Women’s U.S. Open Special Course, but not Chambers Bay
Lancaster Country Club, PA Special Place
Women’s U.S. Open 2015 id D
different! Well, the men have had their say at the U.S. Open business, and for the most part, Jordan Spieth and the Chamber Bay golf course did most of the talking. After that, everyone talked about Jordan Spieth and the Chamber Bay golf course. This coming week, the women are going to make their statement at the Women’s U.S. Open, and it’s going to be a different flavor of golf altogether.
Chambers Bay was a piece of real estate with an unruly attitude, and it wasn’t much appreciated by those who played it. A good shot could land and take off in an entirely irrational direction. You could slip and fall on the grass, you couldn’t tell where the fairway ended and the green began, and you couldn’t find a tree, anywhere. The women aren’t going anywhere near the Pacific Northwest this year, which brings up an irony, since much of the Northwest is nothing but trees, picturesque scenery and water.
The women are going play their U.S. Open in Pennsylvania, on another “special” piece of real estate boasting an East Coast version of picturesque – Pennsylvania, in the heart of Amish country, among the gentle rolling terrain of colonial America. You can almost see the three-cornered hat folks coming and going to Independence Hall in Philadelphia, but this isn’t in the big city. It’s out in the fresh air of the colonial countryside, a little ways from a major highway or an enormous metropolitan center. Should be beautiful, and then some.
Some would refer to a comparison between Chambers Bay and Lancaster Country Club as a masculine/feminine comparison, but that would make the male side of things look totally irrational. All right, that’s not unheard of. But, as I speak of the graceful, gently undulating fairways of Lancaster, you’ll notice that I’ve stayed a mile away from the word “easy” – because it isn’t, not by any stretch. This U.S. Women’s Open is being played on a William Flynn course, a designer who has suffered some neglect over the years. He has been described as a “routing genius,” and grew up as a kid playing against the likes of Francis Quimet, who beat the UK’s “Fearsome Threesome” to take the title.
Part of the problem is that Flynn didn’t design as many courses as his more famous counterparts, but just look at some of the thirty-nine in existence – Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York, for example. This U.S. Open is being played on what Golf Atlas called, “one of the best marriages between property and a master golf course architect.” What would they have said of Chambers Bay? One of the most contentious divorces between a brutish piece of real estate and a designer not in his right mind? With all of the beautiful courses in the Northwest, both Canada and the U.S., that would be a shame. Of the soft sun of the Pennsylvania countryside, there aren’t a lot of bunkers on some holes, and on others, none. Flynn saw the need for length as the equipment technology improved, and many of the par fours are a little extra long this year. As usual, long hitters have their usual advantages and dangers.
By the way, what’s become of our defending champion, Michelle Wie? Does she have another U.S. Women’s Open in her, now that she’s coming back from injuries that are particularly grievous for a golfer? Is she having a good time, or is she living the “eye of the tiger?” Is she practicing, or lounging by the pool? Is her confidence up or down? Does anyone know?