Chambers Bay making changes for 2015 United States Open

Updated: June 4, 2012

As you walk down the 18th fairway at Chambers Bay, you see the same sights as when the course first opened. There are the large concrete structures on the right hand side of the hole. The large waste areas on both sides of the fairways. And the sight of an elevated green that is one tough putting surface.

But something looks different as you get to within a 9-iron of the green. There is a big hole in the ground of the landing area. Turns out the USGA wanted to toughen up the 18th hole at Chambers Bay in preparation for the United States Open, which will be played at Chambers Bay in 2015.

Turns out the USGA wanted a deep pot bunker in the landing zone. And not just any kind of bunker. This is a serious hole in the ground. In fact the new bunker is so deep you need to take steps to get down into it to hit your shot. And good luck advancing it toward the green. The walls a steep on all sides so just getting it out is a chore.

And this is exactly what the USGA wanted when it had the bunker put in.

The new bunker is just one of many changes that Chambers Bay has going on as it gets the course ready for the best golfers in the world in three years. Here’s a quick look at what else Chambers Bay is working on as it readies for 2015:

• The green complex on the opening hole has been replaced. Good second shots no longer will hit the green and roll off to the side and down the hill.

• The green complex on the 13th hole is being modified to allow for different pin locations and second shots will not roll off the green like they used to.

• The seventh hole is getting an entirely new green complex as well. The green is being modified so that more shots will finish on the green rather than going long and rolling off the green. The approach area is also being modified so that shots short of the green stay within 50 yards of the green and do not roll into collection areas or into the waste areas near the green.

As I made my way around Chambers Bay I saw some of the finished changes and some of the changes in progress. This is all good stuff. The fairway bunker on 18 gets your attention. The simple solution I found out – keep your shot the heck out of the bunker.

The new green complex on one is more than fair now. In fact, I hit a ball that seemed to be going left, but it hit a new raised area and stayed on the fringe and did not roll down the hill to the left, laving a brutal chip shot back to the green.

Two of the other green complexes aren’t finished but are taking shape and you can tell by walking around them that they will make golf more enjoyable for not only players at the 2015 U.S. Open but also for the everyday players who play Chambers Bay.