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Bethpage Black Golf Course

Updated on September 19, 2014

The Bethpage Black Golf Course

A golf course has got to be tough if it was the host venue of the 2002 & 2009 US Opens. I am speaking of Bethpage State Park, located in New York state on Long Island, which represents the best public golf the US has to offer. In addition to the famous and demanding Black Course, Bethpage offers four other courses - Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow. Bethpage is a true test of golf, available to the average player and pro alike.

Public domain photo courtesy Golfcoursegurus

The 18th hole at The Bethpage Black Golf Course in Suffolk County on Long Island, New York.

Creative Commons Photo

Course Background

Wikipedia Info

In 1912, the railroad tycoon Benjamin Yoakum bought 1,368 acres of farmland and woodland in the Bethpage area. In 1923, the Lenox Hills Country Club, on land leased from Yoakum, opened as a semiprivate 18-hole course designed by Devereaux Emmet, the architect of the Garden City Golf Club. Years later Lenox Hills would be transformed into the Green Course.

Yoakum died in 1930 and four years later, in the midst of the Depression, the Bethpage State Park Authority was created by State Parks Commissioner Robert Moses. Construction of the clubhouse and three courses, under the supervision of the legendary golf architect A. W. Tillinghast, began in 1934 as a federal Works Progress Administration.

On Aug. 10, 1935, the Red and Blue courses opened, along with a revised Green Course and the Bethpage clubhouse, a Colonial-style building with a circular drive.

Tillinghast, who also designed Winged Foot and Baltusrol, is also considered the architect of the Black Course by Bethpage officials despite the claim by Joe Burbeck that his father, Joseph Burbeck, the original Bethpage superintendent, was the Black's real designer and that Tillinghast was merely a consultant. The Black opened in 1936.

In 1958, the Yellow Course was added. It absorbed some of the holes on the Blue and new holes were added to fill out both courses. In 1982 and again in 1987, the Black Course was refurbished; the bunkers were filled with new sand and restored to their original shape.

But those renovations were merely a touch of makeup compared to the architect Rees Jones's surgery transforming the Black Course into the site of the 2002 US Open. Playing 7,214-yard and a par 70, Bethpage Black was the longest golf course in Open history to that point. Tiger Woods, winner of the 2002 US Open, was the only player to finish below par with a three under (277).

Golf Digest has ranked Bethpage Black #26 in its most recent list of America's greatest golf courses, #6 in the state of New York, #6 of America's 50 toughest courses, and #5 in its list of America's greatest public golf courses. It is also the top-ranked course in the Golf Digest list that is operated by a governmental entity.

Bethpage Black will host the 2019 PGA Championship & 2024 Ryder Cup.

The Bethpage Welcome Mat

This sign "welcomes" the golfer to the first tee at The Bethpage Black Golf Course.

Photo courtesy: Swift Kicks: My first look at Bethpage Black

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Have you played any of the Bethpage courses? - Have you been to Bethpage to watch the pros? Have your say here.

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      GEMNITYA5 3 years ago

      Great Effort on your lens Bethpage-Black-Golf-Course

      Golf is one of my Fav. Sports

      Also shared on Facebook :)



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      anonymous 7 years ago

      Awesome lense! very informative. If you like Golf video games, you should check out World Golf Tour. It is a free online simulator game in HD that requires no download. They have a massive online community. Check it out for free...

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      readygolfer 8 years ago

      Thanks for a nice lens. It inspired me to put Bethpage on my 2009 "things to do" list. I live near New Haven, CT, which is not that far away.

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      Tom Fattes 9 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Great lens, I really like learning the history of different golf courses. Your lens is now featured in the Everything Golf group.