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Bethpage Black Course: Hole-by-hole for the PGA Championship

A view from the tee of the 18th

A view from the tee of the 18th hole, a 411-yard Par 4, at Bethpage Black. Credit: Barry Sloan

A hole-by-hole guide to Bethpage Black as seen through the eyes of Kelley Brooke, the Bethpage Director of Golf.

No. 1: Par 4, 430 yards

The opening drive from an elevated tee bends sharply right with the right corner pinched by a cluster of trees. Some of the trees to the right are new and strategically placed, making it less likely anyone will look to carry the corner.  The front third of the green, the smallest on the course, slopes sharply and approach shots with too much spin could roll off.

No. 2: Par 4, 389 yards

This is the only par 4 under 400 yards.  The drive, likely with a long iron or fairway metal, needs to bend left between tree-lined ridges. It will be a short iron approach with deep bunkers guarding the right side of the green. With the green well above the players, it is difficult to make a short iron stick to the putting surface when it is firm.

No. 3: Par 3, 230 yards

The green is shallow and angled from front right to back left. The bunkers on the left front of the green are deep and players will only be able to see the top of the flagstick. The wind on this hole is sometimes undetectable and plays havoc with shots given the shallowness of the green.

No. 4: Par 5, 517 yards

A cluster of bunkers cross the fairway from the right and some longer hitters will hit 3-wood to stay short. From there the hole climbs 50 feet to the green with a blind shot. The prudent play is off to the right of the green leaving a fairly simple pitch shot. Players going for the green in two must be careful not to go long.

No. 5: Par 4, 478 yards

The massive cross bunkers on the right side of the fairway could be carried by the longer hitters, but the ideal shot is down the right side to take trees out of play on the left. The second shot is uphill to a small, well-bunkered green which is hard to hit. The green doesn’t hold longer approach shots well.

No. 6: Par 4, 408 yards

A straightaway hole with a fairway squeezed by bunkers. Some players might go with driver to leave a very short pitch, if they keep it in the fairway. Those who lay back will have a shot of about 180 yards that plays considerably downhill.

No. 7: Par 4, 524 yards

A par 5 for the public, this hole requires two long shots. Tall trees down the right will prevent players from cutting the dogleg. The green site is relatively flat and allows for balls to run on to the putting surface, a rarity on the Black. The green can be tricky to read with a ridge running through the middle of it.

No. 8: Par 3, 210 yards

There is a highly elevated tee and a pond that guards the green. The bank on the front of the green has been shaved, so a shot too short of a front pin position is likely to roll back into the water. There is a ridge through the green that can serve as a backboard.

No. 9: Par 4, 460 yards

The hole bends sharply left with a cluster of bunkers on the left corner. Those playing short of the bunkers will have an uneven lie in the fairway and a limited view of the green which is protected by two deep bunkers at the front. A tee shot to the right leaves a much longer approach.

No. 10: Par 4, 502 yards

A straightaway hole with bunkering down the right and left sides. A tee shot missing left will find either tall fescue, the bunkers or grass hollows. The elevated green is guarded by bunkers and can be hard to hold, especially if playing downwind.

No. 11: Par 4, 435 yards

The tee shot is somewhat blind to a fairway tucked between mounding. A drive down the right side protects against the bunkering down the left, but this is a fairway that can be hard to hit. The green is well sloped from back to front and has a false front.

No. 12: Par 4, 515 yards

Maybe the toughest tee shot on the course, requiring a drive across bunkering as the fairway bends to the left. Shorter hitters will have to go to the right, leaving a much longer approach shot. This is a large green with pronounced undulations and it slopes severely from back to front. There will be a lot of long putts here.

No. 13: Par 5, 608 yards

If the course is firm, the hole can be reached in two shots. A large bunker to the left of the fairway is in play off the tee and cross bunkers 30 yards short of the green will punish those who don’t carry them. The bunker on the right side of the green is one of the deepest on the course.

No. 14: Par 3, 161 yards

The tee shot is over a valley to a green that has been rebuilt to be wider than it is deep, sloping from back to front and right to left. The front bunkers are deep and menacing. A shot that goes long could roll 30 yards off the back of the green.

No. 15: Par 4, 457 yards

Anyone missing the fairway is unlikely to be able to reach the green with a second shot. The green, one of the most difficult on the course, is 50 feet above the fairway, making it difficult to judge approach shots.  The climb to the green is known locally as Heart Attack Hill.

No. 16: Par 4, 490 yards

The elevated tee shots drop 60 feet to a fairway that bends to the left. This is one of the few greens on the long holes that can be seen from the tee. Bunkers guard the green. The wind tends to be in the players’ faces on this hole and the fairway can be tough to hit.

No. 17: Par 3, 207 yards

The slightly elevated green is 43 yards wide and split by a spine down the middle. A deep bunker guards the front of the green, which is largely surrounded by sand. The green is shallow and might be the toughest green to hit, especially if there is a crosswind.

No. 18: Par 4, 411 yards

This short finishing hole presents some good birdie opportunities provided a player gets the ball in the fairway. The fairway is narrowed by cluster bunkers on the both sides that are defined by fingers of fescue that could be very difficult to play from. Five new bunkers were added down the right side, encouraging players to go with a longer club to carry them.

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