Gary Player, winner of nine major golf championships and designer of over 300 golf courses, stated bluntly that Chambers Bay, home to this year’s U.S. Open, “is one of the worst golf courses I’ve seen in my 63 years as a pro.”
The 1965 U.S. Open champion, one of five in the game’s history to win the career Grand Slam, doesn’t think the course is a very good deal for the state of Washington or its amateur golfers:
The greens are so undulating, it’s 7,900 yards long, the world is in dire straits with water…. Can you imagine the costs to maintain this? And it’s a public golf course, but they’ll probably charge the public $200 to play it. I’d like to challenge anyone with a 16 handicap to do better than 40 over par. It’s basically unplayable.
Player contends that “professional golf has never been so healthy but amateur golf stinks.” The number of rounds played by handicap golfers are going down and many golf courses are going out of business. You can buy a golf course cheap if you are willing to take over the debt, contends the Australian, but no one with any business sense wants to do it.
Less people play because golf management companies spend billions of dollars throughout the world on making golf courses longer to suit the pro’s game, argues Player. “They are wasting all that money instead of putting it into youth programs to encourage kids to play golf,” he told Yahoo Sports.”
On top of this, the technology has gotten out of hand. Player laments, “The ball is going so far… Dustin Johnson hit for his second shot a wedge to the par five 13th at Augusta and Bubba Watson hit a nine iron over the green.” He points out that Augusta just bought two highways to put new tees in to make the holes longer.
Player, who also won two senior U.S. Opens, added that if a non professional goes out and plays Chambers Bay, the golfer’s wife is going to get peeved. “It’s going to take six hours to play it,” he said.
Player believes that efforts should be made to make golf courses cheaper and more playable to the amateur golfer. “The weekend golfers are the heart of the game. The pros are just Minnie Mouse when it comes to the importance of the amateur golfer.”