Robert Trent Jones II (golf course) and The Miller/Hull Partnership in association with CHA Architects (structures)
2007 (golf course and trail) and 2008 (meadows)
Project Size (sf / site acreage):
University Place, Washington
Heritage Links (golf course), Continental Dirt Contractors (meadows)
Flack & Kurtz, Inc.
Flack & Kurtz, Inc.
Kemper Sports (golf course management)
Pierce County Public Works
Chambers Bay Golf Course (Chambers Bay) is an 18-hole links-style golf course built at the Chambers Creek Properties, a 928-acre site owned and operated by Pierce County Public Works. The Chambers Creek Properties span two miles of Puget Sound shoreline, three miles of forested creek canyon and 650 acres of former gravel mines. The majority of the 240 acres that the golf course, Soundview Trail and North and Central Meadows occupy operated as a gravel mine from the 1890s to 2003. Pierce County Public Works purchased the Chambers Creek Properties to sustainably redevelop and restore this unique site for public use, governmental services, and revenue generation. Adopting the motto, “reclaiming our resources,” Pierce County is using treated waste products from the County to return the mine to biological productivity. "<br>" The selection of a links-style golf course respects the qualities of this site, and contributes to a sustainable end result. A true traditional links course has characteristics which are found at Chambers Bay. They include: • Being built along a major body of water. Chambers Bay is situated along two miles of Puget Sound shoreline. • Very few trees, if any. Chambers Bay features only 1 tree, “lone fir.” • Sandy soil that drains easily. As the location of a former gravel mind, the site feature sandy soils. • An open, natural layout where the native landscape and the weather (wind and rain) factor into game play. • Ground contours that provide remarkable inherent undulations and slopes in the fairways and greens. • Rough areas feature pure seaside grasses, which Chambers Bay includes with fescue grasses left natural and thriving in the sandy soil and maritime climate. • Walking-only with no golf carts allowed. This allowed unique site features to be incorporated into the golf course design with no need for impervious golf cart paths. Other qualities of the site that show up in the end sustainable result include the following. • The native sands, gravels and rock were harvested from the site, a former gravel mine, sorted, screened, and used in construction. Over 1.5 million cubic yards of material were moved on-site to form the shapes and contours of the golf course requiring very minimal import of material. Where possible, natural contours on the site were preserved. This sandy soil on a gravel base provides for excellent infiltration, limiting the need for piped conveyance systems. • Respect for the region’s heritage of natural resources was honored by incorporating relics from the former mining operations into the design aesthetic. The large concrete sorting bins border the 18th hole and provide a buffer between the course, the Soundview Trail, and the Central Meadow. A giant concrete structure dubbed the “swing set” remains in the event lawn of the Central Meadow. • The design team protected and preserved a wetland. • Views of Puget Sound, including McNeil Island, Fox Island and the Olympic Mountains are preserved.
Toward Zero Energy:
• The project does not rely on any municipal water supply for irrigation. Irrigation water is pumped from the aquifer, and then drainage infiltrates the sandy soil to recharge the aquifer. The pumping systems are controlled by computer programs to optimize energy use, thus saving energy. In the future, irrigation will also come from reclaimed water from the Chambers Creek Waste Water Treatment plant located on the site. The reclaimed water piping is installed, but construction is forthcoming for the water reclamation plant at the Waste Water Treatment Plan. • The restrooms on the course use an advanced onsite sewage disposal technique to limit waste entering the municipal sewer. • Walking-only golf course with no golf carts allowed, limiting demand for fossil fuels and electricity, and eliminating emissions. • The fescue turf does not like to be short, thus requiring less mowing and hence less gasoline to power mowers. Also, this turf does not require traditional core aeration, so there is no need for a gas-powered machine.
Local and Sustainable Materials:
• The turf mixture of fescue grasses were selected to reduce the need for watering, fertilizing and mowing through the assistance of Washington State University Turf Grass Science Extension. Fescues favor well-drained sandy soils, low fertility, cool temperatures and moist climates making them a sensible choice for Chambers Bay. Fescue turf is not susceptible to the golf turf disease typically seen in Western Washington, nor the pest problems seen in other grass types. Native meadow mixes are used in areas not requiring turf. • The fertilizer used on the course is SoundGRO which is manufactured at Chambers Creek Properties at the Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. The fertilizer is produced from the biosolids of the wastewater treatment process and meets the EPA’s highest standards for biosolid safety. Its slow-release formula requires less frequent fertilizing and does not leach into groundwater. Through soil tests and visual assessments, a minimal amount of fertilizer is used. • Sand and drain rock mined on site is used in water infiltration facilities. • The Clubhouse is a modular building manufactured locally in Marysville, and the Starter Shack and Caddie Shack are modular facilities manufactured in regionally in Oregon. • The pole building used by the maintenance staff was manufactured locally in Edmonds. • The restrooms feature, durable, vandal-resistant materials. The roofs are made of local, glu-lam beams. • Tee box markers and hole signs utilize driftwood found on the site.
