Bethpage State Park has five eighteen-hole golf courses, named in order of their difficulty, the Yellow, Green, Blue, Red, and Black Courses. In 2002 the Black Course became the first publicly owned and operated course to host the U.S. Open. The Tournament was seen as one of the most difficult and exciting U.S. Opens in history, breaking attendance records and creating an energetic and cheerful atmosphere for the U.S. Open. Bethpage Black also hosted the U.S. Open once again in 2009.
Prior to 2002, all U.S. Opens had been held at private golf courses or country clubs or at privately owned resorts, and while open to the public, were very expensive for the public to play, with greens fees of several hundred dollars per round. There are multiple ways for golfers to secure a round on the popular Black Course. To register for a tee time, guests must have their driver’s license on file with the park’s reservation system, walk-ups are also accepted, although this option often requires that golfers wait in line in the parking lot through the night.
In its July 2008 list of America’s greatest golf courses, Golf Digest ranked Bethpage Black #26 overall, #6 in the state of New York, #6 of America’s 50 toughest courses, and #5 in its list of America’s greatest public golf courses. The PGA lists Bethpage Black as one of its top ten ‘World’s Most Beautiful Courses’ list.
Bethpage Black opened in 1936, designed by noted golf architect A.W. Tillinghast, who also designed its Blue and Red Courses, also opened in the mid-1930s.