This might be competitors’ favorite hole ...
423 yards Par 4 ... unless it’s this one. The gorgeous and fascinating par-4 16th heads south, paralleling the train tracks that run alongside the Sound. Its posted yardage is 423, meaning a long iron/hybrid followed by a shortish iron will be all players need to reach a relatively small green that slopes from left to right and is considerably narrower at the back than the front. RTJII hinted to Cascade Golfer in April that No. 16 could also be set up some days as a reachable par-4. With the pin tucked into the “thumb” in the back corner (as it almost certainly will be on Sunday), and contenders desperately needing birdie or better deciding to give it all they’ve got, the 16th will provide some of the most exciting action, and loudest gallery roars, of the week. Rob Perry Photography
172-218 yards Par 3 Another fantastic, eye-catching hole hard against the tracks, the par-3 17th also runs north-south – more or less directly into the prevailing wind. From the back tee (out of the frame to the right of this image, along the train tracks), it’s the most difficult par-3 on the course, playing relatively flat and asking competitors to carry a large waste bunker with a fairly straight-faced iron, but with enough spin to stop the ball on the green. From the shorter tee (pictured here), players hit downhill, probably with a 7- or 8-iron. The typically undulating green will throw up four intriguing pin positions and a number of knotty putts. Expect the Sunday pin to be on the shelf on the right side of the green, just beyond the waste bunker. Unless they desperately need a two, most players will be perfectly fine carding a three. Rob Perry Photography
2015 US OPEN
THAT’S SOME FIIIINE FESCUE
ruth be told, there isn’t a bad hole at Chambers Bay. That said, some stand out above the rest. Rather than list our favorites, we asked our followers on Facebook (Cascade Golfer) and Twitter (@CascadeGolfer) for their thoughts. Here’s what they — you — had to say: “Hole 14! While the view from the par-3 9th is excellent, there is nothing like standing at ‘Cape Fear’ with driver in hand. [With] waste as far as the eye can see left and the mounds of no return on the right, it’s hard not to freak out standing over the tee shot. There is nothing like getting into one and watching it sail down to the fairway below. Turns out it’s an easy hole if I can hit it straight. Leave me 100 to the flag and I’ve forgotten how scary it was just a few minutes ago.” — Sam Cameron “No. 9, the downhill par-3, where it feels like the entire course is spread out beneath your feet. Tried dropping a wedge onto that green for years before realizing the smarter play was to punch a five-iron onto the apron and let the steep backboard run the ball to the hole. Can’t wait to see how the pros play it, and how the new lower tee changes things.” — Chuck Tyler “Hole 7, because it is the hardest hole on the course, in my opinion. Although I haven’t played the ‘original’ hole in 2-3 years, due to them having to make it easier for the pros. It is just a scary, long uphill par-4.” — Joshua McCleary “Hole 10; reminds of what it would be like to golf in Scotland.” — Brian Brandes “As a long hitter, I love No. 12, the reachable par-4. It’s uphill, so you have to get a hold of it, but the green is huge. Just making it on, though, is no guarantee of a birdie. I’ve two-putted it, three-putted it and even four-putted it!” — Christopher Lee
Copyright USGA/John Mummert
525-605 yards Par 4/5 The closer will play as a par-5 on the days the first is a par-4, and vice versa. Off the par-5 tee, players must stay between the extended waste bunker to the right and the bunkers on the left. The drive on the par-4 hole is threatened by a diagonal bunker that cuts in from the right at about 290-300 yards. The best drives will finish past the hazards on the left, thus opening up a relatively trouble-free path to the green. In the middle of the fairway though, 120 yards short of the putting surface, is the controversial 12-foot deep bunker Davis conceived. It will only bother players finding sand or rough off the tee and unable to go for the green in two, but TV viewers who have played the course and been in that bunker themselves will be curious to see how their efforts to get the ball out compare with those of the best golfers in the world. The green is certainly large enough to hold a long-iron or even 3-wood approach, but heaves and swells so much no one should comment on the outcome of the shot until the ball comes to a complete halt. It’s an exciting finish that will surely produce great drama.
2015 US OPEN So Who Makes The U.S. Open, Anyway? From Rory McIlroy to Oliver Schneiderjans, the complete guide to qualifying for the biggest event in Northwest golf history By Brian Beaky • CG Editor
ith the hot start that our Home Team golfers had to their 2015 seasons — including a win by Tour rookie and UW alum Nick Taylor (“Top Dawg,” CG, Apr. ‘15) and lofty performances by Ryan Moore and reigning Masters champ Jordan Spieth (whose caddy, Michael Greller, lives in University Place) — we started wondering just how many of our local favorites might wind up with their names on the tee sheet at Chambers Bay? The more we talked about it, though, the more we realized: other than some general assumptions, we really had no idea how U.S. Open qualification actually works. So we looked it up — and it turns out it’s not entirely simple. Here’s the Cliffs Notes version to figuring out which of your favorite players will be in town for the 2015 U.S. Open. The field of 156 players at Chambers Bay will consist of:
• Winners of the U.S. Open over the last 10 years Good news Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Lucas Glover, Tiger Woods, Angel Cabrera, Geoff Ogilvy and Michael Campbell. (Really? Michael Campbell? The Internet says so, and the ‘Net never lies, so it must be true.)
