40. Bethpage (Black)
Joseph H. Burbeck & A.W. Tillinghast (1936)
Sprawling Bethpage Black, designed in the mid-1930s to be “the public Pine Valley,” became the darling of the USGA in the early 2000s, when it played the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens. Then it became a darling of the PGA Tour as host of the 2011 and 2016 Barclays. Now the PGA of America has embraced The Black, which hosted the 2019 PGA Championship and the upcoming 2024 Ryder Cup. Heady stuff for a layout that was once a scruffy state-park haunt where one needed to sleep in the parking lot in order to get a tee time.
100 Greatest History: Ranked 1967-1976, 1997-1998 and since 2001. Highest ranking: No. 26, 2007-08. Previous ranking: 37
Watch Golf Digest’s “Every Hole At: Bethpage Black” video below:
“This is such a demanding course visually, mentally and physically. It has been transformed into a modern-day, championship track."
“One of the hardest but fairest courses I've ever played. The only real weakness might be the rather benign, flat greens -- but given the length and difficulty -- and that it's a public course, it makes sense.”
“This is a driver's golf course. If your tee balls are long and in the fairway, you'll have a chance to go at the greens. But odds are you, you'll find some of the fairway and greenside bunkering -- some of the most intimidating and aesthetically pleasing bunkers you'll see in the U.S.”
“What an exceptional design! This has to be the best municipal course in America. The locals are very proud of this course and they should be.”
“As well-conditioned fairways and greens as any private club I've seen this year. Couldn't believe how immaculate the Black's fairways were for a state, public-park golf course that gets so much play.”
The menacing surrounds at Bethpage Black's sixth green.
The view behind the sixth green from 7 tee.
The ultra-difficult stretch of Bethpage Black's par-4 10th (right), requiring extreme precision off the tee, with the 11th hole—a Pine Valley-like par 4 that also requires a ball stay out of the extended bunker lobes.
The 517-yard, par-5 fourth hole is guarded by a classic cross bunker.
The par-4 12th's widened fairway gives golfers a bailout option.
Behind the 16th green.
Another angle of the green at No. 6.
Bethpage Black's home hole.
Photo by Stephen Szurlej