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Bethpage Trip - July

 j hanson ·  
j hansonj hanson  21WRX Points: 49Handicap: 2Members Posts: 21
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My brother and I are trying to play Bethpage black on 7/25 - 7/27. Our goal is to play once a day. Both non residents who have registered online. Any advice is helpful on getting out there. We've been tracking tee times the past month or so and it looks really difficult to secure a time. My questions are:
1. Do we need to sleep in the car if we cant secure a time? if so, what time would you recommend we show up? Can we get by pulling into the parking lot at 4am each day?
-We will be trying to play on thurs, fri and sat. Fine playing any time of the day as long as we get 18 in. If you have different recommendations for those days please let me know.
2. Have people been having luck with getting tee times from cancellations? I have no issue checking for cancellations throughout the day. Just hoping its not a waste of time.
Appreciate any helpful advice. Really looking forward to getting out there. Thanks in advance!

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  • j hansonj hanson  21WRX Points: 49Handicap: 2Members Posts: 21
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    Also, if anyone has a similar trip coming up, I'd be happy to report how it all worked out when we get back.

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  • Kay_JayKay_Jay NYC/NJ 640WRX Points: 61Handicap: 11Members Posts: 640
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    I'm a local so I can't really provide insight on sleeping in the parking lot but in terms of cancellations, you will have some luck especially if it's just two of you. Check the night before and you'll see some open up as long as you don't have a preference on the actual time of day. Also, not sure how this was possible but my buddy and I were going to play 9 holes super early on the blue course and we walked in around 5:30 and there were several slots open on the black between 7am and 9am. If we didn't have somewhere to be, we definitely would have jumped on that 7am.

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  • j hansonj hanson  21WRX Points: 49Handicap: 2Members Posts: 21
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    Thank you. That's very helpful. We will make sure to check for cancellations throughout the day.

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  • jwellefson1jwellefson1  246WRX Points: 85Handicap: 9Members Posts: 246
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    So like he said, check the online system. For example I got my tee time on the Black last summer by checking the reservation system at 6 am on a Saturday, and there was an opening for 9am Sunday. I booked it and drove up from Northern VA that Saturday.
    I played the Red this spring as well, and frankly it's phenomenal. The conditions weren't the absolute pinnacle of golf, but the design is fantastic. It's much less punishing than the Black, but just as thought provoking. Definitely play the Red one day.
    Sidenote, I couldn't fathom the Black on back to back to back days. It beat the crap out of me. I am very happy that I played it but after walking off of 18 I just felt beat up. It's a 9 mile walk up and down hills, and the fact that it's the hardest course I've played by a mile it doesn't help. Not saying you wouldn't be able or it wouldn't be fun, but 18 at Bethpage Black felt harder than 36 on the Old Course for me personally.
    Another option that is a good call would be Rock Spring Club in West Orange (NJ). It's a Seth Raynor that just went public.

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  • Kay_JayKay_Jay NYC/NJ 640WRX Points: 61Handicap: 11Members Posts: 640
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    You may not get much luck checking for availability during the day, I would say cancellations start to happen the night before around 7pm since there is a 6 hour cancellation policy. Also, the Black is a 5 hour pace on average because it is long and but sure to account for and even longer round if a slow group to hold things up. We got stuck behind one for a 2:30 tee time and we were battling darkness starting on 16. Just in case, there are also some other quality courses within an hour drive that wouldn't disappoint. Trump Ferry Point (Nicklaus), Pound Ridge (Pete Dye) and Harbor Links (Hurzdan).

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  • WillMK5WillMK5  438WRX Points: 50Members Posts: 438
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    There was a twosome for tomorrow (Friday July 5th) around 1pm this morning when I was looking. A twosome might have an easier time getting spots randomly during the week than a foursome.

    I like to play the Bethpage courses early (7am, 7:15) and usually there are times early on Black when I show up at check in.

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  • j hansonj hanson  21WRX Points: 49Handicap: 2Members Posts: 21
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    Thank you. We appreciate the comments. Very excited to play out there. The uncertainty of tee times is nerve wracking but i guess part of the experience

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  • proroboprorobo  3209WRX Points: 115Handicap: GolfMembers Posts: 3,209
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    Granted it was never during a year of a major being played on the course, but in the past we've always just shown up midweek and always gotten out. A couple of those times had us rushing up 18 in the dark, but we always finished.

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  • PC51PC51  88WRX Points: 48Members Posts: 88
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    On -, @j hanson said:

    Thank you. We appreciate the comments. Very excited to play out there. The uncertainty of tee times is nerve wracking but i guess part of the experience

    I wouldn't worry about it. Scan for tee times online as necessary and certainly book if you find any, but keep in mind that If you show up to the clubhouse as early as possible, you should have no issue finding a spot for a twosome, especially if you have no preference on times.

