5 Records Chambers Bay broke

Miller Brown Photography

Since it was selected to host the U.S. Open Championship a mere eight months after its premiere, Chambers Bay Golf Course has been setting and breaking records right and left. Add dynamo golfer Jordan Spieth to the mix and you’ve got five records slashed. Not bad for Golf Inc. Magazine’s 2007 Development of the Year winner.

What does the course’s general manger have to say about it?

“Achieving that is not only unprecedented but so unlikely,” General Manger Matt Allen said prior to the event.

And he doesn’t think it will ever happen again.

“In terms of future projects, it would be difficult to replicate a lot of things that had to happen; the last of which is having a great fan base, a site that a links golf course could be built on, and an elected person that had a singular and uncompromising vision and the political capital to get it done,” he said. “That is very, very unique.”  

1. First-ever Pacific Northwest course to host the U.S. Open

In its 114-year history prior to the 2015 event, the U.S. Open Championship — an event held in New York State and Pennsylvania 18 times each — never made it to Washington state, let alone the entire Pacific Northwest region. But after the Seattle Seahawks won the 2014 Super Bowl, Allen thought the region was ready for another big game. But this time, that game was golf. 

“With the Seahawks having recently won the Super Bowl, the market is really primed for a large sporting event,” he said in April. “The course is in the best condition it has ever been in.”

2. Youngest course to host the U.S. Open in 30 years

Built in 2007, eight-year-old Chambers Bay is the youngest course to host the U.S. Open in 30 years. Even so, the record to beat is between father and son architects. Robert Trent Jones’s 1962 design at Hazeltine National Golf Club opened in 1962 and hosted the U.S. Open in 1970 and again in 1991. His son, Robert Trent Jones II designed Chambers Bay. 

3. First true links course to host, maybe 

With just one tree on the property, phenomenal water views and fescue grass, Chambers Bay was the first links course to host the U.S. Open, some said.  

Rory McIlroy, the No. 1 Player in the world, said at a press conference that it is “a pure links golf course. Every part of this golf course is fescue [grass]…. It plays more like a links course than some links courses.”

But its status as a true links course is debatable. In his article, aptly titled “Chambers Bay not a true links course,” author Tim Booth argues that its single tree, the course’s many elevation changes, and the land it was built on make it a tough call. Jones even admitted to Booth that traditionalists in Scotland would probably not approve.

“The word ‘links' has a very, very strict meaning, for those of our brethren across the pond,” Jones said. “For them, a links has to be near or on the seam near an estuary, sandy landscape with fescue grasses and no trees.”

4. Third municipal course to host ever 

Only thee municipal courses have had the honor of hosting the lauded golf event, though an estimated 76 percent of golf in the U.S. is played at public courses, according to wearegolf.com.

Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif. was the venue of choice in 2008 and in 2002 Bethpage State Park’s Black Course became the first municipal course to host.

5. Jordan Spieth becomes youngest player to win U.S. Open in more than 90 years, sixth player to win back-to-back championships

After Jordan Spieth’s back-to-back win at the Masters and the U.S. Open, the 21-year-old set a few records himself. He is only the sixth player ever to win both championships back to back (Tiger Woods was the last player to do this back in 2002). The other four that achieved this feat are Hall of Fame members Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Craig Wood. He is also the youngest player to win the U.S. Open since Bobby Jones claimed the title in in 1923, also at the age of 21.

To hear what Allen has to say about the championship event and the storied course that hosted it, attend Golf Inc. Magazine’s Strategies Summit at La Quinta Resort on Sept. 28 – 30. 

Photo by Miller Brown Photography

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