UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — When it was awarded the 2015 U.S. Open, Chambers Bay was a mystery. The U.S. Golf Association believed in the land, a sandy site built atop a former quarry on the Puget Sound near Tacoma.
The U.S. Amateur came last year to the 2007 Robert Trent Jones II design with the understanding that changes would be needed before the links gem could host the national championship.
Now, Pierce County taxpayers, who own Chambers Bay, are ready to make the changes contractually agreed upon with the USGA.
“The USGA will be a big, big participant, but I honestly cannot begin to tell you what that means,” said Mike Davis, the USGA’s executive director, regarding the financial amount to be committed to bringing Chambers Bay up to Open standards. “We knew we would need certain things done and they would need certain things, and that was truly part of the agreement.”
Chambers Bay, which opened in 2007, loses money annually and isn’t expected to be profitable before 2014, according to a report earlier this year in the Tacoma News Tribune.
USGA officials and Chambers Bay representatives scheduled a conference call for this week to discuss the proposed changes. Foremost among them: Redo the greens at Nos. 1, 7 and 13. Temporary greens might be used during the construction.
Another improvement with an eye toward the Open would be to expand infrastructure to allow for better movement of fans and equipment.
Chambers Bay’s lack of a clubhouse, though scrutinized publicly, is of little concern to the USGA, Davis said.
“You look at Shinnecock Hills, which basically, for all intents and purposes, didn’t have a clubhouse,” Davis said of a favorite Open site, which most recently hosted the 2004 event. “At Pebble Beach (the 2010 Open site), we created a player locker room. This is a complete nonissue. Now don’t get me wrong. You’ve got a Congressional clubhouse that big. Is it nice? Sure, it’s nice. But we don’t need a clubhouse.”