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  • j hansonj hanson  21WRX Points: 49Handicap: 2Members Posts: 21
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    Sounds good. Thank you!

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  • HellstormHellstorm  662WRX Points: 108Handicap: 12Members Posts: 662
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    That guy above wasn't kidding when he said 3 days of the Black course might kill you. It's a long tiring walk up and down those hills. That doesn't even account for the mental fatigue, which is a serious thing on the Black as well. I played the Black just because its the Black but I would play the Red again before the Black. I loved the Red.

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  • LPSISCOLPSISCO  371WRX Points: 95Members Posts: 371
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    I’ve played the Black probably 20 times, and only had a tee time once, but generally as a single. If you go to the desk in the morning, there’s usually a few afternoon options to play. I would guess it’s much easier as a single, but I’ve played with a twosome and another single several times. So you should find something.
    The Black is a very tiring round....the walk up 15 is brutal at the end of a hot July day. Three days in a row of that would be rough.
    As far as the other courses at Bethpage, I’ve played the Green, Red, and Blue several times each. I refuse to play them anymore. Probably stopped playing anything other than the Black 5 years ago. The pace of play is brutal - you will literally wait on every shot from the first tee to the 18th green. I’ve played the Red twice - both times I had a tee time at noon. Both times I teed off closer to 1pm. 5 1/2 hours later, I swore I’d never do it again. It may be a nice course under different circumstances, but I’ve never seen those circumstances...

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  • j hansonj hanson  21WRX Points: 49Handicap: 2Members Posts: 21
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    Good point about the heat. My brother and I have done Bandon a few times and played 36/day but although windy, temps are usually mild. Our goal is to play the black each of those 3 days but if we are beat up we'll definitely try a different course so we can use a cart. For those who have had late morning or early afternoon tee times, did you guys play an early 9 on one of the other courses as a warm up? not sure if that is smart to do that and then play the black, but its gotta be better than sitting on a couch and waiting. As for tee times, it sounds like we just need to be patient, keep checking for cancellations in the evening. Since we are staying in a hotel closeby, if we cant secure a tee time online, would getting there at 4am guarantee a time for a twosome? would we need to arrive earlier for the Fri 7/26 and Sat 7/27. Thanks!

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  • Kay_JayKay_Jay NYC/NJ 640WRX Points: 61Handicap: 11Members Posts: 640
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    You can play the back 9 in the morning on the blue as a warm up if you are definitely trying to play well. Unfortunately, the range at Bethpage doesn't allow drivers and woods, which is kind of counter productive considering you need to be hitting it well off the tee on the Black. Also, are you planning on taking caddies for each round or bringing your push carts? The rental pull carts are trash.

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  • Mattn1106Mattn1106  100WRX Points: 42Members Posts: 100
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    As a nonresident you are able to book 5 days out (not 100% positive on that number) which makes it more difficult than booking as a resident. You are only able to book a tee time on the black once every 28 days, so you and your brother would have to book one each then the other time you would have to go as a walk up. My friends and I have had the best luck getting a tee time the night before. If you can't get a tee time and don't have a preference on which time you play going to the parking lot will 4am will get you a tee time around noon the latest (most likely earlier as a twosome). Walking up is hit or miss, I live local and have seen the black having tee times wide open and being pretty booked. Playing the black three days in a row will be absolutely brutal, regardless of how good your golf game is and how good of shape you are in the walk is demanding. I played back to back days three times this summer and my feet are shot after. As someone said above check out the red 1 of the 3 rounds, the first hole is a temp par 3 but its a solid course and you guys can take a cart.

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  • chas521chas521  1172WRX Points: 128Members Posts: 1,172
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    Just so you know, Bethpage has been kinda beat up because of the PGA what with the temporary tents and other buildings. The driving range right now is only hitting into a short net instead of the full range. The Red course's first hole is now a temporary short [about 90 yards] par three instead of the brutal par 4. However that's the only change on the Red. The Blue seems to be back to normal. The Green's 1st and 18th are temporary tees. The Yellow is somewhat changed. The 18th green on it is now a temporary green. The pros used the real green for chipping and flops. Also, never went too much after 5 hours playing no matter what time I got there.

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  • j hansonj hanson  21WRX Points: 49Handicap: 2Members Posts: 21
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    if we cant secure a time on the black and opt not to play one of the other courses, do you guys have any recommendations for courses within an hour drive? We are playing trump ferry on day of departure so we are set there. Thanks.

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  • Kay_JayKay_Jay NYC/NJ 640WRX Points: 61Handicap: 11Members Posts: 640
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    Considering you are setting the bar pretty high with Bethpage Black and Trump Ferry Point, I would narrow the choices down to these three options. Pound Ridge, which is a Pete Dye design but not located in Long Island. Otherwise, I would go with Harbor Links or Willow Creek.

