Posted: June 19, 2009
Are you heading to Bethpage for the U.S. Open this weekend? Titleist.com's favorite spot to watch the action is from the grandstands behind the 15th tee and 16th green. If you can get a seat, it’s one of those places where you will be able to see any number of shots from the world-class field.
The 15th hole is a 459-yard Par 4. During the 2002 U.S. Open it was the hardest hole on the course and this year you can expect the same. For starters, it is straight uphill, and then it finishes at the most undulating green on the course. If a player misses the fairway here, depending on his lie, he may find himself hitting driver-wedge-wedge.
The 490-yard Par 4 16th hole comes right back down the hill at you. It is the most wind affected hole out there. The players hit out of a chute from the top of a hill. Whatever the wind is doing, it just smacks the ball when it flies past the corridor of trees. Thanks to the downhill topography of the hole, you should see some fairly short approach shots, especially from the fairway.
The green at Bethpage Black's 17th hole.
Then to your left will be the 17th hole. It is a 207-yard Par 3, protected by heavy bunkering all the way around the “figure eight” green. There is potential to see some creative short game play all the way around this hole.
The added bonus of this vantage point is that it is not far from the clubhouse, practice areas, merchandise pavilion, and concessions. All you need to do is walk down between the 1st and 18th fairways and head over to the grandstands. The gallery areas will be soggy at best, and there is plenty of mud. By camping out at 15/16, you will see booming drives on 15, precision approaches on 16, long irons to a back pin on 17, and plenty of chipping and putting without ever having to cross Round Swamp Road.
Of course if you are dying to see the monster Par 4, the 525-yard 7th hole you’ll have to cross the road and head about as far out as you can get. That hole is the longest in U.S. Open history by 10 yards. It would be a bear of a hole if it was straight, but is a hard dogleg left, with trees protecting the corner. It might be worth slogging through the muck to see how the best of the best tackle the challenge.
Whatever your plans, enjoy your time at the 109th US Open Championship!