Special Reports

Plans for U.S. Amateur in University Place unveiled

University Place residents can expect crowds, emergency crews and some extra parking when the U.S. Amateur tees off at Chambers Bay Golf Course this summer.

City officials heard these and other details Monday night about the Pierce County-run golf course’s biggest tournament since its 2007 opening. Deputy county executive Kevin Phelps shared information that will affect Chambers Bay neighbors and fans attending the tournament.

The U.S. Amateur is scheduled for the week of Aug. 23. More than 300 golfers, some expected to dominate professional golf in future years, will begin practice rounds Aug. 21 at Chambers Bay and the Home Course in DuPont. Sixty-four will move on to match play, with the championship final Aug. 29 at Chambers Bay.

One of the biggest concerns for neighbors is parking. The event is expected to draw between 2,000 and 5,000 people per day.

Phelps said most vehicles will use the 800 spaces at the county’s environmental services building, which is closer to the tournament than street parking farther north along Grandview Drive West.

Grandview will likely remain open to traffic, and drivers can park in designated areas, he said. Volunteers will park at the golf course’s north lots.

University Place deputy city manager Mariza Craig, the city’s point person for tournament planning, said most of the Soundview Trail loop likely will be closed for recreation during the Amateur. The public will have access to the uphill segment near Grandview.

Another key area of planning is public safety. The county expects to assign sheriff’s deputies to the course, including school resource officers, county staffers and private security.

Phelps said at least one emergency medical crew will be on site throughout the tournament, and the county could assign more if crowd numbers call for it. At other U.S. Amateur sites, people in the gallery have been known to suffer heat exhaustion.

More plans for the tournament will clear up in the next two or three weeks, when the county submits a package of permit applications to the city. It hopes UP will approve its plans – including transportation and public safety – by May.

Craig said the county has addressed the city’s concerns since planning for the tournament began. “We feel very comfortable,” she said.

Councilman Javier Figueroa asked whether Pierce County would seek money from UP or other local governments to pull off the event.

Phelps said the county believes it can stay within its $1.1 million budget.

The U.S. Amateur provides a glimpse of what the South Sound will see in 2015, when one of professional golf’s biggest showcases, the U.S. Open, comes to Chambers Bay.

Phelps said the difference between the two tournaments is akin to the difference between the Little League World Series and the Major League World Series. The U.S. Open will attract a bigger spotlight, and even more planning, than the Amateur.

For the U.S. Open, the county will likely use shuttle buses to transport fans, not allow them to drive and park as they will for the Amateur.

Still, local planners are using the Amateur as a “dry run” for 2015.

“We’re going to have the finest Amateur event in history take place here in University Place at Chambers Bay,” Phelps said.

Brent Champaco: 253-597-8653


Learn more

For more information on the 2010 U.S. Amateur, including how to purchase tickets, visit the event’s Web site at www.2010usamateur.com.

Coming Sunday

Chambers Bay Golf Course has fallen deeper into debt. Read more in Sunday's News Tribune.