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Pierce County Excited about U.S. Open & U.S. Amateur Coming to Chambers Bay
Long before the first ball was teed up at Chambers Bay, Pierce County officials were working hard to attract a national championship. Those efforts have paid off after the USGA announced that the new course will host the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open.
"Chambers Bay was designed and built with a major championship in mind," said Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg, "but we never dreamed we'd be chosen by the USGA to host both the Amateur and the Open. Especially not so close to the opening of the course. It is a true honor."
The announcement brought satisfaction to the county executive who battled to win funding and community support for what he said from the beginning was an economic development and tourism project, as opposed to a recreational venture. Ladenburg's objective was to build a golf course that would complement other local attractions, such as the LeMay "America's Car Museum," by bringing golf and tourism dollars to Pierce County from across North America and beyond.
The U.S. Open is predicted to have a considerable economic impact on the county and surrounding area. Estimates go as high as $100 million. "Based on past championships, we expect more than 20,000 hotel rooms to be booked for as long as a week," said Denise Dyer, Pierce County Economic Development Director. "And that's just the beginning. There could be as many as 60,000 people dining in local restaurants, shopping in local stores, enjoying the local nightlife and doing all the other things tourists do everyday. There's no arguing the U.S. Open will provide a major boost to the local economy."
Chambers Bay will also host the 2010 U.S. Amateur. Pierce County didn't wait to get the nod before beginning preparations for the prestigious event. In hopes of impressing USGA officials of the area's seriousness and capabilities, Ladenburg created a task force in cooperation with local municipalities, transit organizations, law enforcement agencies, and other offices and departments to begin the process of successfully conducting a large-scale public event.
"It will take strong partnerships to pull this off," said Lynne Griffith, CEO of Pierce Transit, "and Pierce County has already taken a giant step in that direction." Griffith managed urban and suburban public transit programs in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympics. We will work together to make this a successful event."
A new clubhouse, lodging and practice facility are also in the plans for Chambers Bay. By the end of the month, Pierce County will send out a Request for Proposal to interested private developers. It is hoped the clubhouse will be ready for the U.S. Amateur in two years. The USGA will be involved in the process.
"The USGA has conducted a great many championships through the years. They know what goes into a successful clubhouse," said Ladenburg. "We want the developer to work closely with the USGA to make sure we have a structure golfers will enjoy and one that mirrors the quality of the course."
The casita-style lodging is expected to blend into the topography at the south end of the course. Housing will be limited to approximately 150 guests who will typically stay two or three days to play golf and enjoy the surrounding area. Pierce County will work with the city of University Place on permits, traffic and other issues.
"Chambers Bay lies within University Place," said Mayor Linda Bird. "Hosting a championship of this caliber and prestige will result in a tremendous economic opportunity for our city. We're looking forward to working with Pierce County to assure a successful event."
Geography played a significant role in the selection of Chambers Bay by the USGA. Situated on 250 acres of the 930-acre Chambers Creek Properties, the course offers spectacular views from every hole including Puget Sound, Anderson, Fox, McNeil and Ketron islands and the Olympic Mountains. "We've been told there are few comparable sites in the United States," Ladenburg said.
Since opening last June, Chambers Bay has received a number of accolades. The facility, operated by KemperSports, has garnered the following awards:
* "Best New Course of the Year" on Golf Magazine's list of the "Top 10 New Courses You Can Play"
* Number one in the Daily Fee category of Golf Inc.'s "Development of the Year"
* Travel + Leisure Golf magazine's 2007 Course of the Year
* Top-ranked daily fee/municipal course and No. 2 overall on Golfweek's "Best New Courses" list
* Golf Course Industry's Builder Excellence Award/Best New Course
For more information about Chambers Bay, visit www.chambersbaygolf.com.
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