Fan's guide to U.S. Open: What to see, on the course and off
With the FedEx St. Jude Classic behind us, all eyes and pro shop televisions have turned to University Place, Wash., site of the 2015 U.S. Open. This week will see thousands of golf fans from all over embark on the Tacoma area to catch a glimpse of their favorite pros as the biggest names in golf look to either add to their major championship trophy case or join the elite major group. But where should you watch, what should you do, where should you golf and where should you drink? Here is a helpful guide to the Tacoma area.
BEST VIEWING AREAS AT CHAMBERS BAY
Ninth hole. Two different tees means we will either see a downhill par-3 playing 217 yards or an uphill par-3 playing 224 (but it will feel more like 240). It’s a prime example of how different Chambers Bay can play and a great spot to catch the most creative par-3 on the golf course.
14th tee. If you can get a spot behind the 14th tee, do it. A downhill par-4, the 14th will be a beautiful place to not only see guys pounding drivers, but it’s one of the highest points at Chambers Bay. That means you can see other action going on elsewhere.
15th green/16th tee. The signature par-3 will be fun for a number of reasons, but I think certain hole locations will make for some of the most fun, and creative, putts and wedge shots on the property. Along with that, one day we will see the 16th tees moved up so guys can go for the green with the driver, and we will see eagles for guys who pull it off and bogeys (or worse) for players who bail out left, or even worse, go right toward the train tracks. It’ll be a fun start to a closing stretch that could go risk/reward par-4, par-3 and birdie-friendly par-5.
GOOD PLACES TO GRAB A BREW
Odd Otter Brewing Company. This simple little brewery has plenty of seating, great beers on tap and a local feel. Plus, it’s within walking distance if you’re staying in downtown Tacoma.
Tacoma Brewing Company. There’s an assortment of different beers on tap, including a coffee IPA and a Summer Bourbon Stout that’s been aged more than a year. Just make sure to check the hours to make sure it’s open when you’re thinking of swinging by, as it tends to close earlier than most bars in the area.
The Office Bar & Grill. This is a great spot if you’re looking for someone showing golf highlights or a ballgame. There are plenty of beers on tap, and if you go to their website you can print out a coupon for a free dessert if you stop in.
GOOD PLACES TO EAT (WITH A VIEW)
Duke’s Chowder House. Located right on Commencement Bay, Duke’s has a great happy hour, and the menu is tough to beat. Eat on the deck if the weather holds, and -- considering how busy Tacoma will be this week -- it would save you some time to call and make reservations.
Ram Restaurant and Brewery. This one has a bit more of a relaxed feel, with big TVs in the bar area but still a great view of the Bay. Ram’s is a solid spot if you’re with a group of buddies looking to snag some dinner and recap the day.
The Lobster Shop. How can you go wrong with a Washington-based restaurant with this name? Great food, but a bit pricey, so make sure either your boss or your expense account is buying.
WHERE TO PLAY
Olympic Golf Course at Gold Mountain. Fun and beautiful with a great closing stretch, Olympic Golf Club is worth checking out.
Salish Cliffs. Re-opened in 2011, Salish Cliffs is a great spot to play close to Chambers Bay and is known to have beautiful views of the Kamilche Valley.
Gamble Sands. Just warning you, it’s a hike from the Tacoma-Seattle area, but the David McLay Kidd design gets plenty of high praise and is worth testing out if you’re looking for a day trip away from the hustle and bustle that comes with a major championship.