• Chambers Bay is the first golf course in the Pacific Northwest to earn a Silver Signature Certification in the Audubon International Cooperative Signature Sanctuary Program. This certification required a Natural Resource Management Plan that include chapters on “Water Conservation and Water Quality Management”, and “Environmental Water Monitoring Program”. • The project does not rely on any municipal water supply for irrigation. Irrigation water is pumped from the aquifer, and then drainage infiltrates the sandy soil to recharge the aquifer. In the future, irrigation will also come from reclaimed water from the Chambers Creek Waste Water Treatment plant located on the site. The reclaimed water piping is installed, but construction is forthcoming for the water reclamation plant at the Waste Water Treatment Plan. • The use of Evapotranspiration-based irrigation scheduling is estimated to save 4.1 to 13.4 million gallons of water the first year of operation at Chambers Bay. A weather station onsite calculates the wind, temperature, humidity, and photoperiod to determine the minimum amount of irrigation water required. This Evapotranspiration calculation is a sophisticated model based on scientific studies showing turf water loss from transpiration and evaporation. • Turf mixture was selected to reduce the need for watering, fertilizing and mowing. • Native meadow mixes are used in areas not requiring turf to reduce irrigation needs, as well as a third of the course featuring sand dune bunkers that require no irrigation. • Rather than use pesticides, the maintenance staff remove invasive species by hand (e.g. wild mustard, Himalaya blackberry, scotch broom, white sweetclover, tansy ragwort, knapweed, etc.). • Treatment of stormwater through bioswales and filtration protects water quality and there is no discharge to the adjacent Puget Sound. • Water quality testing is performed quarterly to document water quality parameters and as a monitoring mechanism for site management to ensure there are no negative environmental impacts. Surface water and sediment samples are taken from a pond at the north side of the property and surface water samples are taken from the irrigation pond at the south edge of the golf course. The results documented that there is no pesticide chemical water contaminates at the parts per billion detect level, and the inorganic chemical water quality parameters also show clean water parameters are met for surface water.
IEQ and Comfort:
Breathtaking views are afforded throughout the golf course, trail and meadows. One can gaze out west to Puget Sound, taking in the beauty of the Olympic Mountains with McNeil Island and Fox Island in the foreground. Looking to the south you see the Town of Steilacoom and Anderson Island, and Mount Rainier to the southeast. Climb the canyon of the Soundview Trail, and glimpses of the Narrows Passage and Bridge peak between the trees. Watch the golfers on the course and hear the occasional “four” as the trail winds through the dunes of the course. Imagine the mining operations of the past as you look at the giant concrete sorting bins and “swing set” preserved on the site. You hear the birds singing, children laughing, dogs barking and the passing of the train along the shoreline. Enjoy the smell and cooling effect of the salty breeze as it waifs off the water.
Collective Wisdom and Feedback:
• The work with Audubon International to certify Chambers Bay as a Silver Signature Sanctuary drew on collective wisdom. Beginning at project conception, the owner and design team worked with Audubon International to ensure the project would meet their stringent planning and environmental standards. Creating a Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP) is a requirement and includes sections addressing: Concept of Best Management Practices and Integrated Pest Management, Environmental Planning, Construction Management, Water Conservation and Water Quality Management, Environmental Water Monitoring Program, The Natural Resource Management Center, Waste Management and Energy Planning, Wildlife and Habitat Enhancement. • To maintain the Silver Signature certification by Audubon International, Chambers Bay provides an annual report outlining activities, and each year, Audubon International will perform a site visit audit to ensure the site continues to be managed and maintained according to the NRMP. • Robert Trent Jones II, the golf course architect, and landscape architect, Belt Collins, and Washington State University Turf Grass Science Extension worked together to select the appropriate mix of plants and turf. • Water quality testing is performed quarterly to document water quality parameters and as a monitoring mechanism for site management to ensure there are no negative environmental impacts. Surface water and sediment samples are taken from a pond at the north side of the property and surface water samples are taken from the irrigation pond at the south edge of the golf course. The results documented that there is no pesticide chemical water contaminates at the parts per billion detect level, and the inorganic chemical water quality parameters also show clean water parameters are met for surface water.
• The selection of Chambers Bay as the site of the 2015 U.S. Open and the 2010 U.S. Amateur by the US Golf Association demonstrates its ability to reach beyond its borders and engage the community and region at large. The reach of Chambers Bay is also evidenced in the number of nationally recognized awards received in just its opening year: o Top New Course of 2007, Travel + Leisure Golf magazine o Best New Course of 2007, Golf magazine o 2007 Development of the Year, Golf Inc. magazine o Ranked No. 2 of Golfweek’s Best New Courses for 2005-2007 • The golf course draws people from all areas with 40% of play by people from over 200 miles away. When the US Open is played at Chambers Bay in 2015, it is estimated attendance could be 65,000 people a day with a $100 million economic impact for the region. People from all areas will be able to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest in a golf setting typically seen only in Scotland and England. • By transforming a gravel mine to open space Pierce County has created passive and active recreational opportunities for generations to come in Pierce County and the Pacific Northwest. Pierce County undertook an extensive public involvement process to engage community and form a Master Site Plan for the Properties that realized the needs and desires of the community and region. The Master Site Plan calls for green development standards for the entire development including LEED or LEED-equivalent requirements for buildings. • The trail and meadows are used by people from throughout Pierce County and beyond. Hikers, walkers, runners, families, dog walkers, and bicyclists are all able to enjoy this community asset together. The meadows provide a place to build community through events. The project also preserves 2 miles of Puget Sound shoreline, with future plans for a public dock, and will be the longest expanse of public beach in the State.