Bethpage Black: You Have Been Warned

Playing a round at the Bethpage State Park Black Course, is truly one of the toughest tests you’ll ever have to endure as a golfer.  Despite this, it is hands down one of my favorite golf courses to play.  Luckily, I live only 5 min. away from Bethpage State Park.  I have played this course a countless amount of times.

You know a golf course is tough when a warning sign is displayed on the first tee, advising only “highly skilled golfers” to continue.  Not to mention the fact that ‘The Black’ has hosted two U.S. Open Championships.

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What really makes The Black so hard?  It is nearly impossible to summarize in one word, simply because there are so many many reasons why.

First, you cannot miss fairways on this course.  Even during the fall, the rough is grown out to the point where if you’re outside 150 yards, there is almost no chance of reaching the green.  That is especially tough for The Black course because it it so long.  Unless you can pound your tee shots 300 yards, you’re going to have a long iron, or even a hybrid or wood, into every par 4.

The Black is not easy around the green either.  Although the greens are all pretty flat, the subtle breaks are what makes it so hard to sink putts.  It some cases, it is nearly impossible to read putts correctly, unless you have putt on that green before.

The front nine, which is still tougher than your average pubic course, is where you are going to get your scoring in.  Although there are some very tough holes, such as the par 4 5th hole, there are a couple parable, and possibly birdiable holes.  The highlight of the front is the par 5, 4th hole.  The fairway bunkering on this hole is truly magnificent.  Not to mention that it is a two-tiered par 5.

The back nine is a different story.  Every time I play this course I’ll go out and and shoot a decent score on the front nine, and then follow it with a miserable back.  Every fairway is tough to hit.  Every hole is long.  Every green is well-protected with elevated greens and creative bunkering.  The par 3 17th hole is my highlight on the back.  Depending on the tee location, this hole can play 165 yds. or 210.  As you can see in the gallery, the bunkering hides the green in such a unique way.  Not to mention the fact that this is the “stadium hole” of the course.  You can see the grandstands set up around that green, prior to The Barclays Tournament.

I would recommend The Bethpage Black to golfers who enjoy a nice challenge.  This course is not for the faint of heart.  Despite the difficulty of The Black, I always walk up the 18th fairway asking myself the question, “Why would I want to play any other course?”


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