Book Review: America’s St. Andrews
- Category: Book Reviews
- Published: 2016-01-10
Alfie Lau/iG - If you don’t have the coin to golf Chambers Bay, site of the 2015 US Open, then this might be the best alternative. And at $40, it gives you many hours of enjoyment and sheer wonderment that an old sand and gravel pit in the middle of literally nowhere will be hosting the Pacific Northwest’s first US Open in less than nine months.
Blaine Newnham and Tom Cade have put together a truly amazing book which chronicles the history of Chambers, from the vision of Pierce County executive John Ladenburg to the belief of the USGA’s Mike Davis that the US Open could be contested in Tacoma.
Newnham and Cade are able to trace the history of the site, from its humble gravel pit origins, to its current use as a championship golf course. But who knew that there are miles of walking paths all around the course, community celebrations, and even cross-country races at Chambers Bay each year?
As informative as the words are, what makes the book is the photography, courtesy of Rob Perry and Jason Mercio. Perry and Mercio must have spent hours and days getting just the right light for their shots, as they evoke the British Isles with its mix of green and brown hues on each hole.
In fact, open the coffee table book and the first dozen pages are a mix of the old and new pictures, shots of the old gravel pit mixed with shots of the current golf course.
Newnham and Cade give perspective to what a US Open in Washington State means for the people of the region and by referencing the first dry run, the 2010 US Amateur, and a second, lesser-known dry run, the 2013 Washington State Amateur, the duo give attendees of the 2015 US Open a good idea of what they will encounter. While everybody remembers how brown the course was for the 2010 US Amateur, held in August 2010 and won by Peter Uihlein, the significance of the Washington State Amateur is it was held in mid-June, the exact same time period of the 2015 US Open.
In those pictures, the course is decidedly more green and more indicative of what the course looks like most of the year in the rainy Pacific Northwest.
Also of note are the interviews with course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. and his team of youngbloods. Who knew that the original plan for Chambers Bay was for 27 holes, but that was changed once Jones and his team realized that 18 iconic holes were far more preferable than 27 very good holes.
With Christmas fast approaching, this is the perfect Christmas gift for anybody who’s either attending the 2015 US Open or planning to watch it on television. And if you’ve ever been lucky enough to tee it up at Chambers Bay, well, it will evoke some memories, some good for the holes you played well and some bad for those where the fescue or bunkers flummoxed you.
As for Newnham and Cade, it’s a tour de force of great reporting and come next June, it will probably be the must-have souvenir from the US Open Merchandise Tent.
The book is available at most reputable bookstores, but can also be ordered by going to www.AmericasStAndrews.com.
Follow Alfie Lau on Twitter at @AlfieLau.