When it comes to sports, passionate New Yorkers have plenty of options. Yankees/Mets, Rangers/Islanders, Knicks/Nets, Giants/Jets, etc. Want golfing options? Well, look no further than Bethpage State Park where you have 5 courses to choose from. While the Black course gets all the accolades, today’s focus is going to be on the friendlier, yet stern, Red Course. While the Red Course may play the role of little brother to the Black, don’t be fooled into thinking this is a Giants vs Jets comparison as the two are much more evenly matched than that. (Bethpage Yellow, on a bad day, can represent the Jets in this analogy!).
The Black is longer and tougher and more suited to test the pros. However, it’s probably too brutal for the average golfer to play on a daily basis and not that fun as you are just trying to hang on for dear life on that back nine. As for the Red, it’s still a true test of your abilities while allowing you some better scoring opportunities along the way. There have been times where I have played both courses on back to back days and scored worse on the Red. However, my best round on the Red is 8 strokes better than my best round on the Black and I think that’s fairly indicative of how the courses can play.
Your round will start off with the daunting 1st and end with the showstopping 18th with a lot of thrills in between. Here is a closer look at some of the holes to note.
1st Hole – Par 4 – 471 Yards
Right off the bat, you are put to the test. Your first drive of the day will have to be long, and straight, to give yourself a glimmer of hope of reaching this green in two. If that’s not daunting enough, you’re surrounded by an antsy gallery who will judge every facet of your swing since they will be playing behind you for the next 5 hours. Whatever advantage you get from the downhill tee shot will be taken away with the long and uphill approach shot. The good news is that there are no bunkers around this green so do your best to get the ball up to the top of the hill. If you can manage a 4 here to start your day, take it and run!
4th Hole – Par 3 – 181 Yards
The 4th is a fabulous par 3 with a slightly angled skyline green that drops off to the back and to the left. An intimidating bunker guards most of this green and the hole begs for a draw if you have that in your bag. This is truly a hole where one swing can determine if you walk away with a birdie or a double-bogey. Club selection is key.
5th Hole – Par 5 – 528 Yards
The only par 5 on the front will certainly grab your attention after what appears to be a rather mundane hole from the tee. Be sure to keep your drive left in order to give yourself the best angle for your second shot on this three shot hole. Any drives pushed out to the right will need a 2nd shot to be shaped around a cluster of trees and find a sliver of fairway that narrows as you approach the green that sits on top of the hill. Two well-placed bunkers pinch the fairway 100 yards short of the green and these will have to be carefully navigated on your approach. The green is well protected as well, and the uphill approach will make it difficult for you to gauge your distance. Like many holes on the Red, well-placed shots can make this an easy par but one little mistake can turn this hole into a disaster!
9th Hole – Par 4 – 466 Yards
The long par 4 9th hole usually plays into the wind which basically makes it a half par hole. The hole gently doglegs left around a myriad of bunkers and in order to give yourself the shortest approach shot, you will have to challenge these bunkers.