• Winners and runners-up from the previous year’s U.S. and British Amateurs South Korea’s Gunn Yang, Canada’s Corey Conners, Scotland’s Bradley Neil and South Africa’s Zander Lombard are in. If you’re scoring at home, that’s three Americans and 11 foreigners (and that’s assuming Tiger actually plays). And you wonder why the U.S. Open trophy so rarely stays on home soil.
• The previous year’s Mark H. McCormack Medal winner (top-ranked world amateur) Let’s welcome Oliver Schneiderjans of … Georgia! I’ll bet we had you fooled on that one. Impress your friends with your depth of golf knowledge by taking Schneiderjans in your U.S. Open pool. They’ll wonder all week what you know that they don’t, then won’t even notice when he fails to make the cut.
• The last five Masters, British Open and PGA Championship winners Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and our first Home Teamer, Jordan Spieth, are all in — and you have to believe Spieth will have quite the home-field advantage with UP native and former Chambers Bay caddy Michael Greller on his bag. Wondering why that list of potentially 15 major winners only includes 10 names? Just assume all the others were Rory.
• Winners of the last three Players Championships Kaymer (2014) and Woods (2013 — I know, I had already forgotten, too) are already in, so this step only adds Matt Kuchar.
• Winner of the 2015 BMW PGA Championship This was held after CG went to print, but let’s assume it will be Rory. Only because Schneiderjans isn’t eligible, of course.
• Winner of the 2014 U.S. Senior Open Sigh. Rory wins again. Wait, Rory can’t play in the Senior Open? Oh, well then that explains how Colin Montgomerie won a major.
• Top-10 finishers and ties from the 2014 U.S. Open Erik Compton, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Jimmy Walker and Brandt Snedeker join the field.
• Players who qualified for the 2014 Tour Championship Welcome across the velvet rope Billy Horschel, Jim Furyk, Chris Kirk, Ryan Palmer, Sergio Garcia, Gary Woodland, Russell Henley, Bill Haas, Brendon Todd, Kevin Na, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Hunter Mahan, John Senden, Cameron Tringale and whatever the heck a Morgan Hoffman is. If you’re counting, we’re up to a solid 52 players, and potentially 53, pending the results of the BMW Championship. Now’s where things start to get less predictable… Martin Kaymer
• Top-60 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) If you were in the top-60 on June 4 (two weeks before the tournament) or are in as of June 18, you’re in. Most
PLAYERS TO WATCH
lanning to come down to Chambers Bay for a day (or more) of the U.S. Open and want to see the 2015 champ in action? Throwing a few bucks in a pool with your buddies? Just want to follow someone who won’t give fans the cold shoulder? Here are the players we’d tag around with any day: RORY MCILROY — 26 • Northern Ireland Duh.
previous steps have focused on performance at majors and on the PGA TOUR. This is where we start to dump in all the top foreign players that only turn up in the U.S. for the big events — players like Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Thomas Bjorn, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Marc Leishman, Stephen Gallacher, Joost Luiten, Thongchai Jaidee, Branden Grace, Shane Lowry, Paul Casey and a handful of others, along with the top Americans who haven’t met any of the previous qualifications — a list which currently includes J.B. Holmes, Matt Every, Ben Martin, Charley Hoffman and our very own Ryan Moore. While the top-60 is obviously an ever-changing list, Moore currently sits 32nd, and hasn’t finished outside the top-60 in the OWGR since 2009. Barring injury, he’s in, and will no doubt have a large contingent rolling over from The Classic to cheer him on (a contingent, I’d add, that might be some of the only people happy with the USGA’s decision to stage parking out of the Puyallup Fairgrounds).
• Special exemptions selected by the USGA This is a bit of a mysterious category, as the USGA can grant special exemptions to whomever it pleases. It hasn’t been used since 2010 at Pebble Beach, when exemptions were given to both Vijay Singh, whose season had been curtailed to that point by injury, and Tom Watson, whose victory in the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach was one of the greatest moments in golf history. With no obvious injured stars and no history at Chambers Bay to repeat, there seems to be only one possible candidate for a special exemption in 2015 ... a local hero and national fan favorite who honed his craft on a municipal course, making him the perfect ambassador for this U.S. Open, just the fourth ever held at a true muni. Maybe if we start the chanting now, the USGA will hear us in their offices all the way in New Jersey ... “Fred-die! Fred-die! Fred-die!”
