With a Day at Chambers Bay!

Our group of tour operators, 16 in all, came from all parts of the world including China, South Africa, Brazil, parts of Europe and me from Canada.  Forty five minutes from Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport and we were in the thriving little City of DuPont, dubbed as The Home of Golf in the Pacific Northwest.  Rightly so as within 5 miles of DuPont are six magnificent courses including the world renowned Chambers Bay Golf Course.  10 additional courses make up the entire collection of courses within Tacoma/Pierce County!

The Traveling Golfer at Chambers Bay

We all knew that we were in good hands with the staff at Travel Tacoma and the City of DuPont at the helm.  There was so much to see and do and so little time but we made the best of it, three great courses, a couple of sunsets on the Puget Sound, and some fine wine – what more can one ask for?!

As we all gathered at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, DuPont, it did not take long for the group to discover the many dining options within a five minute walk of the hotel. Thai, Japanese, Mexican, and Italian, of course what seemed to be a favorite gathering spot was McNamara’s Irish Pub!  Almost as diverse as our group!  Even better was the fact that our hotel was within 20 minutes of all the courses we were playing.

Ready or not, some jet lagged some not so much, nonetheless, Chambers Bay the site of the 2015 U.S. Open on the shores of the Puget Sound was first up!  It was nothing less than a brilliant decision by the County officials to turn this former sand and gravel quarry site on a scenic waterfront into what may be deemed a taste of the Scottish links!

It wasn’t the prettiest day to stroll this Robert Trent Jones Jr. masterpiece, mid 70’s and overcast but no wind!  On a course like this I will take it anytime!  From high above you can’t help but feel somewhat intimidated by the quarry like welcoming staring you in the face.

Partnered with by buddy, Tim, transplanted from the US, now a long established tour operator in Poland,  we both managed to par the first hole and quickly found out that there was a (Streamsong like) transparent transition from fairway to green.  It was my first time ever putting on Fescue greens and an experience it was, best described by PGA Tour star Henrik Stenson “like putting on broccoli.”  That is all going to change as the greens are all being transitioned from Fescue to Poana.

Chambers Bay – Lone Fir 15th

So many great holes, some of my favorites…

  • The 5th “Free Fall” requires your tee ball in the center of the fairway, massive bunkers protect either side. Second shot is downhill offering the first panoramic view of Puget Sound.
  • The 9th tee box is perched 100 feet above the green providing a scenic view of the entire course. Missing left here is a good thing odds are good that you may end up on the green.
  • Ten is beast with the green protected by massive dunes on the right and deep bunkers to the back and left.
  • Lone Fir the short par 3 – 15th like an island in the sand takes you back to the Sound and the only tree on the course.
  • The par 5 – 18th takes you past the remnants of the concrete sorting bins of bygone days. Navigating the fairway dotted by bunkers and swales takes you slightly uphill to a large contoured green.

Our day was done and oh so memorable!

Chambers Bay is a walking only course, and not and easy walk either!  Push carts are provided and caddies optional, I would highly recommend a caddy!  A medical certificate will allow you to get a riding cart. www.chambersbaygolf.com

Enjoying the tour on Puget Sound

If there is one thing I like as much as golf, it is wining and dining and if it happens to be on a boat in the Puget Sound all the better!  Unlike Gilligan and crew who set out on a three hour tour and did not return, we did!  But not before Chef Bette Anne of Gourmet Niche who was in charge of making sure that we recharged ourselves with a delicious serving of tasty bites including mouth-watering smoked salmon and some outstanding Washington wines!  Captain Tom was our Skipper, he guided us to the sights and sounds of The Puget Sound on the Riviera.  The Sound is known to provide up close and personal interactions with whales on occasion and is home to the Pacific Octopus, the largest of the species in the world. On this evening we did not see either but we did see Harbor Seals frolicking just off shore and a majestic Bald Eagle.

Should you care to experience what we did no doubt the Captain Tom and Chef Bette Anne would love to hear from you:  Captain Tom at Riviera Cruises www.rivieracruises.net/  or tdrogig@comcast.net
Chef Bette Anne Curry chefbac@betteannecatering.com at Gourmet Niche www.cateringbychefbetteanne.com

Did you know that the State of Washington ranks second in the United States behind California in the production of wine?  The Columbia Valley is the most recognized of the wine regions.  Sandy top soil on top of an ideal basalt soil foundation, along with consistent temperatures and on average two more hours of sunlight per day than California make for ideal grape growing conditions.  Proof is in the pudding or, in this case, the bottle!

It was on board the Riviera that we first met DuPont’s Golfing Mayor Mike Courts and true to form he led us to our next two rounds.

Next up was the Eagles Pride Golf Course nestled in the shadow of Mt. Rainier which unfortunately we did not get to see – damn clouds!  But again no rain and great golf temperatures!

DuPont’s Golfing Mayor – Mike Courts

An impressive design, 27-holes, tree lined rolling fairways, mid-size greens with plenty of contours to challenge your putting stroke.  A true gem in the Pacific Northwest on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, might just be one of the best bargains in America!  Off the course you will no doubt want to have a cold one with a Samuel Adams Brewhouse on site to refuel and quench your thirst!  www.jblmmwr.com/eagles_pride

It was time for yours truly to tee it up with the Golfing Mayor (Mike Courts) of DuPont and the sun even came out for us at The Home Course.  Considered one of the best public courses in the State it is owned and operated by the Washington State Golf Association and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association.  The course was in impeccable condition with challenging and receptive greens that putted true!  Long from the tips stretching out to over 7,400 yards but easily walkable with views of Puget Sounds, and Mt. Rainier.  Generous landing areas off the tee but beware the bunkers!  You will find out right off the bat if your second shot on the first hole is short left that the bunkers are deep!

One of my favorite holes here was the par 4-7th, club selection off the tee is important.  It might not be a driver depending on the tees you are playing, the second shot is over a lake with the green protected at the back with a couple of large bunkers.
The par 3-14th has a large pond that wraps around a peninsula green.  Consider an extra club here!

The Home Course

The final holes provide stunning mountain views for a memorable finish.  Par 4-18th is a strong finishing hole…stay left off the tee. www.thehomecourse.com

We closed off our visit to Tacoma and DuPont with an evening in the Town of Steilacoon somewhat of a bedroom community for soldiers stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  The area has a selection of bars and restaurants overlooking the Puget Sound, ours was Top Side on this evening and as we were winding down we all enjoyed a beautiful sunset to send us on our way!

For more information on DuPont, Washington www.visitdupont.com and or the entire Tacoma and Pierce County area visit www.traveltacoma.com