There used to be a secret pathway I found and used on a daily basis to get to the furthest of the five courses from the parking lot, The Green Course. Exiting from the far end of the driving range, skirting the far end of the clubhouse, emerging next to the back putting green and checking in with the starter, off I would go. Back then, circa 2009, I played 18 on Yellow or Green to ready myself for 18 on The Black. Gosh I miss those days.
The first hole plays left to right, hit a 3 wood or less if your long, don't miss right and under the tunnel you go until re-emerging four hours later to play #18.
The Green plays comfortably in terms of difficulty level, no hole will cut your mental game in half like The Black can and has and will do again. #3 is an uphill par three, about a buck fifty yards which is tricky to judge distance so club up. #4 and #5 are fun little tpar fours with subtle doglegs and flat greens, #6 is a great par three playing 200, all carry.
The back nine is not punishing unlike the other Bethpage courses, yet #17 can create problems when the wind up up and against you. Par fives are reachable for longer players, not only the gorilla long. The ones you toss a Hans full of bananas to after their tee shot. (Yours truly) I love banannas.
This is a must-play course for any serious golfer. If you can deal with the challenging tee time reservation process and walking all 18 holes (no carts allowed), you will experience one of the greatest golfing challenges out there in the most immaculate conditions, especially for a municipal course.
This is no regular municipal course though as it is definitely on par with the best private golf clubs out there period. That said, Bethpage Black is a daunting course that requires intense concentration, strategic course management, solid ball-striking and short game skills.
Simply put, there is a reason why Bethpage Black has hosted 2 US Opens over the past decade, several FedEx Cup playoff events and the 2019 PGA Championship.
One suggestion, however, is to bring along plenty of water, gatorade, energy bars and snacks to keep your energy and hydration up throughout the round. I would also recommend renting one of the pull-carts as well to conserve more energy.
It lives up to the hype!
This is a long, tough course. But it is beautiful and fun to play. Most holes have a lot of character and are very unique and memorable. There are massive bunkers all over the place and I play 5 times more bunker shots than I do on any other course. Lot of dog legs requiring more accuracy on the distance and location of the drive. And for me, who is not a very long hitter, I play some par 4's as par 5's. The rough is tough, check how the ball is sitting, and if it is sitting down you need to take your medicine and punch out (you will end up in a bunker otherwise). It is kept in excellent condition, especially for a state course. Overall a great experience and worth doing.
I play there pretty often since it is a half hour from me, and am often paired up with others playing for the first time. I have yet to play with someone (either paired up with or a friend) who didn't come off the course saying it is an amazing course and they loved it (even if it did beat them up).
Some notes on getting a tee time. I play on the weekends (only option for me) and I usually get there around 5am. As a single I can typically get a tee time around 7am give or take. But don't take that as a fact, it varies day to day.
Hands down the best public course I've ever play on for every single reason you could imagine.
Layout - Gorgeous, varying, challenging
Conditions - Immaculate and they do everything they can to keep it that way
Price - SOOOO worth it. To be able to play this place for 50 bucks (NY resident) is amazing, this place would still be worth it at double the price
Pace of play - I've played here a number of times now and my rounds have varied in length from about 4:15 at the shortest to 5:15 at the longest. Even at the longest, that isn't bad considering carts aren't allowed and the course is hellishly difficult compared to most. You won't be waiting around much on the course unless you get unlucky. There's no protection from a randomly terrible group trying to play a course they can't handle. Getting a tee time on the other hand can be a terrible experience if you show up on a beautiful weekend day.
My favorite course in the NYC area.
Fenway Park, Madison Square Garden, Wimbledon, Daytona International Speedway. No matter what sport you choose, there are certain arenas, courts, tracks, courses, etc. that transcend the sports they were created for and become holy ground. Now playing a few innings at Fenway or taking a couple laps at Daytona are dreams that few fans and sports lovers ever get to achieve in real life. This is just another reason why I love the game of golf so much. No other sport allows you the opportunity to try your luck in the same place as some of the greatest to ever play the game. Case in point: the round I was fortunate enough to play yesterday wasn't on just any old golf course. I played 18 holes at Bethpage Black, the site of the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Open, as well as the future site of the 2019 PGA Championship and the 2024 Ryder Cup
For a hole by hole review and photos of the course visit my blog below!