This summer my friends and I set out to plan a serious golf trip. We decided that a drive to Long Island to try our hand(s) at Bethpage Black was easily the most feasible option.
This marked my second time, technically third, playing on a course the held the US Open. My buddies and I have all played Grover Cleveland up here in Buffalo which, in 1912, hosted the US Open under the Country Club of Buffalo moniker. Of course, Grover isn’t even close to being of the quality that Torrey Pines or Bethpage Black. But it is cool to see the history posted in the snack shop.
Four of us traveled to Long Island, by car, and stayed in a hotel about 10-15 minutes from Bethpage. We also made a tee time. For New York State residents it is a pretty easy process. You need to provide two forms of ID, a passport and license work fine, and you can make three times a month. This was much easier than sleeping until 3am and getting in line at the course – or sleeping in you car at the course. So, we sprung for a hotel room, between four guys it’s not bad. Plus food, travel expenses and greens fees, it wasn’t a very expensive trip. We also got the twilight rate, which saved some cash.
While it is worthwhile to play after four, you save $20, good luck getting your round in. Anything started at 3:45 or later will not result in finishing 18 holes in the daylight. We played all 18, but the final two holes were played in the dark.
Another awesome feature of Bethpage is the pro shop. You can set up for a caddy, I didn’t get one but next time I will, or buy a souvenir. They have racks of shirts with the Bethpage logo at great prices. A lot of stuff was marked down at least 30%. I snagged a long sleeve Nike polo at 40% off and a brand-new Under Armour polo for 20% off (I benefited from the Father’s Day sale). Either way, you can get high performance polos for a great deal at the shop. They also have hats, belts, 2009 US Open flags and other golf souvenirs. I went with a yardage book, two polos and bag tag for just over $100. So, in total my round cost just around $175 – that doesn’t include food or any other travel expense.
Since we had a 4:18 tee time, we decided to hit up a local course in the morning. We chose a place call Lido Golf Club in Lido Beach, NY. It was a true links course on the ocean in Long Island. Slightly more upkeep would fetch a pretty penny from the patrons at this course. But, it was a fun track and I was glad we played it before Bethpage. Next time I would head up to the state park early and play an early round on one of the other courses in Bethpage’s stable. The Red Course is very challenging as well, from what I read.
So, if you’re thinking about a trip to Bethpage, do it. Especially if you live in New York. Sign up for the tee time program, get a hotel and play the course. You can call a week in advance and you need the whole week. We called at the beginning of our tee time period and got bumped to past 4pm. Devote yourself to getting the tee time and make sure it is at 3pm or earlier. Get a hotel nearby, explore the area (we didn’t get to as much as I would have liked) and take in the experience. It is a blast.
My review of the course is next.
Here are some shots of Lido Golf Club: