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Chamber’s Bay is considered one of the most challenging courses in the U.S. The 2015 U.S. Open should draw thousands of golf fans from around the nation.
The ultimate test of golf will happen right here in the South Sound in just 20 months, when University Place's Chambers Bay Golf Course hosts the U.S. Open Championship June 18 to 21, 2015.
“There's still a lot of work, a lot of definition about how we'll do it,” said UP City Councilman and U.S. Open Task Force member Javier Figueroa. “Anything inside the ropes belongs to the U.S. Golf Association. They call the shots. But outside the gate, we're making a blueprint of how we want to put it together.”
Still under consideration is how to “dress up the city,” so to speak. That includes banner design, signage, the welcome package for guests, pavilion locations, and business briefings on cohesive themes for the event.
“How do we prepare local businesses for this, and other local groups that want to do something having to do with the USGA?” asked Figueroa.
The target is a draft plan by the end of this year, for which City Council plans on passing a resolution. By February or March, Figueroa said, themes, signage, business approach and other key angles will have been worked out. By next June, the University Place team wants to have the marketing strategy in place and ready to fire.
“The second the 2014 U.S. Open is over with, we will be in the spotlight,” Figueroa said. “So our goal is to have our plan in place by then, because once that's done, everyone will be asking what we're going to do.”
Some background on University Place proves that this isn't the first time the city has been in the limelight with regards to golf. In fact, after being chosen as the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the 2015 U.S. Open sites, the par-72, walking-only Chambers Bay course – which stretches from 5,100 to 7,585 yards on fescue turf from tee to green – is not only the scene for the country's two oldest golf championships, but also the sole Pacific Northwest course to host the latter competition.
That the site was chosen as Golf Magazine's Best New Course, as well as one of the publication's top U.S. and World courses, only added to the international accolades. Golf Digest, too, chose Chambers Bay as America's Best New Public Course in 2008, while both Golf Digest and Golfweek Magazine tapped the UP site as the best public course in the state.
Now, to prepare for hosting the 2015 event, Figueroa said that some of his committee and City Council members have been deep in research, as well as traveled to other U.S. Open locales.
“We've sent people in order to observe and understand, so that we can have more understanding of the U.S. Open and what it involves,” he said. “We need to know the best ways to control what we can, and how to plan for it, and budget for it, and implement it.”
What the city can't control, though, is the weather. However, if June 2015 is anything like this year, Figueroa said he has no worries.
“It's like being asked to go to a big event like the Oscars, and we're going to be sitting in the very front row with the nominees,” he explained. “So we need to figure out how to present ourselves, because what we will get by default is a huge amount of exposure for University Place at no cost, and a huge amount of traffic coming in and seeing what we're all about.”