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Should we give the USGA a break on Chambers Bay?

Should we give the USGA a break on Chambers Bay?

Should we give the USGA a break on Chambers Bay?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

The USGA has taken criticism from every angle.  

Golf Pros, Press, General Public, and bloggers and posters like myself.  But when you look at the USGA’s intent, they were only doing what they thought was right.  And how many times in our lives have we thought we were doing something with honorable intentions, only to have it blow up in our face?  Here is a great story from Michael Fitzpatrick of bleacherreport.com, who is on the USGA side.  Maybe!

Should we give the USGA a break on Chambers Bay?

Chambers Bay certainly turned out to be a spectacularly beautiful location!

The USGA has long been the target of fierce criticism within the world of golf.

It has been accused of being too conservative and not progressing with technology and a changing culture.

It has been accused of being too rigid in its devotion to what many view as antiquated rules of the game.

The USGA has often attempted to roll back golfing technology that makes it easier for amateur players (who make up 99 percent of the golfing public in America) to enjoy the game, such as new golf ball technology and anchored putters. This has put the organization at odds with the PGA of America more than a few times over the past several decades.

In essence, the USGA is viewed by many as an organization that has been set in its outdated ways for far too long.

While there is certainly some credence to this unflattering public image the USGA has obtained, the organization has attempted to alter its behaviors in recent years. Yet these attempts have more often than not yielded even further criticism from players, fans and the media.

For example, the USGA had long been criticized for creating U.S. Open courses that were difficult to the point of being almost unfair.

Pundits claim was that it was over the top to have rough so thick that players were in effect receiving a penalty of at least one stroke for missing a fairway by just a few inches.

So, in 2006, the USGA tried introducing  graduated rough at Winged Foot.  At which time the organization promptly had the acusation of going soft on the best players in the world at an event that is meant to be the toughest test in all of golf.

In recent years the USGA has also tried to stray from its cookie-cutter U.S. Open course selection process (very long, traditional, northern golf courses).

The USGA took the Open back to Merion in 2013, which was a track many believed could never host an Open again due to its inability to stretch the course beyond 7,000 yards.

Should we give the USGA a break on Chambers Bay?

Merion with their familiar Basket instead of a flag was a stern test despite its length!

The USGA then took the 2014 Open back to Pinehurst, which had no rough at all and had been pursuing a center-row irrigation system to preserve water and operating costs.

Merion was widely regarded as a success in 2013, as was Pinehurst in 2014.

The USGA once again tried to push the envelope by selecting Chambers Bay for the 2015 U.S. Open.

Not a lot of water is needed to sustain Chambers Bay.

The greens are comprise of the exact same type of grass used throughout the rest of the course (fescue).

No expensive man-made water hazards were included in the construction process.

The bunkering consists of a mixture of sand and the natural soil, which is why you may have seen players removing stones from bunkers without being penalized last week.

Chambers Bay was chosen as much to showcase a working example of a sustainable, affordable golf course built on top of what was essentially wasteland.  And it was chosen to challenge the best players in the world.

While Merion and Pinehurst were huge successes, Chambers Bay was clearly a poor decision by the USGA.

The main criteria through which to measure a good golf course vs. a bad course is quite simple—a good course rewards good shots and penalizes bad ones.

Unfortunately the exact opposite occurred last week at Chambers Bay.

To see the rest of Michael Fitzpatrick’s report, go here.

Read more Golf news on BleacherReport.com

via 2015 US Open: Let’s Give the USGA a Break on Chambers Bay

Source: Michael Fitzpatrick   bleacherreport.com

Pictures: Christina  Keith Allison

Thanks for reading – Should we give the USGA a break on Chambers Bay? 

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A Fans experience outside the ropes at the US Open.

A Fans experience outside the ropes at the US Open.

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

The golf and the greens have been covered extensively at the US Open at Chambers Bay.  

However, this is an interesting perspective from Elisa Gaudet.  As a golf fan, her US Open experience was a lot better than the golf professionals playing the course.  She had no complaints whatsoever! So there were some positives about this much-maligned venue.  Well done, Elisa!

A Fans experience outside the ropes at the US Open.

Being outside the ropes during the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in Washington State is definitely not a bad thing.

