Max Adler's Golf World story this week about getting on Bethpage Black, site of next month's U.S. Open, tells the story of the "gray" market in Black tee times.
Adler, who, by the way, is trying to earn legitimate access to the Black as an Open qualifier, writes of his own experience obtaining a gray-market time. It's worth a read.
One California reader who played the course offers a different tale altogether:
In contrast to Mr. Adler's experience with NY Golf Shuttle (Bethpage Gray (Market), May 25), I found Bethpage delightfully accessible using the the traditional method--showing up as a single. In August, '06, I flew a red-eye to join my wife at a Manhattan trade show and just had to try my shot at the infamous Black. Driving a rental car straight from JFK, I stepped into the tee-time line about 7:00 AM; I paid $75 for my out-of-state, Wednesday morning green fee and was given a slot with about 3 hours to kill. To my surprise, the other Bethpage courses (the only ones which allow carts) seemed in much greater demand to the locals. After breakfast in the coffee shop, I hit a bucket of balls and putted. When I went to the starter with my ticket to see if I could get out any sooner, he moved me up to join a threesome at 9:30--2 Long Islanders and another tourist like me. We had a great day walking the Black, with no sleeping in cars and no scalping. Was it worth it?....................Priceless!
As someone who has played the Black several times-once on my wedding day-I can only add, get on it as you will. You won't be sorry.
(Illustration: John Euland)