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What To & What Not-To's: First Trip To The Black

Michael W

So for a long time I've wanted to make the trip to play Bethpage Black.. Now, in my mind, I picture the whole sleeping in your car, waking up just before the sun to get a tee time.. 

I know the Black is a beast of a course from the tips, I'm not sure as a 3 hcp, I can justify the tips, but my brother at a +2 hcp will drag me back there haha.

Any way, I was wondering for those who have been or go often, what do I need to know? What is it like? Anything else we should see/do on the weekend down there? (coming from Maine). Can you still sleep in the parking lot and expect to get out in the morning?

Thank you!

- Mike

2 Replies

  1. Don O

    Try to play Monday-Friday.  Much easier to get out and definitely won't create back issues sleeping in a car.  The first tee should relieve your anxiety about the tips.  After reading the sign that reads like the Black Diamond warning on a ski slope, you look down at the tee box, and it must be at least 7 yards from the red tees to the black tees.  J

    It really comes down to your comfort for distance.  If the tips are going to require you to hit 3 shots all days to reach the greens on the par 4s or you need to use a 3W or driver on the par 3s, will you enjoy the day?  If Bubba is hitting a 9 iron on a 480 yard par 4, there is no reason for you to have to use a 3W for your second just to play the same distance.  Challenging courses at my distance are still challenging.  If the pros have a 280 carry, and I can only comfortably carry 180, I don't mind moving up a 100 yards to a more forward tee box.  No question the black course has holes that challenge from any distance.

  2. Bill S

    Hi Mike,

    I live on LI and have some experience with the Black course... here a a few things I would say:

    1) Many people play it because its the Black course and are way way over their head, unless you are one of the first few groups on the tee, mentally prepare yourself for a long round (like 6 hrs long).

    2) GET A CADDY, they are right and the course and its easy to get one, they walk the course everyday and are very knowledgeable, you will shoot much better with their advice and enjoy the round much more.  The first time I played the course I couldn't believe what the caddy was telling me to do/hit, by the third hole I realized that he knew what he was talking about and didn't question anything anymore, just did (or tried to do) what he was telling me.  He probably saved me 5-8 shots that day.

    3) If your looking for other courses, the Red course at Bethpage is also very good.  But not nearly what the black is.  Other noteworthy public courses are Tallgrass and Willow Creek but they are further east (and Montauk Downs, but that is WAAAAAY east).

    Good luck... the black is awesome.


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