While this course has some of the most stunning views of any course in the country, walking hole by hole can be challenging. As Phil Mickelson notes, “Golf fans are some of the most dedicated fans. Most other sports fans buy a ticket, sit in a seat and see all the action. Golf fans buy a ticket and then they have to walk the course and only see a fraction of the action.

” While this is a challenging walk the views and elevation changes are very rewarding. With that said, there are plenty of activities outside the ropes to make this major event even more memorable. The U.S. Open’s Spectator Square is set up with numerous big screens televising coverage of the tournament and sponsor pavilions that enable the fans to engage in various aspects of the game.

If you are looking for a better view of the action, Phil Mickelson Sr. found a solution. 

Perhaps Phil Mickelson junior’s awareness of the fans’ experience is heightened by the unintentionally manner in which his father came into the periscope business.  Philip Mickelson Sr. explains, “In 1996 Phil started to have a pretty big crowd following him, so my wife bought me a periscope for Christmas. The next thing I know all of my friends were using mine and passing it around to see a lie or how far a player was from the ball. I decided to buy 12 for my friends and give them for Christmas presents. After speaking with the owner in 1997, I ended up buying the company.” 

Mickelson Sr. went on to upgrade the original periscope, used to see over crowds and give viewers a better view of tournament play, and a few years later he created a version that had zoom capabilities. It allows a person to see 22.5 inches higher and 5 times the distance.  Without any endorsement from Phil junior the Sportscope has done very well, selling out three times at the 2008 US Open, and again at the Ryder Cup. It is an officially licensed PGA TOUR product and is also used for hunting, law enforcement, military, concerts and parades.

Mickelson Sr., now almost 80 years old, plans to retire soon from the periscope business.

The onetime Navy fighter pilot turned commercial airlines pilot is happy he was able to give golf fans a way to have a better experience.

A Fans experience outside the ropes at the US Open.

Periscopes developed by Phil Mickelson Sr, are a hot item at Tour events!

If a taste of Washington State is what you desire, the Washington State Wine Commission has created an exceptional wine experience showcasing the best of Washington wines in the Rainier Village hospitality tent lining the 18th fairway. Chris Stone, VP of marketing and communications for the wine commission explains, “We wanted to showcase the diverse selection of wines that represent the region and diversity of varietals and price point.” Many of their guests are wine industry professionals including sommelier’s and wine buyers.

A Fans experience outside the ropes at the US Open.

With over 800 wineries in the state of Washington, choosing which ones would be represented was no easy task. 

An outside five person panel was put together to review the over 420 wines submitted. Ultimately, 140 were chosen and 20 wines are on display per day during the event. Most notable is the fact that Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington State’s oldest winery, is the largest single producer of Riesling in the world. In addition to their 49 plus wines, they currently have a new collaboration, Tenant, a Rhone style blend made up of 40% Grenache, 35% Shyah and 25% Mourvedre. It is the love child of Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Rhone’s Michel Gassie… and it is delicious.

A Fans experience outside the ropes at the US Open.

Prominent NFL Quarterbacks Dan Marino and Drew Bledsoe’s wines were one sale at the US Open.

While many golf professionals have ventured into the wine industry, most notably Ernie Els, Greg Norman, Luke Donald and Annika Sorenstam, to name a few, some NFL players have also found a passion in winemaking. Two vineyards in the Washington area have strong ties to football and more specifically quarterbacks.

To read the rest of this fascinating article on a golfer’s experience outside the US Open ropes, check it out here.

Source: Elisa Gaudet

Pictures: Paul Takahashi    Elisa Gaudet   Dov Harrington

Thanks for reading – A Fans experience outside the ropes at the US Open.

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Biggest Hero at US Open Golf Championship is Jason Day!

Biggest Hero at US Open Golf Championship is Jason Day!

Biggest Hero at US Open Golf Championship is Jason Day!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

The 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay goes into the history books with a huge amount of drama attached to it.

One of the biggest controversies was the USGA’s choice of a golf course that players said was “stupid” – they said the holes were changed during the tournament resulting in confusion, and the greens were “broccoli.” Even the venerable Gary Player weighed in to say, “it’s one of the worst golf courses I’ve seen in my 63 years as a Pro.” Ouch!

All of us were thrilled with the hot action at the end between Dustin Johnson and the final champion, Jordan Spieth. Spieth is the new face of golf on tour, along with Rory McIlroy and a few others. Spieth now holds the Masters and U.S. Open trophies for 2015 and is admired for his skills, plus his demeanor. He is a true Champion and a gentleman.

