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Don Sollom | U.S. Open at Chambers Bay a really big deal

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Dan Sollom photo The eighth fairway at Chambers Bay Golf Club.

If you follow professional golf, you already know that Chambers Bay Golf Club near Tacoma is the site of the 2015 U.S. Open. If you don’t follow golf, you should know this is a really big deal, and I am going to attempt to explain why.

I had the opportunity to play this links-style course in October with my golf buddy Jack Powers. Before our 1 p.m. tee time, I had a chance to sit down with general manager Matt Allen to ask a few questions. We discussed the course, the U.S. Open and why, indeed, this is such a really big deal for Tacoma, Pierce County and Washington.

Chambers Bay is located just a little southwest of Tacoma in the town of University Place, about a three-hour drive from Wenatchee. Open for play in 2007, Chambers Bay quickly became the ‘must-play’ new course on the west coast. This golf course was actually built with the U.S. Open in mind. Areas designated for grandstands and camera locations; how and where 50,000 spectators per day will move smoothly following play around this fescue-guarded layout; and access to and from the course itself had to be hugely considered for this venue.

The vistas are breathtaking, the course is fair but challenging and the conditions are world class. No power carts are allowed, either, so if you plan to play, be ready for a serious 7-mile (or more) hike up and down, side to side, over hilly terrain that will have you shedding layers of clothing by the fourth hole.

There is over 90 acres of sand and waste areas equivalent to the area of turf maintained on the golf course. That is a lot of beach! (I know because I was in much of it.) As they prepare the course for the U.S. Open, several greens are being totally reconstructed, so temporary greens are in play until sometime next year.

Here are some interesting factoids shared by Allen about hosting one of professional golf’s four majors:

The estimated financial impact will be north of $145 million to benefit Pierce, King and Thurston counties.

They’re expecting 235,000 spectators over five days (50,000 on Friday alone), and 50 to 60 private homes near the course to be rented at $10,000 per week.

They’ll have more grandstand seating than the average Open due to the dramatic elevation changes where most spectators will not want to walk.

Ticket prices will range from $450 to $500 for the week ($75 to $100 for a single day).

Five-thousand volunteers will be required for this event, and the selection process begins in January. They expect to have the volunteers selected in six months or less, so if you are interested, go to chambers baygolf.com and opt in.

The 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay ... this is a really big deal.

By the way, how did I play Chambers Bay? I had four triples, several pars, a bunch of bogeys and one birdie for a 93 — and after seven miles I was pooped But it was a good pooped.

See you on the first tee.

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