Chambers Bay overhauls greens, eyes Open return

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The browned-out greens at Chambers Bay that became such an eyesore at the 2015 U.S. Open will soon be a thing of the past as the public course sets its sights on hosting another major.

According to an Associated Press report, the venue in University Place, Wash., will soon begin a transition from fine fescue greens to putting surfaces that are composed entirely of poa annua grass.

Poa annua greens are prevalent in the Pacific Northwest, including at nearby Sahalee, because of the climate, but Chambers Bay opted for fescue when it opened in 2007. An unseasonably warm stretch leading up to its debut as a major host site allowed the invasive poa annua to thrive, and what players encountered two years ago were pock-marked putting surfaces that some likened to vegetables ranging from broccoli to cauliflower.

"We know the putting greens are an area of concern not just for future championships but for our customers," Matt Allen, the course's general manager, told AP. "That's why we're working so hard to make the progress that we are."

The report indicates that the transition to poa will take "several years" and will include maintenance staff simply allowing the grass to overtake the fescue naturally "with the USGA's blessing." The course is scheduled to host the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship in 2019, but the larger goal remains to land either a U.S. Women's Open - currently booked through 2021 - or a second U.S. Open.

The introduction of Chambers Bay marked the first time the U.S. Open was played in the Pacific Northwest. Future venues are currently finalized through 2026, although USGA executive director Mike Davis hinted at Erin Hills that a "tried and true" venue would be announced for 2027 in the coming months.