Working in the marketing Industry to pay for my golf passion, I’m very interested in any kind of promotion strategy in the golf world, and till now, the best I’ve seen is Bethpage Black course! One cheap cardboard display that no one ignores!
Since I arrived in NYC, almost every single golfer I met would point me towards this public course as the hardest in the US (rated 78), sharing stories of them sleeping in their cars in the hope to get a 6am tee time… Not something I would do I have to admit…
So as in Scotland’s St Andrews Old Course where I got lucky winning a ballot tee time August 15th with a beautiful weather, my buddies called every day hoping to get a spot from someone who would cancel and we got it for the following sunny Saturday!
A little history: the public course was opened in 1936 to be a kind of « Municipal Mecca », probably by the superintendent of the state park Joseph Burbeck, with the consultancy help of Winged foot, Baltusrol, and other famous courses Architect Tillinghast.
For the weekend, if you are a non resident it is 150$, so bring your state ID (that will be very well verified) to pay the awesome fee of 75$ for probably the best 18 holes you’ll play in NY. Credit cards accepted.
If you want to rent a cart for your bag, and I would recommend since it is long and hilly, it will cost you 5 bucks, and 8 bucks for a small bucket to practice, 10 for the large.
And of course, don’t forget that you need to go there. From Manhattan, either the train, probably 35$for the train and 20 dollars for a cab from the station to the course, going and coming back. With my friends we rented a car for the day, 50$ each x3. Worth it!
When you finally get there after 1h30 driving, it makes you think of Augusta’s famous Magnolia Lane!
If you’ve read my previous articles, appart from the cheapest Bronx Moshulu 9 holes golf course, CX in NY golf courses is non existent, but here, you get a minimum service that at least is not disgraceful.
Here, it is a succession of verification, tee time, IDs, credit cards, then they put you a yellow bracelet that can and will only be cut by the starter. BTW, the starter will also verify your starting time on the ticket.
And needless to mention the Veteran’s attitude responsible for the Practice/carts facility. Minimum service, and you better make it simple, don’t complicate the transaction with complex package configurations of cart and buckets…
Anyhow, got to say the grade goes up with the kind starter that probably’s been there a long time and that with pleasure will take a lot of pictures of you in front of the famous card board display until you’re in your best light!
3-Fun Score: 19/20
I was lucky to play it with a cold but very sunny weather on the Saturday before Barstool Sports tested it on Sunday with a shitty weather, rain and wind, but as they said, I’m sure this is the kind you enjoy on every kind of weather.
You go there to test your physical resistance on a hilly 6,700 yards walking (no golf carts allowed), with very long par 4s, and your mental resistance on a course created to put you out of the fairway, furthest possible to the flag.
Indeed, far flags that often you do not see, beautifully manicured bunkers protecting narrow fairways and greens of course. And guess what, the ruff is beautiful but heavy.
However, the pleasure to play in a course maintained at a championship level is incomparable. Fairway as a green, beautiful second cut. On the ruff however, don’t expect anything higher than a 7.
Additionally, I have to say I was a little annoyed by the started that would not let us start when the foursome in front was pretty far, but this allowed a perfect pace of play. We never waited. And for NY public courses, this is unique.
Overall, this course will satisfy every preference you have, long, doglegs, water, high tee, soft sand, perfect fairway, pretty bunkers, trees, and difficult. I usually shoot in the high 80s, I did here my best 98 ever!
And last but not least, greens will be difficult in regulation, and also hard to put because they always break next to the hole, and are pretty fast.
Finally, what about the privilege to walk in such a beautiful Long Island nature, with beautiful fall/winter colors, with no road in sight, no noise also, the luxury of space to nurture every step you make.
4-Lost balls: 13/20
Ruff is heavy and you’ll spend some time looking for your ball there. However, the worst is in the wild ruff that stands sometimes in the middle of the fairway bunkers. Unforgiving course during the summer I was told. In the winter, lighter wild ruff!
5-19th Hole: 16/20
The club house looks really nice with dark wood everywhere, sofas inside, a huge terrasse for the better days, and a bar called the 19th hole!
Unfortunately, I did not put the order, but I can tell you my carnivore friends loved the chicken wings, and my Heineken bottle was refreshing enough. I’m however sure they know how to do a Arnold Palmer or even a John Daily.
And leaving through the club house, you could spend hours looking at every picture with the champions of all times, not excluding the billboard that reminds you after 2 US opens and 2 Barclays, in 2019, the PGA will be hosted there.
I’m writing this 4 days after I played it, and I’m hoping to be able to play it next Saturday, last weekend of the season. I can’t imagine having to wait several months to play it again. I don’t miss St Andrews, but I badly miss this one.