Built atop a former sand and gravel quarry along the south shores of Puget Sound, Chambers Bay Golf Course (*6320 Grandview Dr W, University Place; chambersbaygolf.com) draws inspiration from Scotland’s famous links courses. 50 minutes south of Seattle, golfers are treated to a challenging 18 holes with lush fairways and greens framed by native grasses, rolling dunes, and sweeping water views. It was the site of the 2015 U.S. Open Championship – the first time the prestigious tournament had taken place in the Pacific Northwest, and only the third time the championship had been played on a public course, affording visitors the opportunity to retrace the footsteps of the U.S. Open winner by playing a round themselves.
Greater Seattle and, in fact, the entire state of Washington have seen an unprecedented boom in golf course construction and refurbishment over the past two decades. Acclaimed international architects have designed gorgeous links—many of them open to the public—throughout the region. For both players and fans, it’s a fantastic time to go golfing in Seattle.
This stunning 18-hole course—designed by renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones II in 2007—is open for public play. Greens fees run from $299 during the summer to $159 during the shoulder season, and tee times can be reserved as far as 90 days in advance.
Chambers Bay is unique in that motorized carts are not permitted on the course except for those with accessibility needs. When tackling these well-bunkered, fescue-grass fairways, carry your own bag, use a pull cart, or do as the course recommends and hire a caddy. Try the course’s excellent caddy program (around $80 per round), where knowledgeable caddies not only carry your clubs but also provide intel on yardage, hole qualities, and club selection. Given Chambers Bay’s many demanding doglegs, several greatly elevated tee boxes and greens, and sharply banked fairways, it’s likely you’ll appreciate insider advice from one of these seasoned local experts.
Didn’t pack your clubs? Chambers Bay has you covered there, too. Rent a set of woods, irons, and putters for $55 a day.
Even if you’re not a golfer, it’s still worth stopping by Chambers Bay for a stroll around the course and adjacent Chambers Creek Regional Park. Nature lovers can amble along 2.5 miles of public trails, including one that leads down to a pebbly beach. There’s also a promenade that affords magnificent views of the fairways and Puget Sound.
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Though Chambers Bay is deservedly basking in the international golf spotlight, there are several other outstanding courses in Seattle and the surrounding region. Here are a few more stunners to play, plus some conveniently located driving ranges.
Offering panoramic views of Puget Sound from several fairways, this course 25 miles north of Seattle will test any golfer’s mettle when it comes to courage and accuracy— treacherous water hazards come into play on every hole on the front nine. 11817 Harbour Pointe Blvd, Mukilteo; harbourpointegolf.com
Prepare for some sharp doglegs as well as tricky elevation changes on this gorgeously sculpted course with a stately Tudor-style clubhouse and a signature 18th finishing hole marked by a picturesque island green. *20414 121st Ave SE, Snohomish; echofallsgolf.com
Home to a pair of 18-hole layouts, Coal Creek and China Creek, this public course with an elegant clubhouse is favored by wildlife-watchers, too—it adjoins Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. *15500 Six Penny Ln, Newcastle; newcastlegolf.com
Known for its beautiful— though potentially frustrating—water hazards and exceptionally well-manicured greens and fairways, this John Fought–designed course hosts the University of Washington’s men’s and women’s teams. *14330 SE Husky
The newest of three Seattle Parks and Recreation courses—Jackson Park and Jefferson Park each have their devotees—this picturesque 18-holer with downtown and Elliott Bay views was designed by legendary architect H. Chandler Egan, of Pebble Beach fame. *West Seattle: 4470 35th Ave; *Jackson Park: 1000 NE 135th St; *Jefferson Park: 4101 Beacon Ave S; premiergc.com
The 115th U.S. Open Championship—and the first in the Pacific Northwest—took place at Chambers Bay Golf Course in summer 2015. *6320 Grandview Dr W, University Place; chambersbaygolf.com
Hone your skills on driving ranges and practice greens around Seattle. Great options include Interbay Golf Center, with its 40 heated stalls, and University of Washington Golf Driving Range, featuring chipping and putting greens, plus 43 tees. *Interbay: 2501 15th Ave W; premiergc.com; UW Golf Driving Range: 4209 Mary Gates Memorial Dr NE; washington.edu/ima/golf
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