I just want to say this might be a longer post than normal, but this course is not like the normal course. Driving out to Long Island can always seem like a massive trek. The traffic once you are on the island can be a beast, tons of switching expressways and New York drivers can make this a daunting trip alone and that doesn’t even count for the jitters of playing golf at a course like this. For golfers who live in the tri-state area, especially if you have a NY ID it is a must to play at Bethpage Black. A few things about the course itself, before I really get into it. It is considered the hardest of the five courses at Bethpage State Park. The course opened in 1936, it’s so hard they put up the famous sign in the early eighties to warn golfers. The course has hosted the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Open. In addition it hosted the 2019 PGA Championship where Brooks Koepka set the course record of 63(!!!) en route to winning for second straight time. And in 2025 the course will host the Ryder Cup for the first time.
This place is huge, when you drive up you see the big huge clubhouse in the background and parking galore! Pulling up it started to sprinkle but the weatherman said the heavy stuff wasn’t coming till later this afternoon so I headed in. They had the famous Rolex clock right by where you walk into a massive pro shop. After paying I just headed out, no sense in spending time on the range as the rain wasn’t really letting up. As you walk up to the first tee its nothing but history you remember seeing on TV, the warning sign, the elevated tee box and just imagining a nice day how many would be watching your first tee shot. Alas it was not nice and no one was watching unless you check out my Instagram then you can see me tee off.
On the first tee box everyone hits from the same basic area, which means there is not much difference in the back tee box as the middle tees. If I smash my driver I can really only go about 250, this I pushed it a bit right and landed in the first cut off the fairway about 210 yards out. With my second shot I went three wood off the first cut that would count as rough at some places. I could tell this was going to be a long day, with rain and wind and just this being Bethpage Black. Knocked my three wood about 170 yards leaving myself about a thirty yard chip on, got it on and two putted for bogey. Then I walked in the wrong direction because no one else was out playing, had to turn around and walk the other way. when I got to the second tee box it was raining not light rain but full on rain. Second hole got another bogey as the green is elevated and I did not make it up the hill. After this it started to get kinda ugly, I ended up with six double bogies on the day. Three on the front nine and three on the back, at least I was consistent. My only par attempt that I had came on seventeen, when I landed my chip from the right side on the green about seven feet away. Only problem by this time the rain had formed puddles on the green and you would need water-skis to get it into the hole. Like I said, this was an ugly round all together and the weather was the cherry on top.
Every time I play, even in bad weather I feel like I never want to be done. I think about the shots I missed or the ones I did well with and want to keep playing after I finish eighteen. Today was not one of those days. Playing a course like “The Black Course” is hard enough, but when it is cold, windy and rainy it is downright not fair. The only thing that made it somewhat fair was the greens where so wet they played very slow. By thirteen I would have stopped playing I was so soaked, but I thought I would have to walk the rest of the course so why not keep playing. At sixteen my glove was so wet it felt like the club was gonna go flying out of my hand on my swing. Seventeen was my best hole but the green was flooded and you couldn’t really putt on it. At eighteen I was so happy to be done and go and change into dry clothes and get into a dry warm car. I can’t wait to play the course again in better conditions to really give you a sense in how the average golfer would handle the course. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow along on Instagram and down below for the next blog. For now I am gonna try and get my clubs and bag dry, but when I go out next. I promise to try and hit them straight, but if I don’t I will yell “FORE”!
The High Handicapper