• Local and sectional qualifiers In total, we’ve filled only about half the field through exemptions — and of our Home Teamers, only Jordan Spieth and Ryan Moore can firmly book their flights. That leaves the other half of the field to be filled through the dream of every scratch golfer and club pro in America, and the bane of every PGA TOUR player not already on this list — U.S. Open qualifying. That process began in May with 111 local qualifiers in 43 states — including a few right here in the Northwest. Local qualifiers are limited to club pros and amateurs with a handicap no higher than 1.4, so it’s not for just any hack. It does, however, give anyone in America who is good enough the chance to tee it up alongside the greatest players in the game at our national championship — who says democracy is dead? Players who advanced from local qualifying moved on to sectional qualifying, held at 10 different sites around the country on June 8, 10 days before the big event (including one locally, at Suncadia’s Tumble Creek Golf Club). This is where the non-exempt PGA TOUR players typically join the field — you could be paired alongside John Daly, Steve Stricker or Padraig Harrington at a sectional qualifier, each of you competing for one of those 80 or so remaining spots in the U.S. Open field. If Home Teamers like Michael Putnam, Andrew Putnam, Andres Gonzales, Nick Taylor, Kyle Stanley, Alex Prugh or Richard Lee are going to make the field, we likely won’t know until those 36 holes are finished on June 8. Last year, 24 local qualifiers advanced past the sectional stage and into the field of 156 at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, each of them dreaming of being the next Ken Venturi (1964) or Orville Moody (1969), local qualifiers who ultimately hoisted the U.S. Open trophy.
MARTIN KAYMER — 30 • Germany The 30-year-old German led last year’s Open from wire to wire, proving he has what it takes to win the game’s toughest test. What’s more, this year’s Open being on a true links course should favor the European players, who are more familiar with that style of play. JORDAN SPIETH — 21 • United States Not only will Spieth be the only player in the field who has already won a USGA event in the Puget Sound region (having claimed the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur at Gold Mountain), and one of the very few with competitive experience at Chambers Bay (in the 2010 U.S. Amateur), he’ll also have the only caddy with hundreds of rounds of experience looping at Chambers Bay. Michael Greller was a sixthgrade teacher in University Place and a Chambers Bay caddy on the side when he carried Spieth’s bag that weekend at Gold Mountain (“Higher Learning,” CG, Aug. ‘14). The rest, as they say, is history ... though this history is still being made. BRANDT SNEDEKER — 34 • United States There are few golfers more pleasant to spend a day with than Sned. Not only is he a great role model for young players with his professionalism and demeanor, he’s one of the most likely players to stop and chat with fans or sign autographs after his round, or during a long wait. PATRICK REED — 24 • United States Looking to make a pick a little more off the beaten path? Sure, Patrick Reed is flying high in the FedEx Cup standings in 2015, but he’s still hardly a household name, even among golf fans. He is, however, one of just a handful of golfers with experience at Chambers Bay, having made the Round of 32 at the 2010 U.S. Amateur.
So that’s it — 156 players comprised of roughly half the names above (only 70 of which were Rory McIlroy) and half local and sectional qualifiers. Just reading this list has us excited already — now, we just need to figure out how to fit Schneiderjans on the back of our “12” jersey, and we’ll be all ready to go. Jordan Spieth CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
A Major High
Congratulations, you’ve hosted your first major championship ... NOW WHAT?
o much technical analysis has taken place — so many logistics, time horizons, extrapolations, projections, predictions and propositions, all to discern this region’s residual economic benefit from the U.S. Open, June 18-21 at Chambers Bay. Perhaps its impact can best be summed up with one highly technical term: humongous. There simply is no comparison. Nothing previously in the history of the region has been staged on such a massive scale within such a short time frame. Could this be the biggest financial event in the history of Pierce County? “Absolutely. Unquestionably,” Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy says. “I would even go further. It’s probably the biggest singular financial event ever in the state of Washington.” Tom Norwalk, President and CEO of Visit Seattle, the arm of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, doesn’t shoot that lofty notion down. “Yes, it could be. I’m not sure we’ve had many events that come close to this,” he says. “We want to compete for a Super Bowl here one day. That would be the only thing right up there.” Will more revenue be generated in one week at the University Place facility than that once productive gravel mine rendered in an entire century? “That is also true,” McCarthy says. “This has never happened before in the Pacific Northwest.” So, how much are we talking about? The working number is roughly $140 million. For all the extensive research and simulated economic models, it’s not an exact science, and some estimates range as high as $200 million. One thing is for sure, money will flow. “[That] $140 million [is] merchandise, hotels,
By Bob Sherwin restaurants and rental cars, among other things,” McCarthy says. “That’s based on a study after Torrey Pines (2008 U.S. Open).” There are other studies that reach beyond that figure. The North Carolina Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated that Pinehurst, which held the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens on successive weeks last year, generated $169 million. That report even broke down the revenue sources: lodging (41 percent), food and beverage (25 percent), retail purchases (14 percent), recreation/golf (12 percent), transportation (five percent) and other (three percent). John Ladenburg, the former Pierce County Executive, said Pinehurst’s back-to-back Opens “were estimated by the local convention bureau to have an impact of $238 million. The USGA typically estimates an economic impact of the men’s Open at $170 million. I think this one will be the best ever due to higher interest and I believe this will end up in the $200 million range.” Ladenburg was instrumental in pushing for the 950-acre Chambers site to become a world-class links golf facility, and says the merchandise tent “will be 44,000-square feet, more than a football field and a half. There will be another 10,000-square foot tent at the other end. They will generate $20 million in sales. That’s enough to provide half of University Place’s budget for the year.” He compares it to hosting four consecutive Super Bowls in one week, and says all the local economies will feel the love. “Our tax system is better here since we do not have a state income tax,” he says. “We have a high sales tax for hotels, rental cars. Of that (taxes), half will go to the
