I had a week in New York City last week on a combined pleasure/business trip so took my clubs. On Saturday I decided to go out to BethPage State Park and play some golf.
Unfortunately I was there a week before the Black Course opened so had to settle for one of the others.
I left Manhattan at 9:15 on the Long Island Railroad and it was a pleasant 54min journey to Farmingdale Station (don’t get off at BethPage station – apparently there are fewer cabs). The cabbies clearly know what time the trains get in as there were 3 or 4 waiting. Don’t be surprised that they put 2, 3 or even 4 people in each cab. If they do, they still charge you a flat rate $4 per person. When I came back my myself it was still only $5.
I pitched up at around 10:15 and only had a 45min wait before teeing off on the Yellow Course.
The following day I thought I’d go back again and see if I could get on the Red Course. So on Sunday morning I got up at 6:30 am, got the train from Penn Station at 7:15 and was at the clubhouse by 8:15. The first tee time for a “single” on the Red was at 11:40!!! Yep, an over three hour wait. So I called a taxi (+1 516 249 1212) and headed back to Farmingdale to get a train straight back into Manhattan.
So, my top tip, is see if you can register ahead of time and use the phone reservation system. You HAVE to be registered and the information on the website does not make it clear if non-US residents can register in this way. But it would be worth checking/trying.
The Yellow Course
Considered by everyone to be the easiest course, it still took me 17 over par to get round (my exact handicap is 7.5 ) but it was freezing cold and blowing a hoolie, so in my own defence it wasn’t just my wayward driving that was to blame!
The course was in OK condition bearing in mind New York only just seemed to be coming out of winter weather so I suspect there’s been little or no “growing weather”. The greens had been punched & sanded the week before so they were not in best condition.
Overall, I enjoyed my day out. In summer I suspect the courses all look magnificent but with no leaves on the trees it was all pretty barren in early April.
I write this post the day after 14 year old Tianlang Guan was penalised one stroke for slow play in The Masters. Be prepared for at least a five hour round at BethPage. This is a “public” golf course which means that pretty much anyone can turn up and play and with 8min gaps between tee times, the course stacks up pretty quickly. You have been warned.