Ranked 35th in the world
Ranked 42nd in the US
Bethpage Black Course Review
The first thing you notice about Bethpage Black once you arrive is the size of the facility, Bethpage has 5 golf courses with the Black course being the most famous. The Black course opened in 1936 and was designed by AW Tillinghast who also designed the Red and Blue courses. The Black has hosted two US Opens won by Tiger Woods and Lucas Glover and has hosted the PGA Playoff event The Barclays in 2012 and will host it again in 2016. Once your opening tee shot is hit you can see why the sign is front and center before you take the walk down the steps and onto the tee box. This course is designed in the Penal school of design but penal doesn’t begin to describe how tough this course really is. The combination of length, height of rough, bunkers and carry to greens and fairways make this course a brutal test on the best of days.
Before you even step on the first tee you are warned that the Black course is extremely tough. Once you have your wrist band removed and you have showed your receipt your are ask to put your bags on the bricks by the starter.
I was fortunate enough to play on a day that was supposed to rain but our group didn’t see a drop until the 18th hole. I also lucked out on the fact that we didn’t run into another group until the 13the hole so there was virtually no waiting, a rare thing at Bethpage. I think the most often asked question about Bethpage Black is how to you play it, click here to for information on playing Bethpage, long and short of it is you send in your registration information you get a registration number and use that number to book a time on one of the courses. If your a NY resident you can book 7 days in advance for everyone else its 2 days in advance.
1st Tee – This 430 yd hole plays about 400 yds the tee shot is downhill and a ball finding the right side of the fairway will have a shorter shot into the green. The green itself guarded by bunkers left and right a common theme at the Black.
2nd Hole – A real birdie opportunity exists on this hole, the best drive hugs the left part of the fairway leaving you with a uphill shot to a green sitting 20ft above the fairway. Most players at the US Open where using PW and SW into this green. For the average player a 8 or 9 and below is a good club to come into the green with.
3rd Hole 232 yds – Par 3 can play like a beast – take enough club to carry the front bunker but don’t over club as any ball hit over the green you will face a very steep uphill second shot.
4th Hole 517 yds Par 5 – This hole is a great example of a strategic hole, a good drive will leave you with two choices go at the green or lay it up over the fairway bunkers just ahead of you or go right leaving yourself with a short up hill shot. A bad drive will leave you with the option of laying it up short of the cross bunkers or trying to get up onto the 2nd fairway all in all a very great hole with lots of choices.
5th Hole 478 yds Par 4 – The tee shot is elevated you must avoid the right hand bunkers that go down the length of the hole, your second shot it hit to an elevated green 20ft above the fairway. The best angle on this hole is to hug the right side of the fairway it will give you the best look at the pin.
6th Hole 408 yds Par 4 This slight dogleg left hole can be birdied, you must either hit past the bunkers guarding the left and right side of the fairway or lay back short of them, your second shot must be flown onto the green as bunkers surround this green an no run up shot is available.
7th Hole 553 yds Par 4 – This long par 4 can play even longer if your ball is not hit in the proper spot, players must avoid the large bunker left as any shot hit into it your second shot will be a layup into the fairway as a series of large trees protect the end of the dogleg. Shots out to the right can advance the ball to the green. The green is guarded by two bunkers left and right but you can run your ball onto this green.
8th Hole 210 yds Par 3 – This is one of the most picturesque holes on the golf course, the tee shot it hit from an elevated tee hit to a green 40ft below. The green is very narrow and long which makes it important to have the right club in your hand.
9th Hole 460 yds Par 4 – This long par 4 hole is setup by the tee shot players must avoid the bunker on the left of the dogleg, anything hit short of the bunker will leave a blind second shot to the green, the best angle is up the right side of the fairway leaving the player with a open look at the green. Your ball must be flown onto the green as two bunkers guard the entrance right and left.
10th Hole 502 yds Par 4 This monster par 4 is guarded by 7 large bunkers left and right of the fairway. The hole is straight so a tee shot down the middle of the fairway is the best angle here. There is a valley between the fairway and green and two bunker guard the front of the green so your second shot must carry all the way to the green or you risk being in one the the deep bunkers.
The 11th Hole 435yds Par 4 This hole has 7 bunker and shares fairway bunkers on the tenth hole, the hole itself is straight and any drive in the fairway is a good tee shot. Your second shot must be carried onto the green to avoid the two bunkers guarding the front of the hole. There is a small run up area on the front of this green for any shots left short.
The 12 Hole 501 yds Par 4 – This hole can play shorter than its yardage if you can carry the bunker on the corner of the dogleg left hole. Any shots finding the fairway bunker will have a blind second shot and most likely a lay up. The second shot into this hole is straightforward bunkers guard both sides of the green but there is a large run up area here for any balls not carrying onto the green.
13th Hole 603 yds Par 5 – There isn’t much trouble on this monster par 5 hole, its greatest defense is its length. A good drive anywhere on the fairway is good here. A well placed bunker at 230yds from the green has to be avoided for any drives not finding the fairway on the tee shot. There isn’t much trouble on the 3rd shot into the green here a small bunker right of the green and a bunker 50 yds from the green are the only obstacles
14th Hole Hole 161 yds Par 3 – Your shot is hit from an elevated tee box to a green 15 ft below. The ball must hit the green or you may end up in the two very steep bunkers guarding the front of the green. The best shot is the carry your ball past the bunker on the right.
15th Hole 478 yds Par 4 – This par 4 is setup by the tee shot, any ball not finding the fairway here you will be forced to layup to the bottom of the hill. The green sits 50 ft above the fairway and you can only see the flag from the fairway. Not much trouble here other than the fairway rough and the steep up slope to the green
16th Hole 490 yds Par 4 – The I played this hole it was into the wind and the tee was on the back tee pad – yikes what a nasty par 5!! Now I now how Sergio felt about not being able to reach the fairways in that first US Open. The only trouble here is not finding the fairway which is 50 ft below you. The green is set at an angle so not matter where you play your second or third shot your shot must carry the right green side bunker
17th Hole 207 yds – Par 3 – This hole is all about carrying your ball onto the green, any shot not carrying onto the green will land in one of the bunkers fronting this green. This green is similar to hitting to an island green but without the water surrounding it.
18th Hole 411 yds Par 4 – The first thing you see standing on the tee here is the ridiculous amount of bunkers left and right of your landing area, its visually intimidating. The best tee shot is left short of all the trouble which sets up a 20ft up hill shot to the green surrounded by two large bunkers.