state. And about a third of the second half will go to King County. Next would be Pierce County, but Thurston, Kitsap and Snohomish will all receive multi-millions.’’ With that kind of impact, why did it take 115 years to get one of these U.S. Open championships in the Northwest? It wasn’t until the late 1990s that a handful of elected officials and local entrepreneurs, staring at a degraded gravel pit on the shores of the Puget Sound, had the vision for a world-class course that would challenge the world’s best golfers. Ladenburg said the property was never going to be “just another golf course. What if we could build a professional golf course that could hold a major tournament? Then we could use it as an economic tool like other areas in Nevada, Arizona, the Carolinas and Florida. Build it to attract tourism. Why can’t we do that?” They did, despite many who said they can’t or shouldn’t. Ladenburg and the others who drove that vision were lambasted for the folly of thinking big. It didn’t help their cause when the Pierce County Council kept transferring millions annually to cover the debt on the more than $25 million to develop the facility – during the toughest stages of the recession. It wasn’t until last year that the eight-yearold course finally turned a profit. Throughout that rough ride back to the black, Chambers Bay had two heavyweights to help the besieged local supporters. One was Robert Trent Jones, Jr., the renowned golf course architect, whose team fashioned an inspired links course along the Puget Sound. The other was Mike Davis, the executive director of the United States Golf Association (USGA), who enthusiastically climbed aboard before the first shovel was turned. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
2015 US OPEN It was Davis, just nine months after Chambers Bay opened in 2007, who announced that the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the 2015 U.S. Open would be held there. Now here we are, just weeks from vision confronting reality. “The heads of all the major corporations will be here — Rolex, American Express, NASDAQ,” Ladenburg says. “Coke will have three planes fly here from Atlanta with their executives. When they’re talking about where to put new plants, they can look at Seattle/Tacoma and say, ‘I’ve been there. Let’s look at that.’ Suddenly, we’re on the map. That helps economic development.” Norwalk said his Visit Seattle team will take a proactive approach. “The invitation is out,” he says. “This is our chance to use this to our best advantage. We can show off the area to our best customers and meeting planners from around the world and have them join us during that week. It will put us on the map. We’ll have a global spotlight on us. It’s a rare and spectacular opportunity.” In addition to the revenues earned during the week, a major tournament historically casts pre- and postshadows on the home region. Chambers Bay already has seen an increase of out-of-state players — 3,200 last year — who came here to experience the course in the same way as the professionals. Based on patterns of other U.S. Open host courses, that post-shadow will continue with vigor for at least another two years. “Our bookings each year have steadily increased,” says John Morrissett, chief marketing director for Erin Hills, the 9-year-old Wisconsin golf course that will host the 2017 U.S. Open. “We don’t open until May 11 but half our tee times and 70 percent of our lodging is already booked.” He said he’s aware of the post-shadow and “we’re hoping and planning for it.” Even the oldest course in the world, Scotland’s St. Andrews’ Old Course, which has held the British Open Championship 28 times, follows the same pattern. St. Andrews will host the Open for the 29th time in July and, because of that renewed exposure, the course has been inundated again with increased bookings for the foreseeable future. “We actually did a fair amount of research on that,” says David Hein, VP of Sales and Business Development for Oki Golf, which controls 11 golf facilities in the Puget Sound region. “When the Open comes to the area, what happens to third-party tour planners? What’s going on, what can we expect and how can we benefit?” He said Oki’s courses already have booked more than 1,000 rounds for the three weeks before, during and after the Open — many at Washington National and Trophy Lake, two public courses in close proximity to Chambers Bay. “I think it’s going to be a boost for us,” Hein says. Make no mistake — if the U.S. Open at Chambers shows well and is successful, it will significantly alter the local landscape. Chambers Bay will become the centerpiece for “buddy golf trips.” Seattle/Tacoma suddenly will be a golf destination where groups can also play nearby courses such as Gold Mountain, McCormick Woods, The Home Course or Trophy Lake. Hein says his company is developing an Oki Golf Trail to facilitate destination trips. CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
“The heads of all the major corporations will be here — Rolex, American Express, NASDAQ, Coke,” says former Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg. “When they’re talking about where to put new plants, they can look at Seattle/ Tacoma and say, ‘I’ve been there.’ Suddenly, we’re on the map.” “We expect a lot of out-of-area golfers coming in from Canada, Oregon, buddies coming in,’’ Hein says. “Some of that might be Joe from Florida and a little bit of international play, from Asia. There are non-stops from Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai.” That not merely benefits local courses, but also hotels, rental-car agencies, restaurants and tourist sites. A major contributing factor is that Chambers is a public course and accessible for the average “buddy,” much like Erin Hills, Torrey Pines, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black and Whistling Straits, among others that have recently hosted, or will soon host, major championships. None are cheap, but unlike Augusta National or Pinehurst, any golfer can book a tee time. “When people see those TV shots of the Sound and the (mountain) backdrop, that boosts the reputation
of the Northwest,” Hein says. “They could go and play Pebble and pay $500- or $600-plus, or come here and pay maybe $200, and spend $1,000 or $1,200 for the whole week. They’d like that deal.” How this region rakes the benefit of the post-shadow after those four days in June depends much on what the world sees. FOX Sports inaugurates its new golf television package with Chambers. More than 45 million people will watch it in 118 countries. The network will have 1,100 people working the event, and a brand-new team of broadcasters that includes Greg Norman. “They’re huge. They’re like ESPN. They know what they are doing,” Ladenburg says. “They’ll want to go over the top because they are new to the game and they know people will judge them on this U.S. Open. They’ll do a good job of showcasing this.” The USGA generates just about all of its operating revenues from the U.S. Open Championship, so it’s in their best interest to attract as many eyeballs as possible. Local planners and promoters, however, are most interested in impressing the USGA themselves, and specifically Mike Davis. Chambers Bay folks want to be in the rotation for another Open, sometime in the next 10-12 years. There will be 2,200 credentialed media members and nearly 40,000 spectators a day who will pass on their evaluations of Chambers Bay and the region. This area will be exposed in a fashion not seen previously. No more isolation in the Northwest. Our little secret up here will be out there for all to witness. This is the big time. This is going to be ... well ... humongous.
High Desert Hideaways Escape the crush of golf fans streaming in for the U.S. Open with a week down south in our favorite Northwest golf destination
BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
aybe you waited too long and don’t have a ticket. Maybe you’re not looking forward to the idea of sharing our streets and highways with thousands of extra cars for seven days. Or maybe you are one of the lucky ones attending the U.S. Open, but think a nice, relaxing week of solitude is going to sound pretty darn sweet when it’s all said and done. Whatever the reason, a little Northwest getaway might be just what you need. Since the days of Lewis and Clark, Americans have been heading to Oregon in search of a place to pitch their tent — whether for a week, or for a lifetime. These days, most visitors head one of two ways — either to the coast, and the likes of Seaside, Newport and Bandon, or to the high-desert plains of Central Oregon. From Madras in the north to La Pine in the south, the three-county region is home to just 200,000 permanent residents, but swells to over 2.2 million each year as vacationers travel from across the world to ski the slopes of Mount Bachelor, hike and bike hundreds of miles of scenic trails, raft down the Deschutes River and, of course, tee it up at over 30 championship golf courses, including some of the most talked-about tracks in the entire United States. Yeah, we could handle spending U.S. Open week in a place like that. Most of the action is centered around the towns of Sisters, Bend and Redmond, each boasting its own premier destination resort, with a variety of amenities. Sisters is the westernmost of the three, tucked in the shadow of Faith, Hope and Charity, the “Three Sisters” Mountains that give the city its name. Founded as a military post in 1865, the area was ultimately settled by ranchers and homesteaders whose influence is still felt throughout the region, and is particularly strong at the Black Butte Ranch resort. A former horse and cattle ranch itself, Black Butte Ranch (blackbutteranch.com, 866-901-2961) remains firmly committed to an outdoor lifestyle. Fly-fishing, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, rock climbing, cave exploring and whitewater rafting are all on the resort agenda, as are hiking and biking the more than 18 miles of paved trails on the resort property, or the
Crosswater at Sunriver • Sunriver, Ore.
surrounding 1.6 million-acre Deschutes National Forest. There’s also plenty for the less adventurous, including a full-service day spa, retail shops and multiple restaurants at all levels of service. A brand-new pool complex — the resort’s fifth, including both family-friendly pools and quieter locales — is planned to open this spring as well, just in time for U.S. Open week. In fact, thousands of guests visit Black Butte Ranch each year and never so much as set foot on a golf course. Those that do, though, enjoy the benefits of two of Oregon’s top-rated tracks. Big Meadow was the first to be built, and one of the first in the entire region. Architect Robert Muir Graves wound the course through the thick firs that surround the resort property in 1970, working with local designer and Northwest legend Bunny Mason. It’s a classic Northwest resort course — that is to say, it’s not overly penal, yet at the same time there’s no avoiding the hundreds of thousands of pine and aspen that line the fairways, or the fairway bunkers strategically placed to squeeze the landing areas of longer hitters. In fact, a yardage book makes an excellent investment for first-time players — from the distances to those pesky bunkers, to doglegs and player-friendly landing areas, a little local knowledge will go a long way. Be sure to save your camera battery for the elevated tee shot at the par-4 14th — there’s almost certainly no more famous shot in all of Central Oregon golf than the view of Three-Fingered Jack rising high above the aspens behind the green. Snap your pic, then go make bird. The newer of Black Butte’s courses is Glaze Meadow, built by Mason in 1980 and overhauled by Oregon native John Fought in 2012. Fought’s efforts focused primarily on building new greens and tees — including the addition of five sets of tees to give golfers more options — as well as the removal of several older trees whose growth had started to alter the way Mason’s holes were originally intended to be played. In addition, Fought restored the natural wetlands that line holes two through five, and opened up the green aprons, increasing the number of ways in which golfers can attack each hole. The effort has been lauded by players and reviewers alike, earning the
honor of America’s “Renovation of the Year” from Golf Inc. magazine and shooting Glaze Meadow into the top-10 of Golf.com’s annual state-by-state public course rankings. Guests at Black Butte Ranch can choose from a variety of vacation homes and condos, ranging from private lodge rooms to five-bedroom luxury homes, each with its own range of amenities. Unlimited golf packages start at just $139 per person per night, and include a night’s stay plus unlimited golf for two on either of the resort’s courses (check the website for current offers). With greens fees topping out at $77 in peak summer hours, play just one round, and you’re already essentially staying for free.
hen Mason first suggested building golf courses in Central Oregon, nearly everyone laughed. Everyone except developers John Grey and Donald McCullum, who instead made plans for an all-new destination resort just south of Bend, at the time a sleepy country town with just 12,000 permanent residents. Their resort — Sunriver (sunriverresort.com, 800-801-8765) — became the first to open in the region in 1968, and has remained one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier vacation destinations ever since. The Meadows course, also almost completely redesigned by Fought, in 1999, was the first Central Oregon course to open to the public in 1968, and immediately gave golfers a taste of what the region could one day be. Routed through open wetlands and dense pines, the Meadows is the “easiest” of the three courses at Sunriver, though that comes with a couple of big quotation marks — a slope of 134 from the white tees is plenty high, but we’d argue the course plays easier than the scorecard might indicate. The Woodlands, built in 1981 by man-of-the-hour Robert Trent Jones, Jr. (who would later return to the Northwest to design Chambers Bay in 2007), is tighter, longer and more challenging, yet still loads of fun. Like the symphony that Jones described in April’s Cascade Golfer (“Bobby’s Opus,” Apr. ‘15), the course builds steadily to a crescendo at the par-5 ninth, a 372-yard, par-4 on the scorecard, but a reachable par-4 for anyone brave enough CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
Glaze Meadow at Black Butte Ranch Sisters, Ore.
to take aim over a large pond and attempt the 275-yard drive to a peninsula green. The course was originally designed with the nines reversed, and it’s easy to see Jones’ vision in what would make a fantastic finishing hole, akin to the reachable 18th at Gold Mountain (Olympic). The new routing, though, helps traffic flow more quickly around the course, and a speedier round is certainly nothing to complain about. The jewel in the Sunriver crown, however, is Crosswater, not only one of Oregon’s top public tracks, but one of the best in the entire country — Golf Digest named it No. 51 in its 2015 list of America’s Top Public Courses, alongside tracks like Pinehurst No. 2, Pebble Beach and all four courses at Bandon Dunes. At first glance, the course appears more open than its two Sunriver siblings, and it’s true — you’ll see far fewer trees at Crosswater than at either the Meadows or Woodlands courses. Water, though,
O is a constant hazard — the course takes its name from its routing, which crosses the Deschutes and Little Deschutes rivers a total of seven times over its impeccably manicured 18 holes. From the 7,600-yard back tees (not a misprint), crushing the driver is paramount, but from the middle tees, pure distance isn’t nearly as necessary as distance control — the ability to avoid the many hazards that line the holes and choose the wisest path from tee to green. Like at Black Butte Ranch, the courses are merely one aspect of a full-service resort getaway, including the region’s No. 1 family pool complex — the SHARC aquatic center, with multiple pools, hot tubs, waterslides and other activities — plus a brand-new resort pool area, spa, horseback riding, river rafting, hiking and biking, numerous shops and restaurants, and a state-of-the-art observatory featuring one of the largest telescopes in the continental U.S.
WIN A CENTRAL OREGON GOLF GETAWAY!
ur friends at Black Butte Ranch don’t want you to miss out on the chance to enjoy all their region has to offer. They’re giving you the chance to enjoy stunning Cascade mountain views and incredible golf with a package including two nights’ accommodations in a Black Butte Ranch condo and two rounds of spectacular mountain golf for two, including cart and range balls! Enjoy Big Meadow, the recently renovated Glaze Meadow, or both! After your round, take advantage of resort amenities including restaurants, indoor & outdoor pools, horseback riding, a day spa, miles of biking trails and more. Enter to win today at cascadegolfer.com!
Aspen Lakes Golf Course • Sisters, Ore. Aspen Lakes Golf Course • Sisters, Ore.
Sunriver also offers lodging to match any size party or budget, from one-bedroom lodge rooms to expansive luxury homes. Packages start as low as $79 per person at off-peak times for a night’s stay and unlimited golf at the Meadows and Woodlands courses, plus one round per day at Crosswater (including, as an added bonus, both your arrival and departure days). Check sunriver-resort.com to see what packages are available before you book your trip.
