United States

Bethpage State Park Black Course

A.W. Tillinghast was given what any golf architect can only dream of: a piece of rolling sandy terrain covering almost 1500 acres on which to build 3 golf courses. The project was conceived by Robert Moses, who was considered by the public works community as flamboyant as was Tillinghast in the world of Classic Era golf design. One of many golf projects fueled by Depression era stimulus funds and large pools of labor and equipment, Bethpage State Park was opened in 1932 by the Long Island State Park Commission and consisted of a former private course (Devereaux Emmet, 1923), now known as the Green, along with picnic facilities, bridle paths, playing fields, a polo field (host to the finals of the 1994 U.S. Open Polo Championship), tennis courts, cross-country skiing trails, and hiking and biking trails. Tillinghast was retained to design three courses (Black, Red and Blue) set contiguously within the larger park. All were opened by 1936 to wide acclaim. As with most Tillinghast courses, the bunkering sets it apart, the bunkers are numerous, sometimes small and penal, other times horizon-filling. They present cross hazards, capture off-line shots and offer visual appeal and illusions. Most of the greens are relatively small, requiring an uphill shot. The drive zones are broad, and the course can only be described as being of a grand scale.

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