But my biggest applause goes to Jason Day, who fought this very tough battle without all of his weapons.

Day suffers from vertigo, which causes one to become dizzy, nauseous, and shaky. Imagine trying to golf even the easiest course in the world while experiencing those symptoms.

Biggest Hero at US Open Golf Championship is Jason Day!

Jason & Ellie Day during the PGA TOUR Wives Golf Classic April 19, 2011, Hilton Head, SC

Now try to play the Chambers Bay course with its incredible length and huge elevations that players must constantly hike up and down. Even healthy players like Tiger Woods struggled to keep their footing and slipped in the deep grass on hillsides.

At the end of Day’s second round on Friday, he collapsed suddenly, and his head bounced once on the ground as he passed out. Jason recovered and finished the round with a bogey but was visibly shaken. On day 3, he returned to play amid great fan support and shared the lead at one point. On the final day, one could see that Day was physically zapped. He couldn’t gather the energy needed to compete at his best and shot 74, finishing at even-par for the tournament.

Someone said that Jason Day has the heart of a lion, and I agree. He put me in mind of the great Ken Venturi, who collapsed from dehydration and heat exhaustion in 1964 but went on to win the U.S. Open dramatically.

Cheers to these warriors!

Source: Mel Sole

Pictures: Keith Allison

Thanks for reading – Biggest Hero at US Open Golf Championship is Jason Day!

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Dustin Johnson handles US Open loss with a lot of class!

Dustin Johnson handles US Open loss with a lot of class!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

A baby in his arms, Dustin Johnson, knew his priorities, family, and then golf.  

Yes, it was a heartbreaking experience to three-putt the last green to lose the US Open, but Johnson has his life back together, and his child has made him realize that life is more important than a trophy.  I am sure that Dustin will get his Major Championship (or two) soon. In the meantime, he has his family.  Thanks to GOLF.com and Associated Press for this classy article.

Dustin Johnson handles US Open loss with a lot of class!

Dustin Johnson had his baby in his arms, a smile of sorts frozen on his face.

There would be plenty of time later to sort through the pain and the what-ifs. Still in shock from the events of a few moments earlier, he walked from the 18th green, holding little Tatum, with fiancee Paulina Gretzky lending a comforting hand on his back.

The U.S. Open would have been his had he made a 12-footer on the final green. An 18-hole playoff with Jordan Spieth would have been scheduled for Monday with a 3-footer coming back.

He missed both, and one of the most dramatic U.S. Opens ended in the worst way imaginable. The cruelest of games had dealt Johnson the cruelest of blows.

Instead of holding the Open trophy on the 18th green, he was looking for a quick exit from the chamber of horrors that was Chambers Bay. Instead of resting up for an 18-hole playoff on Monday, he was heading home wondering how it could have all gone wrong.

He tried to keep it in perspective the only way he knew how.

 “I’m proud of the way I played and I’m most proud of my family,” Johnson said outside the locker room. “So I did get to hold up my trophy at the end of the day, which is my son.”

That a long week at Chambers Bay ended on such a sour note wasn’t lost on Johnson. He skipped the trophy ceremony and didn’t come into the media center to answer questions, though he did spend some time signing autographs for kids before leaving.

To read more on Dustin Johnson’s great handling of his loss, check it out here.

Source: GOLF.com  Associated Press

Pictures: Associated Press  Secret in the Dirt

Thanks for reading – Dustin Johnson handles US Open loss with a lot of class!

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Robert Trent Jones Jr responds to Gary Players Diss!

Robert Trent Jones Jr responds to Gary Players Diss!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Gary Player had some strong words to say about Chambers Bay, calling it “the worst course I have ever seen.”  

Robert Trent Jones has responded that Gary had an ulterior motive in his comment as they are both in the design business and compete for the same jobs.  He feels that was a low blow!  What do you think?  Post your comments below.  Thanks to GOLF .com and Joe Passov for this controversial article.

In a week punctuated by dismissive barbs over the design and condition of Chambers Bay, none were as cutting as Gary Player’s. The 79-year-old South African legend was in town being honored by the USGA for his U.S. Open win 50 years ago, but Player’s place at the podium turned into a bully pulpit, with Chambers Bay the target.

Robert Trent Jones Jr responds to Gary Players Diss!

