Bethpage Black golf course - sign
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Bethpage Black golf course - sign
The sign at the first tee says it all about Bethpage Black. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Images
Bethpage Black golf course - 3rd
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Bethpage Black golf course - 3rd
The par 3 third hole -- the "easiest" handicap hole on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park -- can play anywhere from 128 yards to 230 yards. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bethpage Black golf course - 4th
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Bethpage Black golf course - 4th
It's a maze of bunkers on the par-5 fourth hole on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bethpage Black golf course - 5th
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Bethpage Black golf course - 5th
A caddie lugs two bags toward the fifth fairway on the Black Course at Long Island's Bethpage State Park. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bethpage Black golf course - 5th green
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Bethpage Black golf course - 5th green
The fifth green sits well above the fairway, a pattern that makes hitting any green on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park a long shot. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bethpage Black G.C. - 7th
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Bethpage Black G.C. - 7th
Clearing a large bunker off the seventh tee only leads to more challenges on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bethpage Black golf course - 8th
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Bethpage Black golf course - 8th
The dramatic eighth hole on the Black golf course at Bethpage State Park always attracts a crowd when there's a major tournament. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bethpage Black golf course - 14th
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Bethpage Black golf course - 14th
Players must contend with a valley and a bunker on the par-3 14th hole on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bethpage Black golf course - 15th
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Bethpage Black golf course - 15th
It's like mountain climbing to reach the 15th green of the famed Black golf course at Bethpage State Park. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bethpage Black golf course - 17th
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Bethpage Black golf course - 17th
Can you find a safe path to reach the 17th green on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park? Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bethpage Black golf course - no. 18
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Bethpage Black golf course - no. 18
If you miss the fairway bunkers, the 18th hole on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park is actually quite forgiving compared to the rest of the course. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bethpage State Park - bar
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Bethpage State Park - bar
There's a cold one waiting at the 19th hole for any golfer who survives the Black Course at Bethpage State Park. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bethpage State Park - check-in area
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Bethpage State Park - check-in area
It's an interesting experience checking in for a round on any of the five golf courses at Bethpage State Park on Long Island. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor

Warning: The Black Course at Bethpage State Park on Long Island will humble you

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- The Black Course at Bethpage State Park has a championship pedigree like no other municipal golf course in the country.

It hosted rowdy crowds for U.S. Opens in 2002 and 2009. On tap are the 2019 PGA Championship and 2024 Ryder Cup. The Black, originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast in 1936 and renovated by Rees Jones in 1997-98, is a ferocious test of golf famous for its sign at the first tee that reads: "Warning -- The Black Course is an extremely difficult course which we recommend only for highly skilled golfers." Sheer length, bold bunkering and burly rough challenge anybody lucky enough to nab a tee time through the state's phone-in registration system.

The par-71 golf course plays 6,684 yards from the whites and 7,468 yards from the blues. Paralyzing par 4s come one after another on the back nine -- 434 yards at no. 10, 421 yards at no. 11, 432 yards at no. 12, 430 yards at no. 15 and 457 yards at no. 16. Imagine a putting green on top of a four-story skyscraper. That's what it's like trying to hit the 15th green in regulation.

Bethpage Black's 411-yard 18th hole has been dubbed the "weakest" final hole in championship golf by some golf insiders, although for most of us it's just another bogey waiting to happen.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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