Chambers Bay was built with the intention of luring a future U.S. Open. Just eight years after it opened, the Tacoma, Wash.-area course did just that, albeit in controversial fashion.
Now, Greenbrier owner Jim Justice is hoping to attract the first-ever U.S. Open to West Virginia by hiring Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino to design a Franken-course that blends their experience and architectural vision.
Justice, who is running for the governorship in West Virginia, has a mountaintop plot of land just off the Greenbrier property that will be shaped by the four golf legends. The course will be part of a project which will include a private ski facility and be available only to members of the Greenbrier Sporting Club, the resort’s high-end real-estate development. Justice plans to break ground in the next 30 days and expects the course to open next fall.
The course will be built on part of an 800-acre parcel of land in the Allegheny Mountains overlooking historic Oakhurst Links, another Justice property, thought to be the oldest course in the United States. Justice acquired the land, originally purchased for a similar resort, in 2014 after bank owners propositioned him to purchase. The original owners had hired Nicklaus to design a course there. Now he has Palmer, who has won on the resort’s Old White TPC, as well Player and Trevino, recently named the resort’s new pro emertius.
“It’s something that has never happened before, it will probably never happen again,” Justice said. “Arnold Palmer is 86 years old. The odds of this ever happening again aren’t great. And so now, we have history happening right in front of us, right here in West Virginia.”
Justice seems pretty confident that the USGA will take notice of this project.
“Why not have the U.S. Open in West Virginia?” Justice said, according to the West Virginia Gazette. “How could the USGA, how could they turn their back on these four icons, their course?”