U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP TO BE PLAYED ON RECLAIMED SAND, GRAVEL QUARRY
Course Highlights Industry’s Sustainability
ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 18, 2015– The 2015 U.S. Open, hosted by the Chambers Bay Golf Course on Puget Sound, Washington, is the first championship match played on a reclaimed sand and gravel site.
“The Chambers Bay golf course is just one high profile example of an aggregates operation that went on to a higher purpose of serving its community,” said National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association President and CEO Michael W. Johnson. “It exemplifies the sustainability of the stone, sand and gravel industry and shows what an asset an operation can be to future generations.”
Johnson, an avid golfer himself, noted that many former aggregates operations are transformed into parks, municipal water reservoirs, golf courses and amusement parks. Some are simply filled in and returned to their original state.
Over time the Chambers Bay site has been used as a paper mill, industrial center, several lumber companies, a railroad center, and eventually one of the most successful quarries on the West Coast.
Throughout its history, different aspects of the quarry changed hands numerous times before it was consolidated by Lone Star Northwest. Eventually it was bought by Glacier Northwest, a subsidiary of the CalPortland Company.
Ron Summers, Senior Vice President at CalPortland Company and one time manager of the site, has played the course. He said the underlying layer of sand and gravel makes the course hard and fast.
“It is going to be a challenging and exciting U.S. Open,” Summers said.
“Steilacoom grade” aggregate from the quarry was some of the best in the region and highly sought after because of its extreme hardness. It is estimated that 95% of Seattle was built on the site’s sand and gravel.
“The aggregates industry is central to American prosperity,” Johnson added. “There is nothing significant built in this country that doesn’t begin with a rock and the Chambers Bay course is no different. If the aggregates industry is doing well, America is doing well.”
NSSGA is the leading advocate for the aggregates industry. Its members – stone, sand and gravel producers and the equipment manufacturers and service providers who support them – produce the essential raw materials found in homes, buildings, roads, bridges and public works projects and represent more than 90 percent of the crushed stone and 70 percent of the sand and gravel mined annually in the United States. Production of aggregates in the U.S. in 2013 totaled more than 2 billion metric tons at a value of $18.6 billion. The aggregates industry employs approximately 100,000 highly-skilled men and women.
Chambers Bay History:
The area was originally settled by the Steilacoom Indian Tribe, who thrived in the region for more than 400 years.
Soon after Europeans discovered Puget Sound in 1792, Hudson Bay Company established trading posts and the non-native population began to grow. Thomas Chambers, a prominent judge and businessman, built the first flour, grist and saw mills in the area. He ushered in an era of industrial growth. Today a golf course, park, elementary school and creek are named after him. Ironically, Chambers never set foot in the area that now bears his name.
In 1890, the federal government contracted with the Pacific Bridge Company to begin mining the area for use in Army forts around the Sound.
The different aspects of the quarry changed hands numerous times before it was consolidated by Lone Star Northwest. Eventually it was bought by Glacier Northwest, a subsidiary of the CalPortland Company.
The quarry stretched from the waters of Puget Sound more than 3500 ft inland. In 1992, the property was purchased by Pierce County, Washington for $33 million. With an additional $21 million investment, the Chambers Bay Golf Course, designed by famed course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr., opened on the site in 2007.
Since Washington state had never having hosted the U.S. Open, Chambers Bay with its sand base was a natural choice for the tournament.
Due to the unique geological make up and being adjacent to Puget Sound the links-style course emulated the great Scottish course, St. Andrews. According to the course’s website, “Chambers Bay may be the closest recreation of a Scottish links land course this side of the Atlantic.”
It features a 70-foot tall sand dune covering seven acres, fairways the width of a football field and 60-foot long tees make this a dramatic course, with elevation changes, bunkers and greens providing character and playability.