Best New Course of the Year
Chambers Bay Golf Course
University Place, Wash.
7,585 yards, par 72
Green fee: $65-$150
At Chambers Bay the visuals scream
Ireland: giant sand dunes, rumpled
fairways, stunning sea views, and
unpredictable weather. But this superb
new course is almost 5,000 miles west
of Ballybunion, atop an old gravel mine
about an hour south of Seattle, Wash.
This Robert Trent Jones II-designed
municipal track is a walkers' only feast
for the eyes, and a relentless test of both
swing and stamina. Call it Bethpage
The eye candy commences right at
the 1st hole, with a 50-foot-high dune to
the right and the backdrop of Puget
Sound. It only gets better from there.
Highlights include the par-4 5th, called
"Free Fall," which plummets 80 feet
from tee to landing area and culminates
in two separate greens150 yards apart.
The farther green is receptive to a lowrunning
approach, while the closer one
is fiercely guarded by sand. The dearth
of forced carries means Chambers
Bay is playable for all, although a
memorable exception to that is the
jaw-dropping par-3 9th, its wavy potato
chip-contoured green perched on the
far side of a ravine.
Chambers Bay earns the greatest
compliment it's possible to bestow on a
new course: By the time your caddie
replaces the flag at 18, all you can think
about is repeating the journey.