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Golf Australia Express : Issue 8
THE LIST THE COURSE (WORLD) Bethpage Black, New York, USA THE JEWEL of the Bethpage State Park’s 90-hole complex—the Black course—has been known to New Yorkers since 1936. But the long and challenging track didn’t make world prominence until the 2002 US Open. Bethpage Black earned a special place in golf’s colourful history when it became the first publicly- owned and operated golf course to stage the US Open. And wasn’t it great to see the USGA bypass private and country clubs for a venue where everyday golfers can play anytime? In the lead-up to the 2002 Open critics suggested the course was far too easy and would cough up record scoring. It was a gloomy prediction proven incorrect. Only Tiger Woods broke par and when the major returned in 2009, just five players finished under the card. For those keen to try out the course at the championship length with its 76.6 rating, the 7366- yard (6735-metre) par 71 layout is soul-destroyingly tough. Even off the forward tees, the 6684-yard (6111-metre) course plays to a rating of 73.1. Whichever tee you choose, Bethpage Black is a major challenge.