Chambers Bay reopens golf course next week with all-new greens

Chambers Bay will reopen next week, welcoming golfers back to try out the new grass on the course’s greens.

The golf course closed in October so its fine fescue could be replaced with poa annua, the predominant golf grass in the Northwest.

The $238,000 project got underway after complaints about the dirt-and-sandpaper greens during the 2015 U.S. Open.

After a five-month closure, the University Place course will welcome players April 3.

“Chambers Bay is firmly established as an architectural gem,” said Matt Allen, vice president of KemperSports. “We are excited to unveil the superior playability and consistency of all new putting surfaces.”

Chambers Bay is owned by Pierce County and operated by KemperSports.

Before the reopening, the course will host the Seattle University Redhawk Invitational, featuring 19 Division 1 schools in a 54-hole competition.

Officials said they decided to make the switch from fine fescue to poa annua to ensure a better experience for guests and provide improved putting surfaces for future championships.

Chambers Bay will be the site for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship in 2021.

The course was supposed to host the four-ball championship this year but requested that it be moved to Bandon Dunes in Oregon so the grass could be replaced.

The golf course opened in 2007 as one of the only all-fescue courses in the country, but the greens were criticized as bumpy by golfers who played in the Open.

Grounds crews spent months leading up to the tournament trying to keep poa annua grass from taking over, but the invasive grass thrived thanks to the more frequent waterings due to warmer than usual temperatures.

During the work for the Open, poa grass was shipped from British Columbia and used to re-sod the Nos. 7, 10 and 13 greens, as well as the practice green.

It went so well that officials decided to redo the other 15 greens.

“There is no question that Chambers Bay, Pierce County and KemperSports made the right choice to convert the greens to a grass that does well in our climate,” said Larry Gilhuly, an agronomist with the U.S. Golf Association.