Preparing a course for championship play usually involves two things: A lot of equipment and little sleep. That was true for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington. It was the first time a U.S. Open championship had been played in the Pacific Northwest, and the unique course posed challenges for players and grounds crews alike.


Unique Course Demands

Situated on the shores of Puget Sound, Chambers Bay is a British links-style course with rolling fairways, undulating greens, towering dunes and unpredictable winds from the sound. The 250-acre (100 ha) municipal course was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., and was built on the site of a former sand and gravel mine.


Because of the fine fescue grass and lack of rough to turn around, crews needed lightweight, maneuverable mowers that wouldn’t damage the turf. The Toro Company and Western Equipment Distributors of Kent, Washington, supplied the solution with 16 Reelmaster® 3550 fairway mowers to supplement the course’s own Reelmaster fleet.


Why Toro® Reelmaster 3550?

At a weight of less than 2,000 lbs. (900 kg), the Reelmaster 3550 is the lightest of its kind on the market, so it floats over fairways and green surrounds. It also features a series/parallel 3-wheel drive system that turns on a dime without tearing up the turf. This configuration is a real time-saver compared to 4-wheel machines that have to swing wide to make a light bulb-shaped turn.


In addition, the cutting units were equipped with Toro’s EdgeMax™ bedknives for an exceptional after-cut appearance. Together, these features were the perfect fit for the demands of Chambers Bay’s U.S. Open preparations.

Nearly 100 Toro Units Delivered

Toro and Western Equipment Distributors supplied a total of 99 pieces of Toro equipment for the June event. Truckloads of Toro products were delivered, including Greensmaster® TriFlex™ 3420 hybrid mowers and Flex™ 2100 walk mowers, GreensPro® 1240 riding greens rollers, and SandPro® 5040 and 2040Z sand trap rakes. Light- and heavy-duty Workman utility vehicles and Groundsmaster® 4300 contour rough mowers were also provided.


These machines were put to good use, with crews arriving as early as 3:30 a.m. each day to make sure all the morning prep was complete before the 7 a.m. tee times. Mowing had to be done before spectators and golfers arrived — so time savings was an important factor.

“The tournament went very well,” says Boyd Montgomery, regional business manager at The Toro Company, who was on hand for the event. “It was a challenging course for the golfers, and those who practiced and spent the time out on the course were the ones on top of the leaderboard.”


According to Montgomery, the course’s director of agronomy, Eric Johnson, and course superintendent, Josh Lewis, started each morning with a great attitude and a positive outlook on the events of the day. “The grounds staff and volunteers at Chambers Bay and the KemperSports management team did an outstanding job with event logistics and making sure things went smoothly,” Montgomery added. “You could see that everyone was just enjoying the experience.”

For more about the Toro equipment used in U.S. Open preparations, visit