The U.S. Open – It Is Coming Like a Freight Train

By Larry Gilhuly, director, Northwest Region
November 28, 2012

2015 may be several years away, but for one golf course in the Northwest Region it feels like it is just around the corner. Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., will become the first in the Pacific Northwest to host the U.S. Open. To ready the course there have been numerous changes since the completion of the 2010 U.S. Amateur. The combined efforts of the USGA, Pierce County, Kemper Sports and the architectural firm of Robert Trent Jones II are finally reaching the completion of on-course renovations. And what renovations they are! Here is a sneak peek at the final three projects being completed by the end of this month.

 11-18-12 Pic1

Like a freight train, the 2015 U.S. Open is right around the corner for Chambers Bay.

Tee No. 1 – The first hole is normally a par 4 that was lengthened for the 2010 U. S. Amateur to over 500 yards. However, this hole played relatively short (hard to believe!) due to a downhill ridge in the fairway that catapulted balls forward when players reached it in the air from the tee. To add variety to the course, a new tee was added to stretch the hole into a highly versatile par-5 measuring 550 to 585 yards. Under the skill of shaper Mr. Ed Tanno this new tee will no longer allow players to reach this springboard fairway ridge with their tee shots and now brings a very large bunker into play on the hole’s right side for players in the U.S. Open. And don’t be surprised if the par for the course changes during the competition!

Tee No. 9 – During the U.S. Amateur this highly elevated par-3 resulted in a large portion of the green being unused. To address this issue and completely change the hole’s angle and play while improving spectator and player flow, a new tee complex was added near the current practice tee. This new angle provides a hole ranging from 185 to 225 yards that plays slightly uphill! Consider that the hole plays into prevailing winds and the green contains multiple large mounds, accuracy from the tee will be at a premium for this formidable par-3.

 11-28-12 pic2
 View of newly added tee on hole No. 9.

Hole No. 8 Green/Approach – During and after the 2010 U.S. Amateur, virtually every ball hit short of green No. 8 ended up on the right side. The problem became so bad that balls were rolling off the playing surface onto a severe bank and adjoining path. Since the slope on the left was so severe and most golf balls were rolling over the bank into a 25-yard wide area, the earthwork process of moving soil from the left to the right side of the hole has begun. As was done earlier this year on holes Nos. 1, 7 and 13, needed changes will result in a far more playable fescue surface.

As a final comment on the preparation for the 2015 U.S. Open, fescue turf conditions have dramatically improved through the year despite the ongoing advancement of Poa annua onto the putting surfaces. A trial using methiozolin is currently being conducted on the practice green with very positive results reported by Mr. Josh Lewis, golf course superintendent.

 11-28-12 pic3

Based on his observations, all Poa annua plants in the trial showed severe decline beginning with the plant’s crown (or growing point) and moving outward (see photo), rather than from new leaves moving inward. The results from three applications spaced two weeks apart starting in October have been very positive with no discoloration viewed on the fescue at the normal 0.6 oz. per 1,000 square feet rate. The double rate resulted in minor fescue discoloration with the same results on Poa annua as the normal rate. Stay tuned for more on this topic in the future.

Larry Gilhuly and Derf Soller are available to visit your golf course, but they won’t run over you like a freight train! For information concerning the Turf Advisory Service contact Larry at lgilhuly@usga.org or Derf at dsoller@usga.org.

 

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image