Chambers Bay: Links course or not?
Why it is a links course
Grass: Chambers Bay was built entirely with fine fescue, on the tee boxes, the fairways and most notably, the putting surfaces. The grass is most prevalent in maritime climates and while it goes dormant for segments of the year, the grass rarely dies. Chambers Bay is the first U.S. Open to be played with fine fescue as the primary grass on the putting surfaces, rather than the typical bent grass or poa annua.
Sand: Before it was a golf course, the property was a sand and gravel quarry that eventually became a giant sandbox for course designers. There could not have been a better subsurface to construct a links-style golf course that used fine fescue grass.
Location: Links courses, by nature, are generally situated where the water meets the land.
Why it's not a links course
Elevation: This factor distinctly separates Chambers Bay. Links courses are built on flatter dunes with mounding in places, but no major elevation changes. Chambers Bay is full of ups-and-downs, including elevated tee shots on Nos. 5, 9 and 14, and the uphill, rising shots needed to play holes Nos. 4, 7, 12 and 13. From the top tee on the par 3 ninth, the drop from tee to green is more than 100 feet.
Land: Chambers Bay was not simply placed upon the sandy property. The dunes and mounds were man-made with bulldozers during construction.
The tree: OK, so this might be nitpicking since the one tree on the course at Chambers Bay doesn't even come into play. Among the courses for the final three majors this year Lone Fir is the only tree on the actual golf course.