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  • tideridertiderider  2738WRX Points: 1,748Handicap: 5ishMembers Posts: 2,738
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    the red course is designed by the same guy that designed the black, and is a very solid course in excellent shape (when i've been there) ... if you are trying to play as a twosome, you may experience difficulty at least on the fri/sat days, but as singles, if you get there around 5, i think you'd find something in the morning ... they have tv monitors up in the room when you lineup that display openings, so that thursday is your best bet as a twosome if you're there by 5ish, i would think ...

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  • chas521chas521  1172WRX Points: 128Members Posts: 1,172
    Joined:  edited Jul 17, 2019 #21

    Suffolk County on LI has some pretty good courses. Look at Great Rock, Rock Hill or Spring Lake.

    EDIT; Also strongly recommend that you bring drinking water with you when you play the Black. It's a tough walk especially in the heat/humidity.

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  • jvincentjvincent  1166WRX Points: 519Members Posts: 1,166
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    On -, @j hanson said:

    2. Have people been having luck with getting tee times from cancellations? I have no issue checking for cancellations throughout the day. Just hoping its not a waste of time.
    Appreciate any helpful advice. Really looking forward to getting out there. Thanks in advance!

    Definitely check the cancellations often.
    As I type this there are a ton of open tee times for tomorrow (Friday). I was able to get a cancellation time for Saturday on Tuesday.

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  • cpeckcpeck North new jersey 598WRX Points: 284Handicap: leftyMembers Posts: 598
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    a few for saturday as well.

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  • j hansonj hanson  21WRX Points: 49Handicap: 2Members Posts: 21
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    Tee Time update. We have times for Thursday (10:30) and Friday (2:30) on the black. Nothing for Friday and we have an early time on Sat at Trump Ferry which is our day of departure. Will keep checking for cancellations on Friday and hopefully we can move up that time a few hours. As for Saturday, I think we will get there early. If we pull into the parking lot at 3am is that early enough?
    Someone mentioned drinking water. Does the course have water out there? or do we need to pack our bags with extra bottles. Thanks

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  • j hansonj hanson  21WRX Points: 49Handicap: 2Members Posts: 21
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    Not above was incorrect. Tee time for Sun is at trump ferry.....no tee time yet for Saturday.

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  • j hansonj hanson  21WRX Points: 49Handicap: 2Members Posts: 21
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    You guys are right. Great times from cancellations show up out of nowhere. Lot of great times for tomorrow. Hopefully some stuff opens up for Friday so can move up our 2:36 time.

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  • Kay_JayKay_Jay NYC/NJ 640WRX Points: 61Handicap: 11Members Posts: 640
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    On -, @j hanson said:

    You guys are right. Great times from cancellations show up out of nowhere. Lot of great times for tomorrow. Hopefully some stuff opens up for Friday so can move up our 2:36 time.

    You will have to walk on for your third round because you can’t make more than one tee time in a 28 day span. I’m assuming you and your brother made an account to secure those times for Thursday and Friday.

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  • j hansonj hanson  21WRX Points: 49Handicap: 2Members Posts: 21
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    yes, my brother and I each created separate accounts. Very happy we have 2 scheduled times on the black. Based on what I've read, playing the black 3 days in a row would be brutal. I think after our 2nd round we will just assess how we are feeling and go from there.
    I did some food reviews on yelp and Saverios got great reviews. thoughts? any food places you guys recommend? Thanks again for all the responses.

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  • j hansonj hanson  21WRX Points: 49Handicap: 2Members Posts: 21
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    Back from the trip. We played the black 3 days in a row. First two days we had secured tee times as we each created our own account. On Saturday (day 3), we woke up at 4am and got to the course at 4:20. We got in line at the parking lot in spot 40. Never having done this before we were concerned we wouldn’t get a time. Other people in the parking lot looked like they were having a blast. Guy in the spot next to us was really nice and told us we’d probably get out before 10am. After we got our ticket and waited in the secondary line there were several times available for 2 between 8-9. We went out at 8am that day. Very happy with this considering the weather was ideal that day. For those coming in from out of state without a time, I think if you get there early you will definitely get out. Most of the people we played with showed up just an hour or so before they got out. Knowing this takes away any stress on a return trip…..because we are definitely coming back!

    This place is absolutely incredible. My brother and I had an absolute blast. Just some quick background. My brother and I are both low single indexes. My current index is a 2 and my carry distance is around 235. I mention this because there were several par 4’s I couldn’t reach in 2 from the tips; and the whites for that matter. However, if you play correctly and don’t take on more than you can chew, you can get around just fine out there. I shot 77 from the blues on day 1, 83 from the whites on day 2, and 76 from the whites on day 3. There were several par 4’s where you have to decide am I going for the green, and if I can get there, can I hold it. There were several occasions I layed up to a good wedge distance and tried to get up and down. Because of that I avoided a lot of doubles. I made my share of bogies but if you give yourself a par putt out there you give yourself chances to score and things stay on the positive. Only times I had any serious level of frustration were when I didn’t commit to a shot or I tried a hero shot.