f course, just because you can play all day at both Black Butte Ranch and Sunriver doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Just a short drive from either resort are a number of other highly acclaimed tracks, including Tetherow, Brasada Ranch, Pronghorn, Eagle Crest, Widgi Creek and many more. If we only had time to leave the resort to hit one additional course, though, it would probably be Aspen Lakes. Just a hop, skip and a jump from Black Butte Ranch, Aspen Lakes (aspenlakes.com, 541-549-4653) is not only one of the region’s most scenic courses, but also one of its most affordable. A peak greens fee of just $75 — on a prime summer weekend, dropping as low as $20 at offpeak times — is a bargain compared to the triple digits many of the other top courses that are not associated with a resort demand. And it’s no slouch, either, with just about everything a golfer could want from a round — reachable par-4s and others you practically feel you need to go driver-driver to hit, par-5s under 500 yards and others approaching 600, fun and challenging par-3s and a variety of holes that will demand every shot in your bag — draws, fades, bump-and-run approaches and perfectly placed wedge shots. It’s as fun a round as you’ll find in the region; in future years, when a friend says they’re going to Central Oregon and asks which courses to play, it’s the one you’ll be certain to recommend.
ifty years ago, the idea of Central Oregon as a destination golf region seemed like a joke. Today, it’s a gem. And just in case you are planning to take that trip during U.S. Open week, to avoid the massive crowds flowing into the Puget Sound area? Just about every room at both Black Butte Ranch and Sunriver is wired into cable or satellite, meaning you won’t have to miss a minute of the action back home.
SAVE SOME GREEN THE OTHER GUYS BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
ver the next few weeks, more than 200,000 golfers and golf aficionados will pass through University Place, more than doubling the suburban city’s population on every single day of 2015 U.S. Open week. They’ll all be there to see Chambers Bay — but only 156 of those 200,000-plus will actually have the chance to play it. There’s good news, though, for the other 199,844 — Chambers Bay is hardly south Tacoma’s only quality golf venue. While it may be the only one with the USGA’s biggest championship to its name, there are in fact more than a dozen public courses within a short drive of the Chambers Bay grounds, eager to accept any golfers who find their itch aroused by a day walking the grounds. Watching Rory hole out for eagle is great, but at the end of the day, playing golf is still a heck of a lot more fun than watching it. Here are some local tracks where you can scratch your golf itch this month.
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Meadow Park G.C • Tacoma
Meadow Park Golf Course TACOMA
Puget Sound residents are blessed with some outstanding municipal courses. Having lived in multiple states, this writer can attest that such is not always the case — but between Seattle’s Jackson Park, Jefferson Park and West Seattle, and Everett’s Legion Memorial and Lynnwood G.C., residents on the north end of the Sound have long had a multitude of quality, affordable civic options. Well, put Tacoma on the list, too. The City of Tacoma operates Meadow Park Golf Course in Lakewood, which — like its Seattle municipal counterparts — boasts some of the most visually appealing holes and well-groomed layouts of any South Sound public course. Nearly all of the course’s 27 holes — including a 6,145-yard, 18-hole championship course and a par-29 nine-hole executive course — are surrounded on both sides by towering evergreens, giving the feeling of privacy in the middle of a bustling economic neighborhood. At 560, 538 and 477 yards, Meadow Park’s three par-5s play true to the scorecard, with the shortest — the 477-yard 16th — protected short of the green by both water and sand, allowing only the most daring hitters to try to reach the green in two. And that’s no accident — every hole on the course has been carefully designed to craft an experience that will reward the cerebral golfer … with its tight fairways and fast greens, this isn’t the course to play if you just like to let it fly on every swing. Heck, even the par-3s are tight — Meadow Park’s 13th might well be the tightest par-3 in the state (yes, I’m including you, island green 17th at Echo Falls), with a tee box set back into a chute of trees and a
tiny green with a ravine in front and bunkers and trees on all other sides. It’s only 121 yards from the whites and 149 from the blues, but the brush is so thick off the tee box that a golfer can become easily intimidated. Not that we ever do, of course (looks around nervously). It’s little wonder that PGA TOUR pros like Andres Gonzales, Troy Kelly, Michael Putnam and Andrew Putnam often tee it up at Meadow Park between weeks on Tour. Even with a tipped-out distance of just 6,164 yards, there’s plenty to challenge their games, while a straight-shooter should have no trouble posting a good number. In addition to a terrific round of golf, Meadow Park also boasts a number of special programs for golfers young and old. The course became one of the first in the Northwest to add FootGolf to its lineup in 2014, building 18 holes of FootGolf — a combination of soccer and golf that is exploding in popularity across America — on its par-3 course, and offers one of the region’s top junior golf programs, including lessons, camps and leagues. Visit their website for more information on any of these programs, or better yet, drive on over and check it out for yourself.