On Friday, during a Yahoo Sports “Grandstanding” podcast, Player labeled Chambers Bay as “one of the worst golf courses I’ve seen in my 63 years as a pro.” Among other disparaging remarks about the course, he called it “basically unplayable,” adding, “the man who designed this golf course had to have one leg shorter than the other.”

The man who designed this golf course is Robert Trent Jones Jr. together with associate Bruce Charlton and former associate Jay Blasi.

Speaking exclusively to GOLF.com, Jones offered a rebuttal to Player’s comments.

“First of all, you have to understand that Gary is a competitor in the design business,” says Jones. “He was a ruthless competitor in his playing days and at times he can be that way in the design business. We compete for jobs all over the world. I can tell you that I’m open to constructive criticism, but to make it personal is something I can’t understand. What purpose does it serve to find fault with the USGA, with the men who set it up and with the design itself? All I can tell you is that I don’t comment on my competitors. I don’t need to enter a public debate with Gary Player.”

To read more on Robert Trent Jones’ response to Gary Player, read on.

Source: Joe Passov   GOLF.com

Pictures: CJ Anderson

Thanks for reading – Robert Trent Jones Jr responds to Gary Players Diss!

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This Phenom named Jordan Spieth - Can anybody stop him?

This Phenom named Jordan Spieth – Can anybody stop him?

This Phenom named Jordan Spieth – Can anybody stop him?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

OK, I was wrong in my pick for the US Open.  

I picked Phil Mickelson because I’m a sentimentalist and wanted him to win all 4 Majors before his career was over.  However, I was thrilled to see Jordan win and keep the Grand Slam alive!  Nobody has won all 4 Majors in a calendar year (Tiger did it but not all in a calendar year). Can Jordan do it?  This win had created the same excitement that American Pharoah created when he had a chance and eventually won the Triple Crown.  The ticket sales for the Open Championship will be through the roof, and I certainly wish I could be there to watch Jordan try to make history!

I do feel for Dustin Johnson, and I hope his Major Championship (or two) will come along soon.  He certainly has the talent to do it!

My two fellow countrymen Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, fell one shot short, and if not for an opening 77, Louis would have won this by a mile.  But this is a 4 round tournament, and Jordan Spieth shot the lowest score, so he is the winner!  Congrats to Jordan.

Here is a video of Jordan Spieth’s life after his Masters win brought to you by the PGA Tour.

Source: PGA Tour

Thanks for watching – This Phenom named Jordan Spieth – Can anybody stop him?

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Stop Complaining and believe you are the best says Gary Player.

Stop Complaining and believe you are the best says Gary Player.

Stop Complaining and believe you are the best says Gary Player.

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

I played on the South African Sunshine Tour from 1969 to 1979 and had the good fortune to play a few practice rounds with the great Gary Player.  

I learned a lot of life lessons from Gary.  But the one that has stuck in my head all these years came to the fore this week.  I heard all the mumblings and grumblings about the greens at Chambers Bay.  Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson did not have kind words for the Robert Trent Jones Jr design.

Stop Complaining and believe you are the best says Gary Player.

Gary Player has been an inspiration to me and many others with his honesty, integrity, and positive attitude!

I was playing a practice round before the SA Masters at Kensington GC with Gary Player.  And the greens were extremely bumpy.  I complained to Gary, but instead of getting sympathy, Gary said, “Mel, I am the best putter in the world on bumpy greens.  So much so that I think I have a huge advantage this week and believe I can win this tournament.”  He went on to win by 7 shots!

The following week, we played the SA Open Championship at Mowbray Golf Club in Cape Town, and the greens were beautiful and really fast.  

I thought, “Gary will have a hard time this week as these greens are not the bumpy greens of the week prior.”  When I saw Gary in the clubhouse before the first round, I said, “Gary, what do you think of these smooth slick greens?”  Do you know what he said?  “Mel, I am the best putter in the world on fast, smooth greens.  I think I have an advantage over everyone else in the field this week!” He went on to win by 5!

It was an epiphany moment for me!  As long as you believe you are the best in ANY situation, you will immediately have an advantage over everyone else!  If it is raining, say “I love playing in the rain”  If it is sweltering, say “I love playing in the heat!” and if it is freezing cold, say “I love playing in the cold!”  Remember, you cannot change the situation. You can only change your attitude towards the situation!  I think the winner of the US Open at Chambers Bay will have to have that attitude!

