Bethpage Black Golf Course Photo Gallery

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Touring One of America's Best - and Toughest - Public Golf Courses

Driving up to the clubhouse at Bethpage State Park's golf facilities.
The clubhouse at Bethpage State Park. David Cannon/Getty Images

The Bethpage Black pictures on the following pages show 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. Why? A couple reasons:

  • Bethpage Black 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 then there's the fact that Bethpage Black is a U.S. Open venue, hosting the major championship in 2002 and again in 2009.

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're finished checking out these Bethpage Black pictures, check out our profile and history of Bethpage Black.

Above photo: The clubhouse at Bethpage State Park can be a very busy place. Why? Because this one clubhouse serves five golf courses, the five courses that make up the Bethpage State Park Golf Club: The Black, Red, Blue, Green and Yellow courses. According to park authorities, these five courses host more than 300,000 rounds of golf every year.

The golf complex dates to the early part of the 20th century and the construction of what was then called Lenox Hills Country Club. According to the New York State Parks Web site, the Bethpage Park Authority purchased that club and adjacent lands in the early 1930s. Famed architect A.W. Tillinghast was hired to design three additional courses - the Black, Red and Blue tracks - and redesign the existing one, which became known as the Green Course. Yellow, the final 18 holes, was added in 1958.

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Bethpage Black - Warning!

Bethpage Black Golf Course Warning Sign
David Cannon / Getty Images

A warning sign at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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."

How difficult? So difficult the USGA has selected this public golf course as the site of its national championship, the U.S. Open. It's so tough that there's another warning on the Bethpage State Park Web site that reads, "The Black Course is a difficult and challenging course that should be played only by low-handicap golfers."

For everyday play, the Black Course tips out at 7,366 yards, with a par of 71, a USGA course rating of 76.6, and a USGA slope rating of 148.

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Bethpage Black Hole 1

Bethpage Black Hole 1
David Cannon / Getty Images

The first hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

Bethpage State Park is located in Farmingdale, N.Y., and the first hole of Bethpage Black sits just beyond the warning sign depicted on the previous image.

Hole No. 1 at Bethpage Black is a par-4 of 430 yards (yardages cites for individual holes within this gallery are the yardages in play at the 2009 U.S. Open) 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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 2

Bethpage Black Hole 2
David Cannon / Getty Images

The second hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 3

Bethpage Black Hole 3
David Cannon / Getty Images

The third hole at Bethpage State Park's Black 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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 4

Bethpage Black Hole 4
David Cannon / Getty Images

The fourth hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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 above 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 U.S. Open play.

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Bethpage Black Hole 5

Bethpage Black Hole 5
David Cannon / Getty Images

The fifth hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 6

Bethpage Black Hole 6
David Cannon / Getty Images

The sixth hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 7

Bethpage Black Hole 7
David Cannon / Getty Images

The seventh hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 8

Bethpage Black Hole 8
David Cannon / Getty Images

The eighth hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

The second of the two front-side par-3, the seventh hole at Bethpage Black measures 230 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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 9

Bethpage Black Hole 9
David Cannon / Getty Images

The ninth hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 10

Bethpage Black Hole 10
David Cannon / Getty Images

The 10th hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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, and at the 2002 U.S. Open there were some golfers (including Corey Pavin) who could not make that carry. For the 2009 U.S. Open, the distance between the teeing ground and the start of the fairway was shortened to remove that issue.

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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 11

Bethpage Black Hole 11
David Cannon / Getty Images

The 11th hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 12

Bethpage Black Hole 12
David Cannon / Getty Images

The 12th hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

The setup at Bethpage Black for the 2009 U.S. Open included three par-4 holes of greater than 500 yards in length. No. 12 is the last of those holes. 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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 13

Bethpage Black Hole 13
David Cannon / Getty Images

The 13th hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

Hole No. 13 at Bethpage Black is the only par-5 on the back nine, and it's a long one at 605 yards. The hole played 50 yards longer during the 2009 U.S. Open than it did at the 2002 U.S. Open, and new bunkers - which are visible in the photo above - are placed along the left side of the fairway in the area where many drives will be heading.

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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 14

Bethpage Black Hole 14
David Cannon / Getty Images

The 14th hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 15

Bethpage Black Hole 15
David Cannon / Getty Images

The 15th hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

The 15th is a 458-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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 16

Bethpage Black Hole 16
David Cannon / Getty Images

The 16th hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 17

Bethpage Black Hole 17
David Cannon / Getty Images

The 17th hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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.

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Bethpage Black Hole 18

Bethpage Black Hole 18
David Cannon / Hole 18

The 18th hole at Bethpage State Park's Black Course.

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 - to 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.