Activities Sports & Athletics Bethpage Black Share PINTEREST Email Print A warning sign greets golfers near the first tee at Bethpage Black. (See the Bethpage Black pictures gallery to view at full size and read the sign.). David Cannon / Getty Images Sports & Athletics Golf Golf Courses Basics History Gear Famous Golfers Golf Tournaments Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Brent Kelley Brent Kelley is an award-winning sports journalist and golf expert with over 30 years in print and online journalism. our editorial process Brent Kelley Updated May 24, 2019 Bethpage Black is the commonly used name for one of the five golf courses that are part of Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York, on Long Island. The five courses are named the Black, Red, Blue, Yellow and Green courses, so "Bethpage Black" is shorthand for the Black Course at Bethpage State Park. Bethpage Black is considered one of the toughest, probably the toughest, public golf courses in the United States. In fact, the facility recommends that only low-handicappers play the Black, and there's even a warning sign informing golfers that the Black Course is very challenging and should only be played by skilled golfers. In addition to its length and sometimes challenging terrain, "The Black" is known for narrow fairways, high rough and small greens, and the bunkers are placed in perilous positions. Various magazines' golf course rankings usually place Bethpage Black high, and it has been rated at various times as the best municipal golf course in America. • Address: 99 Quaker Meetinghouse Road, Farmingdale, NY 11753• Phone: General info - (516) 249-0700; Pro shop - (516) 249-4040• Website: State parks pages or Bethpage pro shop pages Photo gallery/course tour: View our Bethpage Black photo gallery to get a look at every hole on the course. Can I Play at Bethpage Black? Yes. All five golf courses at Bethpage State Park, including the Black Course, are open to the public. That's because they are owned by the public. The Bethpage golf courses are owned and operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. There are restrictions, however, for the Black course: Tee times are limited to one per golfer per month, and no carts are allowed (walking only). The pro shop also advises that the Black Course should be played only by low-handicap golfers. Tee times are taken in person, by fax or by phone (not online). Walk-ups are allowed, but you better get there early - golfers without reservations often camp out overnight to make sure they can play the next day. See this .pdf file on the New York State Parks website for info on Black Course reservations. The Black Course is closed on Mondays, except when Monday falls on a holiday. Bethpage Black Course Origins and Architect One of the reasons Bethpage Black is so famous in the golf world is that it is considered one of the top designs of A.W. Tillinghast. Tillinghast is a legend in golf course design, working in the early part of the 20th century, a period known as "the golden age of golf course design." The golf history of the property dates to 1931, when what had been a 1,386-acre estate was optioned for purchase by the Long Island State Park Commission. An existing private country club, Lenox Hills Country Club, was already adjacent to the property, and was taken over by the state and opened to the public in 1932. New construction took place through the New Deal's Works Relief Program. Tillinghast was hired to build three new courses, which became the Blue, Red and Black courses. The clubhouse was dedicated on August 10, 1935. The Black Course opened in 1936 at a then-very long 6,783 yards, and almost immediately earned a reputation as one of the most challenging layouts in the country. Architect Rees Jones did a several-years-long renovation beginning in 1997. Bethpage Black Pars, Yardages, Ratings, Hazards and Turfs The hole-by-hole yardages and pars listed here are for the Blue Tees, which are the championship tees for everyday play. The yards are taken from a Bethpage Black scorecard that appears on the pro shop's website. No. 1 - Par 4 - 430 yardsNo. 2 - Par 4 - 389 yardsNo. 3 - Par 3 - 158 yardsNo. 4 - Par 5 - 517 yardsNo. 5 - Par 4 - 478 yardsNo. 6 - Par 4 - 408 yardsNo. 7 - Par 5 - 553 yardsNo. 8 - Par 3 - 210 yardsNo. 9 - Par 4 - 460 yardsOut - Par 36 - 3675 yardsNo. 10 - Par 4 - 502 yardsNo. 11 - Par 4 - 435 yardsNo. 12 - Par 4 - 501 yardsNo. 13 - Par 5 - 608 yardsNo. 14 - Par 3 - 161 yardsNo. 15 - Par 4 - 478 yardsNo. 16 - Par 4 - 490 yardsNo. 17 - Par 3 - 207 yardsNo. 18 - Par 4 - 411 yards In - Par 35 - 3793 yards Total - Par 71 - 7468 yards The USGA course rating for the championship tees is 78.1, and the USGA slope rating is 152. You'll notice that the back nine is particularly long, with two par-4s greater than 500 yards and another at 490 yards; and the only par-5 on the back is more than 600 yards. There are two other sets of tees at Bethpage Black: White Tees: 6,684 yards, par 71, course rating 73.1, slope rating 140; Red Tees: 6,223 yards, par 71, course rating 71.2 for men and 77.8 for women, slope rating 137 for men and 150 for women. The average green size at Bethpage Black is 5,500 square feet. There are 75 sand bunkers on the course but only one water hazard. Bermudagrass is used on the tees. The fairways are a mix of Kentucky bluegrass and zoysiagrass; the greens have bentgrass and perennial ryegrass. The rough is perennial ryegrass. Significant Tournaments Hosted Important tournaments that have been played at Bethpage Black, and their winners (click on the years to view the final scores and read a recap of those tournaments): 2002 U.S. Open: Tiger Woods 2009 U.S. Open: Lucas Glover 2012 The Barclays: Nick Watney 2016 The Barclays: Patrick Reed 2019 PGA Championship: Brooks Koepka The course also is the site each year of the New York State Open. It will be the site of the 2024 Ryder Cup. More about Bethpage Black Course As noted, A.W. Tillinghast designed Bethpage State Park's Black, Red and Blue courses. The original Lenox Hills Country Club course is what is now known as the Green course. The facility's Yellow course opened in 1958, designed by Alfred Tull. The Black Course was one of the last designs by Tillinghast. According to the pro shop's website, Tillinghast, legend says, "... was last seen sitting under a tree on the Black with a bottle in hand before storming off the grounds, never to set foot on the course again." All five golf courses at Bethpage begin at the clubhouse area. More than 300,000 rounds of golf are played annually, including 35,000 at the Black. The 5-course public facility at Bethpage State Park is sometimes referred to as "the people's country club." In 1940, Sam Snead beat Byron Nelson in an exhibition matched played at Bethpage Black. Afterward, Snead called the course "an unfair test of golf." Bethpage likes to play up such statements as it cultivates its reputation for being a very difficult golf course. The Black Course was closed for nearly a year beginning in 1997 as architect Rees Jones led a renovation for the USGA, ahead of the 2002 U.S. Open. When the U.S. Open was played at Bethpage Black in 2002, the course became the first publicly owned and operated golf course to host the United States' national championship.