YARDAGE (PAR) 3,852-6,164 (71) RATES $16-$36 TEL (253) 473-3033 WEB metroparkstacoma.org/meadow park-golf-course/ * See website for current rates CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
RMG Club at Oakbrook • Lakewood
RMG Club at Oakbrook LAKEWOOD
It’s been just over three years since Ryan Moore launched The RMG Club, an ambitious plan to merge operations of three Northwest courses — The Classic, McCormick Woods and Oakbrook Country Club — and give players the option to become “members” of one course for as little as $59 a month, or all three for as little as $179 a month. While the results have been strong for players at all three tracks, no course has seen as significant a change as Oakbrook, which went from a private club exclusive only to members and guests, to a public course now frequented by locals and RMG Club members from throughout the south Sound region. Tucked into the trees just a few miles south of Chambers Bay, between University Place and Steilacoom, the rechristened RMG Club at Oakbrook can be tricky to find as you navigate through the dense warren of homes that formerly concealed the course from prying eyes. Between the homes, the trees that separate them from the playing surface, the length — 6,300 yards from the white tees and nearly 6,700 from the blues — and the constant doglegs and tightly squeezed fairways, it is as tight and challenging as you’d expect from a Northwest private track, and a strong test for players of any skill level. Not surprisingly, given the pedigree of its fellow RMG clubs, Oakbrook is famous for its greens, which remain in peak-season condition long after many of its neighbors have descended into the hit-or-miss stages of the year. Firm and fast, they’re a pleasure to putt on, even if their speed adds an extra layer of challenge to an already tricky circuit. Whether playing it in the morning before the leaders tee off at the U.S. Open, or on a casual weekend this summer with friends, it’s worth the visit for any golfer on the south end. With variable rates that peak around $59 depending on the day, it’s a good value — and if you put that $59 towards an RMG Club membership, it’s a deal that truly can’t be beat.
YARDAGE (PAR) 5,042-6,680 (71/72) RATES $35-$59 TEL (253) 584-8770 WEB oakbrookgolfclub.com * See website for current rates CASCADEGOLFERDEALS.com
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Bottoms Up By Andres Gonzales Special to CG EDITOR’S NOTE: With the U.S. Open coming to Chambers Bay this month, we’re planning to spend a fair bit of time in Pierce County’s local eateries. But which ones? To help answer that question, we reached out to the man who knows Pierce County’s golf courses, restaurants and pubs better than anyone else we know — PGA TOUR star, brand-new father and Lakewood resident Andres Gonzales. Andres, where’s the party?
olf and drinking typically go hand in hand. I have a hard time recalling the last time I played a casual round of golf (that is, not in a tournament) without holding some sort of adult beverage. So, with our national championship coming to town later this month, and thousands of people flooding in to take over our quaint community, I thought I’d share some of my favorite local watering holes. Hit these places before or after your day at Chambers Bay this June, or just hang out and enjoy the action over a pint or libation.
FOLEY’S ON THE GREEN
TOPSIDE BAR AND GRILL
This is my go-to spot. Foley’s is the bar at Meadow Park Golf Course, close to home and a place that my friends and I frequent. The bar/comfort food is second to none. I like to brag about “The Andres,” voted the No. 1 pastrami sandwich in the Puget Sound region and named after yours truly. Both owners are avid golfers, so you can be sure to arrange a golf game. Foley’s has fair prices on drinks and there is definitely no shortage of televisions, so you won’t miss a minute of the action.
Topside is the closest of these locations to Chambers Bay. With a rotating selection of beers on tap, you never know what to expect. Topside has great food as well; my wife and I frequent it for dinner as well as drinks. The biggest attraction about this place … its rooftop patio! The patio overlooks Puget Sound and you can even see Chambers Bay from the deck. Topside is a great spot to hit up when heading to or from the championship.
7108 Lakewood Dr W Tacoma 98499
313 N I St #1 Tacoma 98403 Created out of an old house on I St., this is the closest to a pub on my list. It definitely has the best beer selection, for the craft beer connoisseur. With small bites to share, the front of this bar has a real Pacific Northwest feel. Parkway draws a great crowd that likes to play bar games as well; shuffleboard and pool can both be found in the back. This is a great homey-feeling place to go and enjoy an array of pints.
215 Wilkes St Steilacoom 98388
721 Pacific Ave Tacoma 98402 This is a great Mexican restaurant located in the heart of downtown Tacoma. The Matador has a large beer selection and an even larger selection of tequilas. It has a nice take on modern Mexican food and can really get hopping with a fun atmosphere once the dinner crowd starts to filter out. Being in the heart of downtown, this will be a happening spot and a likely place to see a pro having an after-round drink.
2810 6th Ave Tacoma 98406 This is a great Argentine restaurant, found on 6th St. Asado’s main attraction is the food, but the cocktail selection definitely doesn’t hurt. The main floor opens to the outside, so in June, this will be an incredible venue to hangout after a round. All the food is fantastic, and if you go here, please take my suggestion and get the Diablo Martini. It’s worth the trip. 58
These are places that I suggest checking out. I would not steer you in the wrong direction! I hope to be playing in the U.S. Open this year, but if not, you can for sure count on seeing me at any one of these hot spots. Have fun, enjoy, and we will see you at Chambers Bay!
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Rough day on the greens? Improve your game and go for the ‘green’ at Muckleshoot Casino, just a short drive down Highway 18 in Auburn. Try your swing at over 3,100 video gaming machines and over 100 table games in the State’s largest casino and non-smoking Poker room. With over 40,000 square feet of non-smoking gaming space and 8 above par restaurants ranging from Asian cuisine to buffet-style to classic American burgers and beer, Muckleshoot Casino is an ace of a place. Muckleshoot Casino, the Biggest and Best in the Northwest! Limit one offer per person. Coupon must be surrendered upon redemption. Must be 21 years of age or older to redeem. Must be a Players Club member to participate. Free Play may not be available on all machines. Please see Players Club for Free Play limitations and details. Management reserves all rights.