How a columnist is doing his part, by playing an entire Sunday at stunning Chambers Bay

·4 min read

When you consider endurance challenges, you might think about mountain climbing or a marathon or something that could bring a competitor to his knees, wondering if he’ll be able to accomplish his incredible goal.

But no one thinks about golf in those terms. I mean, come on, it’s golf. How hard can it be to play a full day of golf?

A field of 136 players will find out on June 27 when the second annual Chambers Bay Solstice, sponsored by Tommy Bahama, is held at the University Place course that hosted the U.S. Open in 2015.

I played in the inaugural event last year and managed to get through 54 holes. I hit my first tee shot at 5:30 a.m. and hit my last putt at around 7:45 p.m.

Anyone who has played Chambers Bay will tell you it’s a tough walking course when you’re just playing one round. But three? Last year at the age of 63, I walked 22.4 miles and hit 265 shots, averaging 88 per round, taking 53,497 steps and climbing the equivalent of 382 floors.

This year I’m attempting to play 64 holes to match my age, and there will be enough daylight to have a shot at doing it. Last year there would not have been. Because of COVID-19, the Chambers Bay Solstice was pushed back to late July, reducing the amount of daylight.

This year on June 27th, the sun will rise at 5:16 a.m. and set at 9:10 p.m. So there’s enough daylight to get in 72 holes, and some players will try to complete four rounds.

U.S. Amateur Four-Ball
U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

A sailboat passes the course as competitors play the 10th green during the first round of stroke play at the 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Robert Beck/USGA)

Why am I doing this? Honestly, I don’t have a good answer aside from to benefit a great cause. Donations and proceeds from the event go to First Tee of Greater Seattle and South Puget Sound. First Tee is an organization designed for kids to learn life lessons and leadership skills while also being introduced to the game of golf.

After last year’s Chambers Bay Solstice, played in 83-degree weather, I was tired when I got to my truck for the drive home but not fall-down fatigued. I woke up that night with painful cramps in both legs, a reminder that I need to drink more water and less beer this year.

Jim Moore is a longtime Pacific Northwest sportswriter and sports radio personality, and writes a regular column for the Kitsap Sun, part of the USA Today Network.

I have a better idea of what to expect, but am I fooling myself thinking I can play 10 more holes this year than I did last year? I’ve put in enough training, I think, with many hikes up Cougar, Squak and Tiger Mountains over the past few months.

But last week I tweaked my knee while playing a warmup round at Chambers Bay and it’s been barking ever since. Will it hold up over 15 hours and 64 holes? Am I crazy for insisting on playing on 1 1/2 legs? Will I risk further damage to my knee? I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I guess I’ll find out soon.

My wife is even concerned I might collapse and croak. I told her if that happens, dying on a golf course wouldn’t be the worst way to go for someone who enjoys the game as much as I do.

Chambers Bay Solstice organizers will have plenty of on-course fluids available along with energy bars and other protein-packed goodies to help us along the way. It’s really a well-run event, and last year it was pretty cool when my three kids showed up for the last nine holes to help dad get to the finish line.

The field is sold out, but there’s still an opportunity to play in the Saturday night Social Event on June 26th featuring 18 holes of golf, skills contests and beverages and cocktails afterward. For more details and to sign up, visit ChambersBaySolstice.com.

Jim Moore is a longtime Pacific Northwest sportswriter and sports radio personality, and writes a regular column for the Kitsap Sun, part of the USA Today Network. Follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.