The Itinerant Golfer

The Itinerant Golfer's Take on Bethpage State Park (Black)

Bethpage State Park, New York | Bethpage State Park (Black)

Architect: Joseph H. Burbeck & A.W. Tillinghast
Year: 1936

99 Quaker Meeting House Road, Farmingdale, New York 11735
(516) 249-0701

driving range available
walking only - caddies available

U.S. Open - 2002, 2009
PGA Championship - 2019
Ryder Cup - 2024

Bethpage Black - Warning SignOne of the questions I get asked with great regularity is how I was able to “get on” at a specific Top 100 course. Nine times out of ten the question will be in reference to one of the 80+ private courses on the Top 100 list, but just about every tenth time I hear the question it’s in reference to Bethpage Black. It seems an unusual question considering that the Black is a public golf course run by the state of New York, but this is no ordinary municipal track and securing a tee time can be very difficult.

In addition to Bethpage Black having hosted the U.S. Open twice (2002 & 2009), the 2012 Barclays and the rumors of a PGA Championship or Ryder Cup in its future the course is currently ranked #42 on the Golf Digest America’s 100 Greatest and #21 on Golf Magazine’s Top 100 which makes it the most highly ranked non-resort public course on both lists. Because the course is operated as a “muni” and not affiliated with a resort it is also one of the least expensive options there is for public Top 100 golf. New York State residents pay around $100 and out of states visitors pay about $150 which makes Bethpage Black an absolute steal of a golf experience.

Because the quality of Bethpage Black is so good, the demand to play the course is quite high which makes getting a tee time a bit of a trick. The most common story that we have all heard is that golfers must spend the night in their cars for a chance at playing Bethpage Black, but fortunately that is not the ONLY option. Click the links below to learn more.

Tee Time Reservation System

Overnight Parking Lot Campout

Walking up at Bethpage Black

Other Frequently Asked Question About Bethpage Black

Please feel free to post your comments below about your experience with Bethpage Black.

  • Kevin

    I played Bethpage Black in 1997, before most of the renovations in advance of the 2002 US Open. It was a beast then. I carried my bag on a 94 degree August day, and as a 14 handicap, shot 102 and thought I won a major championship. Very hard, but very good. Highly recommend it. Just tough to get on as mentioned above, though possible.

  • Rob Graham

    Love BP Black. Could play it every week of my life.

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  • Jacob

    I go to Bethpage every October. Im a single and I just walk up and they have always gotten me out within 1 hour of me being there. Also play the red course!!!

  • I played The Black Course in 2004 with my then girlfriends dad, they live in Levittown, NY. Being a native Rhode Islander the thought of the drive was mouthwatering and exciting.
    We arrived there at 7:30am upon seeing this multi screens of the various courses we decided that if the Black was available I would roll alone. He and his normal group play the green course. Within 35 minutes I was paired with another group and balls in the air. The memories are etched in this golfer s brain for
    life. 78 shots later from the tips or at least the laid out black markers, this guys was full of age 4 happiness with a Christmas Day toy.

  • I played the Black in October 2002 by walking up. It was fantastic. Showed up as a single and got to play with 3 locals, which IMO only added to the experience. I played it at about 7000 yards. The hike part of it is no joke.

    Came back August of 2006 and they’d added 500 yards. We had a tee time that day as I had registered as an out of stater in their system. Everyone was below a 4 index so we played it at about 7400 that day. It was 105 degrees and even tougher of a hike than I remembered. Still, it was a treat. Great info given here to get on. The Black is a must for any golf nut venturing into the NYC area.

  • Rick

    Itinerant Golfer,

    Firstly, well played on your adventures thus far and many thanks for sharing your journey.

    I was particularly excited to see your most recent post. I live in Australia and I’m heading to New York City in late March to visit my mother who lives there. I had been entertaining the thought of playing Bethpage having seen it on tv over here and by reading up on it on your site and similarly focused sites. Alas my mother does not know any golf enthusiasts in NYC so I had essentially given up on being able to play the course while there this year.

    As an international visitor, would I be best off attempting to register as an out of stater and hope I get lucky a couple of days in advance? I’m in town for a week. The overnight car park is not really an option either. I also noted that a couple of readers simply turned up and managed to get a game. Is this the exception or would it be realistic for me to simply turn up as a single hoping for a game?

    Any advice on how I might get onto this course and what would be an unforgettable experience would be greatly appreciated.



    • Hi Rick

      I too am from Australia and plan to play in May. Will be doing the same in showing up as a single and hoping to get on (the locals I know aren’t keen golfers). The one thing I can tell you is the course does not open until around May. All my previous visits have been during the US winter, so I am looking forward to finally going where the Black Course will be open.

    • The Itinerant Golfer

      Rick, I can echo AussieGolfQuest about the opening dates. If you will be there during March the course will not be open. I called Bethpage Black recently and they told me that they typically open in mid-April and close around Thanksgiving. If you want to play The Black you might consider altering the dates of your trip.

      • Rick

        Ah right, I hadn’t even considered that the course may not be open. Makes sense, loss of perspective over here given the luxury of playing golf all year around. I’ll still be playing in Las Vegas and Scottsdale but was really keen to try and get on Bethpage Black.

        Guess I’ll have to make a trip back again during our winter and try to play it then!

        Thanks for the advice!