Chambers Bay golf course scores an annual profit for first time

Chambers Bay golf course in University Place made money last year for the first time, recording the highest number of rounds played in its six-year history.

The golf course, site of the 2015 U.S. Open, generated a profit of about $382,000, according to a county report released Thursday.

The course lost money in the four previous years, requiring an interfund loan to make debt payments. No new loan was taken out in 2013.

The links-style course broke even in its first full year in 2008.

The number of rounds played last year hit 38,980. That’s 12 percent higher than in 2012 and the most rounds recorded since the course opened in June 2007.

Revenue from merchandise sales increased 40 percent last year, driven by demand for shirts, hats and other items with the 2015 U.S. Open logo.

The News Tribune has previously reported the course was on track to make money last year. The county’s fourth-quarter report Thursday included the first financial totals for the year.

County officials have said the U.S. Open in June 2015 is drawing more golfers from outside the county and state who want to try the course. And that’s increasing revenue.

Out-of-state golfers pay the highest green fees at the county-owned course.

The improved economy also helped boost golf operations last year, said Tony Tipton, parks and recreation director.