Bethpage Black Golf Course Photos
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The Bethpage Black photos below picture Holes 1 through 18 of the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in New York.
There are actually five public golf courses within Bethpage State Park, run by the State of New York. But the Black Course is the famous one. It is ranked among the best public golf courses in the world, and it it considered one of the best courses of any type in the United States.
And it’s a major championship venue, having hosted the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.
Legendary architect A.W. Tillinghast is credited by most sources (including Bethpage itself) as the designer of Bethpage Black; however, Golf Digest has cited contemporaneous accounts describing Tillinghast as only a consultant, and argues that Joe Burbeck deserves design credit.
When you are finished with this photographic course tour, check out our profile and history of Bethpage Black for much more info about the history of the course and tournaments played there.
Bethpage Black: Warning Sign at 1st Hole
Of the five courses at Bethpage State Park, the Black Course is the most famous, and the toughest. How tough? So tough they put up a warning sign, which reads, “The Black Course is an extremely difficult course which we recommend only for highly skilled golfers.”
For everyday play, the Black Course tips out at 7,426 yards, with a par of 71, a USGA course rating of 77.5, and a USGA slope rating of the maximum 155.
The first hole sits just beyond that warning sign. Hole No. 1 at Bethpage Black is a par-4 of 430 yards that doglegs quickly to the right at about the hole’s middle length. Golfers must choose whether to play just to corner, or shape a shot around the dogleg.
Hole No. 2 is also a dogleg, but unlike the first hole this one doglegs only slightly, rather than severely; and to the left, rather than to the right. But although the dogleg is much less severe, large trees guard the corner.
The second hole is the shortest par-4 at Bethpage Black, tipping out at 389 yards. The approach to the green is uphill, and the green itself is small. But once on the green, golfers get one of the flatter putting surfaces on the course.
The third hole at Bethpage Black is the longest of the par-3 holes on the course at 232 yards. The elevated putting green is well-guarded by three big bunkers, and the green is at a diagonal to the tee, which makes the green play shallower.
Hole No. 4 at Bethpage Black is a short par-5, 517 yards, but plenty of trouble lurks. The diagonal row of bunkers you see near the middle of the image flank the upper level of fairway. That upper level of fairway then curls around to a green tucked back to the left behind a couple more protective bunkers.
The green slopes toward the back, and approaches that aren’t well-thought can bound off the back of the green and down a slope. A golfer going for the green in two will be playing an uphill approach, too.
But because of its length, No. 4 at Bethpage Black is considered one of the easier holes during major championship play.
One of the easier holes at Bethpage Black, No. 4, is followed by one of the most challenging, this one, No. 5. No. 4 was a short par-5, but this hole is a long par-4, 478 yards. The fifth hole requires a downhill tee shot, then an uphill approach to a green that slopes away from the golfer.
A very pretty hole, nearly the entire length of which is framed by a field of heather, the sixth hole is a 408-yard par-4. As you can see in the image, the putting surface is smallish and framed on both sides by large bunkers. The hole plays downhill for its full length.
The fourth hole, you might recall, is 517 yards and a par-5. This hole, No. 7, is 525 yards … and a par-4! Bethpage Black’s No. 7, during the 2009 U.S. Open, played as the longest par-4 in the history of that competition up to that time. A new rear teeing ground was added prior to the 2009 U.S. Open, adding 36 yards to the length the hole played at the 2002 U.S. Open.
Expect lots of bogeys at No. 7, which is a dogleg right with a green well-protected by a deep bunker.
The second of the two front-side par-3, the seventh hole at Bethpage Black measures 210 yards from the tournament tees. Golfers must carry the small body of water that fronts the green, with the green beginning just after the water’s edge. The tee shot is downhill.
This bunker, added by “Open Doctor” Rees Jones during his updates to Bethpage Black, is typical of many of the bunkers here with its fingers of sand and turf. It sits at the left corner of the dogleg on the 460-yard, par-4 No. 9. The fairway short of this bunker is severely sloping; the fairway beyond is fairly flat, so golfers who can carry the bunker have the advantage.
The back nine at Bethpage Black opens with another par-4 that tops 500 yards. This one tips out at 508 yards. The sand and heather you see in this image are themes on No. 10 — the fairway is framed by both, and on both sides. The tee ball requires a long carry over the rough.
The hole moves slightly to the left on the approach to the green, which itself has a guard of bunkers and fescue rough. Golfers carrying their shots too deep into the green risk running off the back and into a collection area.
Hole No. 11 is another one framed by fescue rough and fingerling bunkers. This hole is a 435-yard par-4, playing to a green that slopes severely from back to front and includes a lot of subtle (and some not so subtle) movement.
No. 12 is the last of three par-4s that tip out over 500 yards. It measures 504 yards. The hole doglegs lefts and a deep bunker guards the left corner; to clear it requires a carry of about 260 yards, but the prevailing wind hurts the tee ball. The approach is to a two-tiered green; landing on the correct tier is a major plus.
Hole No. 13 at Bethpage Black is the only par-5 on the back nine, and it’s a long one at 605 yards. Bunkers left of the fairway in landing area are recent additions. There’s also a deep cross bunker farther up the hole, close to the green, that might gather some errant layups or balls rolling toward the green.
The shortest par-3 on the Black Course is this one, No. 14, at 158 yards. The front of the green is narrow and well-guarded by two large bunkers. The back of the green is on another tier.
The 15th is a 459-yard par-4 that moves slightly to the left. The fairway is lined by fescue rough on both sides. The approach is two a two-tiered green that is elevated some 50 feet above the level of the fairway, and is well-bunkered.
This 490-yard par-4 plays from a highly elevated tee to a fairway that bends slightly to the left. The approach is to a green well-guarded by deep bunkers.
The 17th hole at Bethpage Black is a 207-yard par-3. The tee shot is uphill and the greens complex includes more sand than putting surface. The green plays shallow because it is at a diagonal to the line of play, and the green is surrounded by three bunkers in the front and front-left, one to the right and one to the back-right. The green is also two-tiered.
Bethpage Black closes with a straightaway par-4, with the clubhouse looming in the background. The hole measures 411 yards, making it one of the shortest par-4s on the course. It isn’t one of the toughest holes on the course, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The decision is whether to lay up short of the bunkers that pinch the fairway, or, with a downhill tee shot, try to thread the bunkers. An errant tee shot that winds up in those bunkers could mean trouble, and there are a couple deep bunkers guarding the green. The green sits uphill from the fairway.