News & ToursJune 17, 2009

Geoff Shackelford's quick course setup guide

__Hoped For Green Speed:__14-14 1/2 on the Stimpmeter, but the forecasted rains may change that.

Exception Green: No. 15, treated "slightly different due to its severe slope." That means less frequency of cuts and rolls, but same mowing height.

__Since 2002:__New tees on seven holes, but the soggy weather forecast is putting the possibility of minimal usage on holes 7, 9 and 13.

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New Hole Location:__ the par-3 14th, back right, bringing steep slopes and free-drop grandstand into play.

__New Collection Areas:__Nos. 4 and 10.  They've revamped the one behind No. 4 to hold shots and encourage more long-iron and 3 wood second shots at the green after the old, more steeply-sloped area discouraged aggressive play. But No. 10's new short grass area could send balls 30-40 feet away on an already relentless hole.

New False Front: The par-3 8th will be played from a 132-yard tee at some point. Throw in the final u-groove Open, and the course's lone water hazard should come into play this time around.

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Problems Solved?__ In 2002 the 10th fairway was unreachable and the 12th unhittable. Both were caused by lousy fairway contours. Davis feels he has solved any issues, though the 10th features a new tee and still forces a 230-yard carry.

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Nice Change: __The 6th fairway, once disconnected by rough on the downslope, now features fairway all the way through. It may tempt some bold drives to set up 90-yard wedge shots.

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Really Nice Change:__ No. 9 was a bit of a dud last time around, but a new fairway bunker and new tee means a hole filled with strategic intrigue. "The new tee brings in the fairway bunker and a different decision into play," Geoff Ogilvy said. The difference between a lay up or a bold play over the new bunker is a view of the green and a much shorter approach. Too bad more holes at Bethpage do not have this kind of decision making.

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Score Prediction:__ Rocco Mediate: "Around par is going to be a nice score this week, probably over par."

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If You're Coming:__ The best gallery spots for taking in action on multiple holes, comfortably: 2 green/3 tee; 5 green/6 tee; 8 green if nothing else to listen to the deep baritoned frogs; 10 tee/7fairway/11 green/12 tee

__Hot Spot:__No. 3: left rough off of No. 1 tee. Granted it takes a wild snap hook to reach, and Heaven knows that never happens on the first shot of the round.

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Hot Spot No. 2:__ No. 10 carry. Davis has said this is a non-issue, but Thursday's call for rain and wind combined with cool air and a 230-yard carry, will have the Yogi-fans howling deja vu all over again.

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Hot Spots No. 1: __The new hole location on No. 14. It brings the grandstand and an easy free drop or automatic double bogey in play. It's the only part of a Bethpage green that is not perfect and the add-on looks forced. Other than that, the players will love it.

--* Geoff Shackelford*

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