Golf's Hardest Walk?

Golf’s Hardest Walk?

cb3 shoes
It did not take long for my shoes to look like this.
At some point on Wednesday afternoon, I decided it was high time I attempted the long walk from the media center near the practice range at Chambers Bay to the 12th green at the far north end of the course. I got as far as the 10th green.
Those not familiar with the layout of the US Open venue, and those who think golf holes run in a straight line one after the other, will probably think I didn’t do too badly. “You got most of the way,” they’d say. “We heard it was pretty warm, hot even, so ten holes out of 12 isn’t terrible.”
Ah, those that do know the configuration of the dramatic Robert Trent Jones Jr design, will be well aware it was actually a pretty poor effort. In order to get to the 10th green, all I had to do was walk past the 18th tee, slide up the hill to the right of the 17th hole, limp past the 1st green, then climb the hill a little ways further to finish at the gorgeous 10th green, wedged in-between two rough-covered sand hills.
Instead of the 1,687 yards Google Earth says I’d need to traverse to wind my way through a network of paths and spectator walkways to get to the 12th hole, I managed 495.
I didn’t set a stopwatch so don’t know exactly how long it took to go these 495 yards, Nor do I know what the exact temperature was. What is known is that by the time I reached the green at the 10th, I was thankful to have one of Chambers Bay’s faux dunes on which to park my rump. I also know that even if you were one of the company’s top salespeople, you would not have been able to identify my once-gleaming TRUE Linkswear shoes, so covered in sand and dust were they.  
My young and averagely energetic kids will tell you their dad is not the fittest guy in the world. He might be able to stand and throw a baseball for a while, but soccer and basketball sessions are brief. I needed a drink. In my pocket was a bottle of water I’d nabbed from the press tent. It was cold when it left the building, tepid by the time it was opened.  
You’re in much better shape though, and would laugh at the 45 minutes or thereabouts it took me to travel such a short distance. Even so, I guarantee that at some point on your epic journey out to the 12th green, you too will require some kind of refreshment.
The pros have been saying all week how arduous the course is and that it will be as much a test of endurance as of skill. But really, theirs is a cakewalk compared to the cross-country scramble spectators face. And because the ground outside the ropes is mostly fine sand, it has the effect of adding significant yardage to the trek. Unless you’re lucky and find a firm stretch, you invariably sink into the ground a little.
Like me, Chambers Bay needed a drink.
This is hard work. And though I certainly wouldn’t want to stop you from following Rory or Jordan or Tiger or Rickie for all 18 holes if that is your wish, I do feel it my place to warn you that you will not only walk a long way in the heat of the day, you probably won’t see that many shots either. You’ll know you’re not the only person that came out to watch Rory. So on every hole you’ll be clambering over sandy and occasionally hostile ground to find your 12 inches of space through which you might get a partial view of the Irishman’s caddie.
This is what the grandstands are there for. There are approximately 18,000 seats (no cushions or armrests sadly) spread out around the course, and if you know what’s good for you, you will take some time to decide which hole you want to watch, locate the grandstand, find a seat, and remain there a good long while. When your man has passed through, or you’ve grown tired of that particular hole, simply move on to the next and find another seat.
You can only buy water on-site, you should cover yourself in sunscreen before you arrive, you must wear your most comfortable pair of shoes, a pair of sunglasses is a good idea, and a hat is essential.
Now, instead of having a tiring and frustrating day seeing very little of your favorite player, you will sit in relative comfort and have a terrific view of the action.
And what action you’ll see – the best golfers in the world trying to negotiate Chambers Bay’s slick slopes and eccentric greens. It’ll be fun, for you at least.







Add comment

Security code