Now that the U.S. Open is over and all the hub bub about the course and its “bumpy” greens has settled down I think it is important to realize that Chambers Bay probably would not have been built as a links-style course and selected for the 2015 Open were it not for the success of the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (some 400 miles to the south on the Southern Oregon Coast). Mike Keiser, resort owner and golf visionary, brought links-style golf with its fescue grasses to the Northwest and its success provided some of the rational for building a links-style course with fescue grasses to serve as a U.S. Open venue in University Place, WA. Having played two of Bandon’s courses (Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes) in the last several weeks gives testimony to the fact that smooth putting surfaces can be maintained with fescue and Poa annua grasses. Evidently Poa annua also has some perennial varieties that can show up after time and don’t seem to grow at the same rapid daily rates that the more common Poa annua does. The cooler temperatures in coastal Bandon may also slow the rapid daily growth of the Poa sp. But, all in all, I would bet that Chambers Bay can eventually maintain smooth rolling predictable greens and there is no reason that Chambers Bay should be excluded from consideration for future U.S. Opens. The picturesque site and the golf were spectacular. The end justified the means. The photo of the 3rd hole was taken during construction in 2007. Incidentally, the U.S. Amateur is going to be played at Bandon Dunes in 2020.
With practically all photography digital today it was refreshing and a bit disconcerting to get an assignment that called for large format film photography. It was a museum mural project and the client wanted the greater detail possible with 4×5 film. It had been many years since I lugged around my Toyo 4×5 field camera and all associated gear necessary for its operation; light meters, filters, heavy duty tripods, cable releases, focusing cloth, loupe, multiple lenses, film holders and of course film. A critical issue was locating film that wasn’t too outdated and current film processing labs. I ended up running exposure tests with film that had been home refrigerated for almost a decade after failing to find reliable film. The colors were not accurate but close enough to correct with high-end scanning and editing. I spent a weekend refamiliarizing myself with large format technique and film tests. I was finally ready for the shoot. I had forgotten how exciting it was to finally see the results of my work after waiting days for the film processing (I was a bit of a wimp and never processed my own film like some photographers). Was it worth it? Yes and no. The final product was spectacular. I had forgotten the detail possible when printed at 10ft. x 10ft. It made me nostalgic for the way it used to be done. Unfortunately, the turnaround time in these days of instant gratification and hard to justify expense will not take me back to those days unless a patron of photography knocks on my door.
I recently had the pleasure of playing Bandon Crossings in Bandon Oregon.
This is a great course that needs more exposure and play. The course is in great condition. The greens are beautiful and putt true. Thanks to Brant Hathorn, superintendent. There are tees for every player level. Every hole holds interest and challenge. The architect, Dan Hixson, has created a course that welcomes many return visits. The head professional, Jim Wakeman, is the consummate professional and the rest of the staff are courteous and helpful. I am looking forward to many more rounds.
A “gimme” can best be defined as an agreement between two golfers, neither of whom can putt very well. ~Author Unknown