Source: Mel Sole

Pictures: Keith Allison

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Tiger determined to get back on top - Yes but is the mind willing?

Tiger determined to get back on top – Yes but is the mind willing?

Tiger determined to get back on top – Yes but is the mind willing?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

There is nothing I would like to see more than Tiger Woods come back to form and start winning tournaments again.  

It was so much fun for golf fans around the world to watch him compete.  And pull out amazing shots when he needed to.  I don’t think Chambers Bay is the right course for Tiger to make his comeback.  But the British Open at St. Andrews will be my prediction of Tigers’ return to the winner’s circle.  Time will tell!  Thanks to BBC Sports for this honest interview with Woods.

Fourteen-time major champion Tiger Woods is “devoted” to the game of golf and determined to overcome his season’s “struggles” at the US Open at Chambers Bay.

The world number 195 – his lowest ever ranking – shot his worst career round of 85 last month at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio having made significant swing changes with coach Chris Como.

Woods won his last major at the US Open seven years ago and the 39-year-old will need to contend with the many “variables” of the Chambers Bay course.

via VIDEO: Woods confident of overcoming struggles

Source: BBC Sport

Picture: Keith Allison

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USGA steps backward by confiscating competitors' clubs!

USGA steps backward by confiscating competitors’ clubs!

USGA steps backward by confiscating competitors’ clubs!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

If you are lucky enough to get into the U.S. Open as an alternate, you should be able to play a practice round prior to the big event.

NOPE! And the USGA officials will even take your clubs away if they catch you on the course! YIKES.

Apparently, ‘alternates’ are allowed to use practice areas, but are not allowed to use the course prior to the tournament. Aussie Clint Rice was playing a casual round yesterday with Tour Player Geoff Ogilvy and had his clubs confiscated on the 13th hole at Chambers Bay in Washington.

USGA steps backward by confiscating competitors' clubs!

Geoff Ogilvy was apparently not happy that fellow Aussie Clint Rice was not allowed to play a practice round before the US Open at Chambers Bay!

Ogilvy told the Australian press that it was ‘silly” because they were not holding anyone up and the course was not full. This overly stringent adherence to the rules is negative and causes eyeball-rolling by other nation’s golfers.  

What do you think of the USGA’s decision?  I think if you qualify for the US Open, you should get to play at least one practice round.  Surely!  Preventing that makes no sense to me!

Source: Mel Sole.

Pictures: Tour Pro Golf Clubs

Thanks for reading – USGA steps backward by confiscating competitors’ clubs!

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US Open Courses You Can Play Everyday - All 14 of them!

US Open Courses You Can Play Everyday – All 14 of them!

US Open Courses You Can Play Everyday – All 14 of them!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

14 golf courses have hosted the US Open that is available for public play.  

The USGA is considering more and more public courses for their plethora of tournaments throughout the year.  I love the fact that we can watch the US Open at Chambers Bay, and the following week tee it up on the same course!  I think this removes an element of elitism from the championship arena, and the regular golfer can enjoy the same course where Tiger, Rory, and Jordan teed it up last week!

US Open Courses You Can Play Everyday - All 14 of them!

2015 US Open venue – Chambers Bay.

The USGA takes its share of heat over various golf issues, but you have to give the Far Hills fraternity credit for at least one of its recent initiatives.

Its stated goal to open up the US Open was more than just talk. This week, golf’s national championship will be contested over a public-accessible course for the second straight year: Chambers Bay Golf Course (more on that below).

But it wasn’t always this way.

Consider this:

From its start in 1895 until 2000, the U.S. Open was played almost exclusively on private courses.

Since 2000, it has been played eight times on publicly accessible courses (munis and resort courses alike) and it’s scheduled to be played at three more of these sites in the next six years.

Here’s what you need to know if you want to play the distinguished group of public US Open golf courses:

Pebble Beach Golf Links (1972, 1982, 1992, 2000, 2010, 2019)
Pebble Beach, Calif.

US Open Courses You Can Play Everyday - All 14 of them!
In 1972, Pebble Beach became the first publicly accessible course to host the US Open, and it’s nice to see the USGA repeatedly return to this venerable venue. If and when you make your pilgrimage, definitely walk this easily walkable course and take a caddie (they’re worth every penny and carts are confined to the cart path). When scheduling your tee time, keep in mind that playing in the afternoon often yields the best scenery, because there’s less risk of fog. Players who have “taken it all in” on previous trips often choose to play earlier in the morning, which can result in speedier rounds.

