Kingsway Country Club

Introduction

How difficult is Bethpage Black? Let’s take a look at the toughest holes!

How difficult is Bethpage Black? Let’s take a look at the toughest holes!

PGA Championship 2019: The toughest holes at Bethpage Black, ranked!

Bethpage Black is no stranger to big-time golf. It hosted the U.S. Open in both 2002 and 2009, and it’s also twice staged the Barclays Championship during the FedEx Playoffs. Soon New York’s most beloved muni will again take center stage as a first-time venue for the PGA Championship.

Stretched to more than 7,400 yards, Bethpage Black is known to feature 18 tough holes. At the ’02 Open, one player broke par for 72 holes (Tiger Woods), and in ’09 just five finished in red numbers. So which of these 18 brutes is the biggest beast of them all? Below is how we’d size them up, and as a guide, we’ll use how they ranked from 1 (most difficult) to 18 (least difficult) at the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens.

18. No. 14: Par 3, 161 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 18 (2.903 scoring average)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 17 (2.975 scoring average)

The tee box here is about 15 feet above the green, and the little par 3 checks in as one of just two holes to play under par in both U.S. Opens. So, almost by default it ranks as Bethpage’s easiest heading into this PGA.

17. No. 4: Par 5, 517 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 16 (5.011)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 18 (4.740)

Bethpage’s most gettable par 5 is a fun, strategic hole where big hitters will have the option to go for the green in two, and short hitters or errant tee shots have a variety of spots to lay up.

16. No. 13: Par 5, 608 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 17 (4.941)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 16 (4.986)

En route to another heartbreaking runner-up finish, Phil Mickelson made eagle here in the final round in ’09 to tie Lucas Glover for the lead. Expect more fireworks here this year – and look for that Mickelson highlight on the CBS broadcast a time or two.

15. No. 2: Par 4, 389 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 13 (4.204)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 15 (4.065)

One of the few birdie holes, pros at past majors hit wedges into the green and will likely do the same at the PGA.

14. No. 6: Par 4, 408 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 14 (4.202)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 14 (4.088)

This hole is gettable but the putting surface is surrounded by bunkers, so no running it up. This is also the last time you’ll see the word “gettable” on this list.

13. No. 9: Par 4, 460 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 15 (4.086)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 12 (4.109)

Another long, brutal par 4 with a bunker just left of the fairway. Two bunkers also guard the green. It’s like a quick jab before No. 10 (see below) lands an uppercut.

12. No. 1: Par 4, 430 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 9 (4.259 scoring avg.)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 13 (4.100 scoring avg.)

The opening hole is famous for the warning sign stuck on the fence just behind the tee box. There were 99 bogeys, doubles and others here in ’09 against 63 birdies.

11. No. 18: Par 4, 411 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 11 (4.220)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 11 (4.123)

Fairway bunkers are everywhere on both sides and the green is pitched back-to-front. But because of its relatively short length, 18 actually presents a chance for a closing birdie – as long as a player hits the fairway off the tee.

10. No. 3: Par 3, 230 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 12 (3.211)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 6 (3.181)

Players need to fly a massive front bunker, but going too long is also trouble, as anything off the back runs down a hill. It was the toughest par 3 at the 2009 Open.

9. No. 8: Par 3, 210 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 8 (3.334)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 10 (3.123)

The tee is more than 40 feet above the green, so it’s a great hole for television.

8. No. 17: Par 3, 207 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 10 (3.224)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 9 (3.137)

In past majors, this hole was flanked by grandstands that further accent the natural, hilly amphitheater behind the green. Fans crank it up, and in terms of noise, excitement and overall atmosphere, this hole vaguely resembles 16th at TPC Scottsdale. (Imagine how it’ll be at the 2024 Ryder Cup!) It’s going to be a blast at the PGA, and will likely be the most exciting spot on the course.

7. No. 11: Par 4, 435 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 7 (4.376)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 8 (4.146)

This hole shares fairway bunkers with No. 10, and the landing zone bottlenecks. Two bunkers guard the front of the green, so the second shot is key.

6. No. 16: Par 4, 490 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 6 (4.411)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 7 (4.162)

This is where Sergio Garcia made an obscene gesture at a group of hecklers in 2002. Will New Yorkers continue to dog Sergio at the PGA?

5. No. 7: Par 4, 524 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 4 (4.479)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 4 (4.355)

This one is a par 5 for the paying public, but it’s a par-4 when hosting majors. Anyone who drives it into the left fairway bunker may have to chop out and play it as a par 6.

4. No. 5: Par 4, 478 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 5 (4.422)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 3 (4.390)

The tee box is elevated from the fairway, but the green here is about 20 feet above the short grass. It looks like a dogleg from the tee box but actually plays straight. A cool, optical illusion.

3. No. 10: Par 4, 502 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 3 (4.499)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 5 (4.350)

Seven bunkers flank the fairway landing zone, and there’s a valley between the fairway and putting surface. The green also features more undulations than most Bethpage surfaces. There will be some big numbers here – in ’09 there were 147 over-par scores and just 24 birdies.

2. No. 12: Par 4, 515 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 2 (4.523)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 2 (4.431)

Many players will likely try to bite off some of the left-dogleg on his this long par 4 … hopefully while avoiding the fairway bunker perched on the corner. The second shot is mostly blind. This hole gave up just 20 birdies in ’09.

1. No. 15: Par 4, 457 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 1 (4.600)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 1 (4.470)

It was the toughest hole on the course in each of Bethpage’s U.S. Opens, and there’s no reason it won’t defend the belt this time around. Expect a fair number of layups from players who miss the fairway with their drives. This uphill trek to the green is so steep, locals reportedly sled down it in wintertime. In ’09 it yielded just 17 birdies and 180 over-par scores. Sounds brutal.

In fact, it sounds like Bethpage.

SOURCE:  golf

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