    I thought the walk was tough but since we only played once each day we were both fine. There are water jugs out on the course every few holes as well as a snack stand. My brother and I only lost 1 ball for our combined six rounds. Because of that, I don’t think people need to carry any greater amount of balls than they would normally carry. You just need to keep an eye out for eachother’s ball. If you make your bag light it can only help.

    As someone who has played a lot of golf as a single, if I lived in the area, I would play here often. This place has such a positive and welcoming vibe. Everyone we were paired up with were really nice. We didn’t play the Red not because we didn’t want too but given the first hole was under repair, and because we liked the black so much, we just opted to keep playing the black.

    The black is the hardest golf course I’ve ever played. I think Olympic Club and Erin Hills were close, but this course tests you on every single hole. There is not one hole in my opinion where you step up and say it’s an easy hole. That course I would argue is as much a grind mentally as it is physically. You just have a lot to think about on each hole. However, it is all right in front of you and not gimmicky in any way. You know if you hit the fairway, you got a chance. You know that if you put it in the rough you need to decide on laying up or taking on trouble. Not every tee shot in the rough left me with a wedge out. You can get some decent lies in there but there are spots where you just have to lay up. The big numbers I saw out there were when people just took on too much trouble.

    As for advice on how to prepare, I’d say I used pretty much used every club in my bag. I don’t think its as simple as saying you need to drive it straight and putt well. I think you need to be prepared to grind out there and be creative. Around the greens there were tight lies and also you have to hit pitches like bunker shots out of the rough. Its just such a test. As for tees I’m glad I played the tips once. I’d do that again but I don’t have too. On days 2 and 3 we played what the others in our group were comfortable doing. I don’t think playing the white tees are any less of any experience. Again, I was using every club in my bag.

    Hope this helps. Thanks again for the comments above. They were very helpful. Cant wait to get back.

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  • CJ HansonCJ Hanson  32WRX Points: 52Members Posts: 32
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    Let me just piggyback on my brother's comments above:

    • Is three days in a row on the Black difficult? Yes. Was it brutal? Absolutely not. We could have (and, probably should have) played there a fourth day before we left.
    • All three rounds were in the 5 to 5.5 hour range. We expected that.
    • Note to high handicappers. Don't play the tips. Just don't. The whites are a firm test and play to 6700 yards. We had a group of four behind us that played the tips and they were a full three holes behind us by the time we finished. There are no marshals out there so pace of play is on the players. Swallow your pride and play the appropriate tees.
    • We probably caught a break with the weather. I don't know what's typical in July, but it was mid 80's, with relatively high humidity, during our rounds. If the weather was in the 90s, it would have been more difficult.
    • Checking the web site frequently for cancellations is definitely the way to go. As non-residents, we ended up with a 10:15, 10:30 and 8:00 (we walked up for the last one).
    • We played Trump Ferry Point on Sunday morning. I wouldn't go back. You have to pay for water on the course ($2 for a small bottle). Not only that, but it's only available after #4 and #14, if there is no beverage cart. We were told there would be one but we only saw her once (at the 13th green, no less). When we play in Arizona in the summer, there is plenty of water around the course and the marshals drive around with wet towels. I just assumed the customer service would be off the charts for what we paid. Oh well.
    • Don't bring your personal push cart to Trump, it's not allowed.
    • You can rent a locker for $20 if you need to shower afterward. We did it because my brother had to catch a flight and I had a long drive ahead of me. Nice facilities.

    This was my second time back and I will definitely be back again.

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  • Kay_JayKay_Jay NYC/NJ 640WRX Points: 61Handicap: 11Members Posts: 640
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    On -, @CJ Hanson said:

    On -, @j hanson said:

    Glad you guys had a great time and although hot, lucked out with the weather as it rained here for a couple days straight right before you got here. That's interesting you played a round from the tips. I've never done it because I think the whites are plenty tough and I figured I would have to hit driver, 3 wood on almost every par 4 with my distance (also carry around 235 with about 250 total with my driver). What you said about managing the course is truly the biggest reason for slow play. Although 5 is actually on good pace because its so long, I've played behind a slow group and has taken 6-6.5 hours which is absolutely brutal. I can't count how many high handicappers I've seen on the course continuously keep trying to hit long irons from the rough, hitting it 20 yards, and hitting another long iron instead of short iron/wedge to get back into the fairway lol. What did you both think of the greens? It still amazes me how there are times I have no clue what the breaks are going to be because the slopes are so subtle.

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