Back to all posts

Chambers Bay – A Championship Landscape

Some of golf’s great championships have been decided on the fairways and greens of Chambers Bay—from the 2010 U.S. Amateur to the 2015 U.S. Open. And while this 18-hole, walking-only course in University Place, Wash. provides an authentic links experience for players of every ability, it will once again challenge some of the world’s best on May 22-26 in the 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship.

Before looking ahead, it’s worth revisiting the history of Chambers Bay. Spanning more than 950 acres along the shoreline of Puget Sound, the land first found use as a rock quarry stemming as far back as the Steilacoom Indian Tribe and the first European settlers in 1832. Over the years, it was used as a location for a paper mill, multiple lumber companies, a railroad center, a sand and gravel mine, a preservation and recreational area, and finally, in 2007, an 18-hole championship golf course.

From the start, the design challenge for Chambers Bay was simple yet formidable: Architect Robert Trent Jones II was asked to create a world-class course, enjoyable for golfers of any skill level, yet capable of hosting major championships. With its bold landforms shaped by wind and weather, this land provided the ideal medium upon which to build a true links course.

Designed to encourage imaginative and creative shot-making, there is no “line of play” but rather an infinite number of strategies from tee to green that will get the player around the course successfully. The traditionalist can appreciate the near mystical quality that comes with playing a links course like this. Experiencing the game’s highs and lows while traversing tawny fescue grasses, rugged sand dunes, and natural seaside beauty sets links golf apart from its inland cousin. These elements, combined with breathtaking views of Puget Sound and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains, create a sense of nirvana for players of Chambers Bay.

Train tracks border the holes as they do at such beloved links courses as Prestwick and Royal Adelaide. A public walking trail winds through the course, allowing walkers to form impromptu galleries just as they do at St. Andrews. No housing mars the purity of the holes, and no cart paths intrude upon the natural landscape. This award-winning course possesses all of the attributes of the world’s greatest golf links.

When the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship arrives (May 22-26), Chambers Bay will once again test the very best in the game. Known by many as better-ball or the shortened best-ball, four-ball is a widely popular format. The rules of four-ball call for each team–or side–to be composed of two players. Each person plays their own ball, and the lower score of the side is counted for the hole.

For this event, each side will play 36 holes of stroke play to reduce the field from 128 sides to the lowest 32 for match play. Like other USGA championships, the match play draw will be seeded according to stroke-play scores. Match play will then be contested over the final three days of the competition to determine a national champion.

Learn more about Chambers Bay and the 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at