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they nestle between an amphitheater of cozy dunes. And sometimes you don’t have to aim for the green at all. “There are probably a dozen

greens out there that have hole loca- tions where you have to hit it outside the green to get it close,” Charlton said. “The U.S. Amateur guys got it when they played in 2010. The guys that kept playing and advancing further and further into match play started realizing all the shots that are out there. “It’s going to be fun watching the

best players in the world discover all these backboards and kicker slopes.” And there is so much to discover at Chambers Bay. The 2015 U.S. Open will be tournament golf ’s Lewis and Clark Expedition. Players drive into the uncharted

right away at Chambers Bay. The par for the course will drop to 70 all four rounds, but the par for Nos. 1 and 18 will actually oscillate between 4 and 5. For example, if No. 1 is set up as a

par 5, No. 18 will alternately play as a par 4. If No. 1 is a par 4, No. 18 will shift back to a par 5. The holes are so versatile (they each play as par 5s for the public) that they offer differ- ent challenges from varying yardages,

both on the tee, and for long and short approaches. One late twist that was added to

No. 18 is a deep crevice of a bunker known as “Chambers Basement” – a 13-yard long booby trap positioned diagonally across in the middle of the fairway, 120 yards out from the green. It’s 10 feet deep, and barely wide enough to take a stance. “It’s a coffin and then some,” Gil-

huly said. “You can get out of it with an 8-iron.” Possibly. If your ball trickles into

the back edge of the bunker, next to the ladder you need to climb in and out of the thing. That allows you the privilege of producing a 30-yard slice to sneak onto the green. But then again, the Chambers Basement should only be in play when No. 18 is an unreachable par 5. “It was our job to create golf holes that had the ultimate flexibility, and then let the USGA choose and ad- minister those,” Charlton said. Chambers Bay loses another

stroke to par in the championship on the fourth hole, a dramatic par 5 that takes off uphill and away from the water, like a corner route to the pylon.

The defense in this instance is an intimidating collection of bunkers and waste area that will intercept any ball falling short of the green. And while the wind off the Puget Sound is usu- ally helping, the converted par 4 can also tee off from as long as 530 yards. Players might be shoved back

there one day if the weather condi- tions cooperate, but there are other tee boxes at 480 and 424, too. “A tee box is a tee box,” Charlton

said. “It doesn’t have to be for one kind of player, especially when you’re playing tournament golf.” There’s even a chance that 72 tee

boxes could be used during the cham- pionship. If the USGA has its way, players won’t hit the same shot twice during the championship. “That is one of the goals,” Charlton

said. “The USGA really wants these guys to have to use their golf course management skills. They’ll be playing from a different part of the fairway every day, a different tee every day.” And USGA Executive Director

and revolutionary course setup guru Mike Davis has every single scenario plotted out.

The teetering par-5 eighth hole sits above to the right, while the spectacular ninth greens rests below to the left. An alternate tee box for the ninth hole will be in play for two of the rounds during the U.S. Open, just across the road on the other side of the two practice greens in the middle of the photo.

FALL 2014 / NCGA.ORG / 27


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