Here are more tips on taking a Pebble Beach golf vacation.

Bethpage Black (2002, 2009)
Farmingdale, N.Y.

US Open Courses You Can Play Everyday - All 14 of them!

The course that upped the ante on publicly accessible US Open courses was Bethpage Black. Not only is it public, as part of the State of New York parks system, it’s essentially publicly owned, too.

As you can imagine, tee times are snapped up fast, making it difficult — but not impossible — to score one.

You basically have three options: 1) use Bethpage’s tee time reservation system, 2) try to walk-on at the crack of dawn, which often involves camping out in or near your car, or 3) pay a lot of money to a little-known company that may be able to get you a tee time on the day you want to play.

All three methods are explained in detail here: How to Get a Tee Time on Bethpage Black.

Pinehurst No. 2 (1999, 2005, 2014)
Pinehurst, N.C.

US Open Courses You Can Play Everyday - All 14 of them!

The ahem, major renovations by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw were very well-received by both the men and women who competed in their respective US Opens last year. And believe it or not, the course got even better afterward last summer when the resort closed No. 2 to convert the greens from bentgrass to bermudagrass.

The biggest changes by C&C? The rough is gone; they stripped out nearly every inch of it, replacing it with the natural sand, wiregrass, and pine straw areas Donald Ross originally designed into it.

This rough removal / natural area replacement actually increased fairway widths to an average of 50 to 60 yards, opening up more “strategic playing options.”

You can read our more in-depth analysis of the changes here.

One more tip: when making reservations, ask if the “252” package is available; it includes a round on No. 2, lodging, and breakfast for $252 (a round on No. 2 alone can cost more than $400).

Torrey Pines Golf Course (2008, 2021)
La Jolla, Calif.

US Open Courses You Can Play Everyday - All 14 of them!

Like Bethpage Black, Torrey Pines is a municipal golf course, and most of its tee times are for locals.

Unlike Bethpage, however, Torrey Pines offers easier ways for out-of-state visitors to secure tee times.

If you want a guaranteed, advanced tee time, all you have to do is book a stay-and-play package at the Lodge at Torrey Pines, a treat in and of itself. Replacing the old, no-frills travel lodge that sat directly behind the 18th green of the South Course, the Lodge at Torrey Pines is, “an enchanting architectural marvel,” according to the hard-to-please editors of Golf Odyssey. “Secluded from La Jolla’s tony boutiques and congested traffic, it is an inspiring sanctuary for a grand tour of Torrey Pines’ two golf courses.”

The secret to saving a lot of money, however, is to take advantage of Torrey Pines’ walkup system and twilight fees, which can bring the price of a round on the South Course down from $300 to $110.

Most people assume their chances of scoring one of these discounted slots is slim and none, so the real secret here is that the availability of these off-peak rates is quite good and the walk-up system works pretty well.

Chambers Bay (2015)
University Place, Wash.

We usually don’t recommend taking a golf vacation to a given state for the sole purpose of playing one of its golf courses, but Chambers Bay Golf Course near Tacoma, Wash., is good enough to justify such a trip.

This linksy municipal course landed the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the 2015 US Open after only seven months in existence and will bring America’s championship to the Northwest for the first time ever.

If you go, make sure you’re in shape: it’s a long, expansive layout and it’s walking only. If you’re looking for recommendations on where to stay, read this post.

Erin Hills (2017)
Erin, Wisc.

This is another public course that caught the USGA’s attention even before it opened.  And despite the need for significant architectural tweaks since its debut and an ownership change that might have run it off the rails, we’ll be watching the US Open from Erin Hills in 2017.

Going to be in or near Milwaukee and want to play here? You can stay overnight on the second floor of the clubhouse or in the new, on-course cottages. The accommodations are comfortable and well-appointed, but nothing over-the-top (reminded us of Bandon Dunes). Alternatively, many golfers stay at the Delafield Hotel, located 20 minutes away in the town of Delafield. Golfers with advance tee-time reservations at Erin Hills receive discounted room rates.

To see the rest of the 14 Courses available for public play and have hosted a US Open, read here.

Source: Tim Gavrich  Golf Vacation Insider

Pictures: Flash and Mel   Mike Renlund

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