Bethpage Black Golf Course

The Affordable Way to Get on Bethpage Black, Site of the ’09 U.S. Open


<center>You don't need to spend $850 to get on Bethpage Black, Long Island, New York's marvelous muni.</center>

You don't need to spend $850 to get on Bethpage Black, Long Island, New York's marvelous muni.

I don’t normally do this, but today I have to call out Golf World magazine for something it did (or didn’t do, rather) in its latest (May 25) issue, which it billed as including a “special report” on how to get on Bethpage Black, site of the upcoming U.S. Open.

The cover reads: “So You Want to Play Bethpage Black? You can. But it’s expensive and complicated. Why it is so hard to get on this public course.”

This immediately caught my attention because, more than a year ago, we explained all the options you have for getting on Bethpage Black and the details (dates, times, phone numbers, the registration system, parking spaces, wrist bands, etc.) for each one. I respect Golf World for its tour coverage, so I was interested to see if they knew something about getting on Bethpage Black that we overlooked. 

Well, I flip to the story on p.32, and now all of a sudden it’s called, “Bethpage Gray (Market); Getting on this year’s U.S. Open venue is just a phone call away, but it’s going to cost you,” and the entire article is about a company called NY Golf Shuttle that charges $850 as a single to get on Bethpage Black via a quasi-scalping method.

Was the article interesting and well written? Yes. Did it fully answer the questions that readers really want to know (and the one implied on the cover)? Not even close.

Of course anyone can shell out close to a thousand dollars to play Bethpage Black, but the beauty of this awesome municipal course is that you don’t have to. As we explain in our article, it’s not that hard get on using the reservation system (you can even walk on if you’re willing to forgo some sleep) and the most that out-of-state players will pay is only $120 on a weekend.

What Golf World subscribers should really be upset about is that the editors could have provided this information, but didn’t. The article opens by saying, “the first return of a Google search for the phrase, ‘get on Bethpage black’ is”

Well, the second listing is our handy, step-by-step guide, which at last count had 62 comments and additional insider tidbits from players and caddies familiar with the course. Was this resource mentioned in the piece? Nope. An oversight I’m sure.

By the way, our article mentions NY Golf Shuttle, too, because it is, technically, one way to get on Bethpage Black, but we know that’s not what most of you really want to know. You want to know how anyone can set themselves up to use the reservation system, how far in advance you can make tee times, and, for some, the right way to go about the time-honored tradition of camping out to score a walk-on tee time.

All of this handy advice was recently published in the April 2009 issue of Golf Odyssey, along with the editors’ unique evaluation of the course, beautiful photos, and an interview with the “Open Doctor” himself, Rees Jones, in which he is asked, among other things, “Does the average golfer stand a chance on the Bethpage Black?”

You can download this issue (and any other) for free from the back-issue archive, available instantly just for taking a limited-time, free trial to Golf Odyssey.

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  1. Ray B.

    May 27, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Back in the early 80’s I once played Bethpage with my brother-in-law. We checked in with the starter and he said our options for the day were something like this; “Red course – 2 hr. wait, Blue course – 1 hr. 45 min, Green course – 1 hr. 30 mn., Yellow course 1 hr. 15 min. Black course – go right out.” It was the most intimadating first tee I ever saw.

  2. L.R.M.

    May 27, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Golfworld did a fine expose on the scam that’s running on Bethpage Black. That same company is taking it’s model to other high demand venues. I had no idea that this situation existed. Please give GolfWorld full credit for exposing the tawdry underside of Bethpage Black. And you guys should get credit for providing lots of information through regular channels. Myself, I really want the whole story.

  3. Tim M.

    May 27, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I’m actually curious as to how NYGolfShuttle secures the tee times. I’ve seen their ads, and would never pay those prices, but couldn’t help but wonder, if the tee time reservation system is hailed as being truly democratic, not to mention lucky, how can this organization secure tee times whenever they want?? Again, I would never pay, but I have long suspected since even before the 2002 Open that getting on the Black is not as democratic as they’d have you believe. I have heard that Dave Catalano [insert fancy Bethpage title here], holds back one tee time per hour for “dignitaries, celebrities” and when these spots go unused they tell the public that they are skipping a tee time to open the course up a bit and we all shake our heads in agreement. I’d like to see an investigative piece on how NY golf shuttle secures their times, and I’m sure you’d find more of the infamous Bethpage shenannigans going on that have been going on over there for years.

  4. Richard B.

    May 27, 2009 at 9:30 am

    I jokingly rejoiced when I read the artilce in Golf World hoping that it would discourage attempts to play, therefore making Bethpage even more accessible. I have spent a couple of nights in the bakery line and had my best night’s sleep knowing I will be playing my favorite course the next day.

  5. Craig B.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:25 am

    We’re not knocking Golf World for exposing how NY Golf Shuttle operates — they did a fine job. What we didn’t like was being mislead into thinking the story was going to be about getting on Bethpage Black by navigating the traditional, but often complicated/confusing, channels….the way 99% of people are going to access the course. And if they really wanted to provide this service to their readers (which was implied on the cover), they could have mentioned our step-by-step guide.

  6. Russ H.

    June 5, 2009 at 4:31 am

    The best way to get on Bethpage is to caddy for Todd Hamilton on Monday’s practice round DURING the US Open. Sound cool? Go to to get more details.

  7. Dennis G.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:07 am

    We are looking to get out on bethpage black as a twosome some time in august Midweek. What is the best time to get there to guarantee a tee time for the next time. Also should we use their caddies or carry our own bag? Also does any one have a suggestion of a public course to play on the way to Bethpage on the drive from Boston?

  8. trevor sumner

    August 21, 2009 at 6:11 am

    Hi I will be in New york arriving on nov 8 will be in ny for 8 days after travelling from queensland australia, i would love to play bethpage black i play off 4 handicap and is there any body who who would join me for a game around those dates. and how do i register for a game can someoneplease help. regards trev

  9. Craig Better

    August 21, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Trevor, follow the link in the above post to our tip on “How to Get on Bethpage Black.” It explains EVERYTHING you need to know.

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