My opening moment of glory at Chambers Bay was stolen by a gray sheet of rainy fog.
I had heard through the golf rumor mill that the views from the clifftop clubhouse at Chambers Bay, overlooking the sprawling course and the Puget Sound near Tacoma, Washington, were to die for.
Unfortunately, the only thing I could see was a misty cloud so thick it reminded me of those old Scooby Doo episodes. The ones when Shaggy and Scooby would cut the fog with a knife and eat it.
"Welcome to Scotland gentleman!" a greeter said to a group of golfers dropping off their bags. His words, unfortunately, rang true. I worried Chambers Bay would play more like a links than I had bargained for.
It had been raining all morning, probably all night too, but there was promise of better weather in the afternoon. I pushed back my tee time an hour and sat in the clubhouse restaurant waiting for a reprieve.
I eventually teed off in full rain gear as the sky continued to drip. But the course, built in a former gravel pit, drains like a champ, so wet spots weren't an issue, a rarity in the Pacific Northwest.
And by the fifth hole, I had lost three layers of clothes and was bathed in sunshine. The real Chambers Bay had awakened.
I don't want to give away too much here ... I'll post a review of the course shortly ... but let's just say, Chambers Bay is a steal with greens fees between $149-$169 for visitors. Other coastline courses with such personality and zeal -- Bandon Dunes, Whistling Straights, Kiawah Island, Pebble Beach -- will cost you twice as much.
Taking a caddie (an additional $45) is a must on this walkers-only course. The caddies are more like mountain sherpas. Some of the holes climb up dramatic inclines. Others relentlessly tumble downhill toward the shoreline.
I was disappointed in how slow and shaggy the greens were, but other than that, my Chambers Bay experienced lived up to its hype. In a golf world filled with hyperbole and marketing spin, that is quite an accomplishment in itself.