A reshaping on two fronts at Bethpage
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Bethpage State Park’s Black Course, home to U.S. Opens in 2002 and ’09, is getting a new 15th green. It’s also getting a new head superintendent.
The historic A.W. Tillinghast-designed daily-fee layout in Farmingdale, N.Y., opened in 1935 and rated No. 18 on the Golfweek’s Best Classic list, went under the knife (actually, a bulldozer blade) on Nov. 17. The plan is to reduce the slope of the notoriously elusive, steeply pitched green on the uphill, 478-yard, par-4 15th hole.
The green has so much back-to-front slope that it offers only two usable hole locations. It gets special treatment during U.S. Opens, with rolling and reduced mowing so that it doesn’t become unplayable. Architect Rees Jones, who oversaw extensive renovations of Bethpage Black before both U.S. Opens, also is in charge of the latest project. Plans call for rebuilding the green, with the back lowered slightly and the front raised just enough to create more level areas for hole locations. Construction is being done by McDonald & Sons, with the work expected to take two weeks and with grow-in not to be completed until spring. The course is closed and will reopen in April.
In related news, Craig Currier, Bethpage State Park’s director of maintenance with authority over the park’s five courses, will be leaving after 12 years. Currier will move to a private golf club on Long Island, Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury. No successor at Bethpage has been named.