Discussion Forum

OT: Bethpage Golf Courses

Played Bethpage all summer, once per week, sometimes twice. Fabulous grand tracks. Biggest oak trees I ever saw, 100’+, and about 1000 on each hole. Tons of doglegs, and with tree height, impossible to cut the corner(s).

Some notes:

Black and Red courses require NYS license, and there’s no buying for your friend(s) as they put hospital bracelets on you when you buy your tix, and the starter cuts them off at the 1st tee. Non-NYer’s can play, but check the price. These two courses are the best, the Black is a monster, and wouldn’t recommend anyone but single digit handicaps play it. Miss a fairway by 10 yards and not only won’t you find your ball, you won’t even look for it. The grass is 3’ high. The Red is similar in length, 7,000 yds. from the blue tees. Great course. Low rough.

Green, yellow, blue.- don’t need to be NYS resident. Around $30 to play. I play late (4pm) for $23. Play them in that order. One caveat, the green, like the two above, is 9 holes out(1.5 miles from the clubhouse) and 9 holes back in, so if you’re playing 9, be careful, unless you want to walk an hour in the dark. We played 1-7, 17 and 18 on the Green, which works, but not so easy on the Black, Red you can do something like that, 1-7, then 15 on in…but there may be players on those late holes.

Give yourself time to play. Lots of golfers out there, so hard to play quickly, and with twilight prices at 4 pm, lots of golfers wait til then. I started at 5 pm the other day, played 6 hoes in an hour, then ran into 4 fat guys in a cart, drinking beer and smoking cigars. Played 2 holes in next hour. Best thing about the courses? They’re big, majestic, plus other than the Black, you can find your ball. Might be in stand of 100’ oak trees, and have to punch out, but you can find it and hit it. Greens easy to putt. The 1st hole on the Red is 458 yards…from the white tees! A joy to play if you like to really bang it. No executive courses here.

If you’re tempted to play the Black, wait til your game is in mid-season form, and you better be 250+ off the tee and straight. Then you only have 160-190 yds in to half the par 4’s. ;)I don’t like the Blue at all. 4,5,6 and 9 stink, and haven’t played the back, but I hear it’s worse.

Very important: you can buy at the window walking up, but all players in group must be there. No buying tee times ahead without everyone there. If one of foursome is late, you have to wait for their arrival. Kind of weird. NYS residents can get phone ability to buy ahead a week, but I don’t do that.

Welcome to :wink:

By the way, I was born in Bethpage but have never played the course(s).

I used to cover Long Island for my job. I would get to the Island probably every two months or so. I always brought my sticks and I always took a day off to head to Bethpage. Only ever played the Red and Black. If you are single, as I was, you can head there in the morning and usually get on within an hour or two on the Black, even quicker for the Red (The Red hosted a US Senior Open, don’t recall the year though). Much easier than having a group of two, three, or four. I am not a resident of NYS, so I paid more, probably double the In-State rate, but well worth it for sure. Both Red and Black are fun, well laid-out tracks (AW Tillinghast design - very well known golf course designer) with plenty of length and nice greens. Actually for the amount of play the courses get, the greens are exceptional. Only drawback is the pace of play is EXTREMELY bad. The sign on the first tee is ignored for sure.

I’ve played the Black from the tips and its sick. 10, 11 and 12 is probably one of the hardest three hole stretches you can have. All par 4s measuring 502, 435, and 499. And there is no elevation change so it plays true.

The plot of land the golf courses sit on is just unreal and words cannot really describe it. Kudos to the State for keeping such a large chunk of land untouched.

Went to the US Open at Bethpage last year and, even though I went in with very high expectations, it exceeded them. I’ve never played it, but really hope to get up there and play the Black sometime in the next year or two. It will surely be my favorite course that I’ve ever played (bumping Caledonia Fish & Golf Club down in Myrtle Beach).

Thanks for the info, Kid. After the U.S. Open last year, a buddy and I faxed all the required personal information for an out-of-state resident to Bethpage to get in their advanced reservation system, but we never received an acknowledgment. I figured they had been swamped with applications and it had been lost, misplaced, whatever. The season ended and we kinda forgot about it this year. We really didn’t want to do the “sleep overnight in the car for one of the first six tee times” option. I called them today to find I am registered. In-state residents can reserve seven days in advance. Non-residents only two days, but was told mid-week times are often available. $130 for the Black for non-residents. Well worth the experience from what I hear.

Sorry to hear that. The Black isn’t that busy mid-week, but I usually play afternoons, and didn’t play it once this year. Too much for me. The Red is worth playing too, but no comparison in difficulty. Same length(almost, maybe 250 yds. shorter), but the rough on the Black is a killer. On the Red, it’s nothing. But you’ve got the 100’ trees on both. And the doglegs. On the Red front alone, the 2nd, 3rd(slight), 5th(par 5), 6th are doglegs. And they’re framed by those trees. The Black has blind shots. Ben Hogan walked off after the 4th hole, saying, “I don’t play a golf course with 2 blind shots in a row.” The second shot is to a fairway you can’t see, as it’s above you, with giant traps in between. Then, you can’t see the green, just the top of the flag. Disconcerting. You have to plan the hole from the tee, which is elevated, so you can see it all from there, but it’s really something to hit a tee shot where you can see everything, but when you get to your ball, you can’t see anything but the giant traps. Once you play it, you know better, but the first time, my goodness. Puts a lot of pressure on your game. You have no idea of the distance you can hit your second shot while standing over your ball.

BTW, no carts on the Black, walk only, which I prefer, but it’s tiring, and you need an oxygen tank to walk up to 15 green. Bring tick spray. Lots of pros, like Tom Lehman, like it better than Augusta National. I love the other courses cause you can bang the s*** out of your tee shots, and kind of have to at the Red, 6,600(white tees) to 7,000 yds.(blue tees), but the rough is low, so they’re not so penalizing for an errant hitter like me. Even the Green, which I like, and play a lot, is 6,600 from the blues. The driving range is weak, limited in length. You can’t hit driver. The pros use one of the holes, either the yellow or blue 1st hole, maybe both, as they’re next to eachother. Can’t remember. Another kind of oddity, they don’t put holes(cups) in the practice putting greens…any of them, and they have at least 3. Not sure why not. State workers. :wink: