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Wednesday, November 13, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Variables can change overnight at Chambers Bay

Holes 1 and 18 can play as par-4s or par-5s any given day

Wide-open links-style fairways are the norm at Chambers Bay. Pictured: The 18th hole’s wide fairway surrounds a notably deep sand trap just visible to the right of the group of golfers. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Wide-open links-style fairways are the norm at Chambers Bay. Pictured: The 18th hole’s wide fairway surrounds a notably deep sand trap just visible to the right of the group of golfers. (Tyler Tjomsland)

Symbolic of Chambers Bay’s flexibility, Nos. 1 and 18 will alternate as par 4s and par 5s. For example, if No. 1 is set up as a 496-yard par 4, the 18th will be played as a 604-yard par 5. The following day, No. 1 might be a 598-yard par 5 and No. 18 will measure 525 yards as a par 4.

That will keep par at 70 but offer an interesting change to the daily set-up. The course will be set from 7,200-7,600 yards, depending on weather, wind, hole locations, etc., another indicator of Chambers Bay’s versatility.

As for 1 and 18, “we weren’t trying to be cute,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said. “It all gets down to the architecture of the course. It gives you so much wonderful flexibility. You can see the drive zones as par 4 and par 5 for both holes are completely different. There’s a risk-reward element for both holes and the putting greens are very bold designs in both cases.”

No. 1 can stretch between 496 and 598 yards. No. 18 measures 525 to 604 yards.

Three years ago a narrow, deep bunker was added to the landing zone for second shots when No. 18 plays as a par 5.

Davis said Chambers Bay offers “the most flexibility we’ve encountered. What it really does is challenge the players in practice rounds to learn as much as they can about the course. One element we feel is very important is your ability to think on your feet. We might surprise you with some element and in the heat of the battle how will you think, how will your caddy think? We feel that’s part of the test.”

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