Review: Bethpage State Park Golf Course – Green Course

Course Name: Bethpage State Park Golf Course – Green Course

Designer: Devereux Emmet (1923), A.W. Tillinghast (1934, Redesign)

Location: Farmingdale, New York

History: One of five courses at historic Bethpage State Park, the Green Course actually predates the others and was originally a 1923 private Devereux Emmet design named Lenox Hills Country Club. This Club didn’t last long due to the Depression and the State bought it in 1932, making it public. A.W. Tillinghast made changes to the course in 1934 to create room for the rest of the courses that would open in the coming years (Black, Blue, and Red).

Conditions: 7/10, Although not at the level of the Black Course, Bethpage Green is in decent condition with firm, fast fairways, and greens that generally roll true. The course is a bit scruffy once you stray off the fairway, however.

Value: 9/10, Like all Bethpage courses, the Green Course offers very strong value at just $38 to walk weekdays and $43 on weekends. There are additional discounts available for seniors, juniors, and twilight, making this an incredibly good deal.


Tee                           Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Back                         71           6378               70.2               129

Middle                     71          6096              68.9               127

Forward                   71          5387              72.6               125

Hole Descriptions: The Green Course at Bethpage would be the fourth course I’d play at the facility with only the Yellow remaining before completing all five. While clearly not on the same level as the excellent Black or Red courses, I found it fairly comparable to the Blue Course and a worthy play with a short, well-routed layout and a number of classical design features. The opening hole is essentially a mirror version of the Black’s 1st adjacent to it and the Green is often compared to the Black Course as the only other course at the facility to feature holes on the other side of Round Swamp Road. The Green Course is much easier, however, playing over 1000 yards shorter with very few fairway hazards, gentler terrain, and light rough.

The opening hole is one of the most memorable at Bethpage Green as a downhill, dogleg right 354 yard par 4. Running parallel and nearly identical (albeit shorter) to the Black’s 1st, this is a fun hole with scattered trees on either side and no real danger until you reach a green defended by bunkers on either side. It’s ironic that this is one of the best holes at the Green Course but the 1st is probably the worst at the Black Course.

It’s not uncommon for slicers on the Black to be playing the Green 1st with you!

Just like the Black Course, you cross Round Swamp Road at the completion of this hole. While it’s tempting to turn left towards the Black 2nd, the 2nd hole at the Green is to your right as a 380 yard straightaway par 4. Playing slightly uphill with trees along either side, this hole is most notable for its narrow, left-to-right sloped, elevated green defended by deep bunkers short and right.

The par 4 2nd

At 153 yards, the par 3 3rd hole is the shortest at Bethpage Green and plays uphill at an awkward angle to a perched green. Precision is required here as this left-to-right sloped green is defended by steep slopes long and right and a bunker short.

The uphill par 3 3rd

The 4th hole is a nice downhill 363 par 4 that plays much shorter and offers options off the teebox. You don’t need driver on this tight hole as a large crossbunker juts into the left fairway around 250 yards, making lay-up a good option. The right side of this fairway yields a better angle into a well-defended green guarded by large bunkers short, left, and long.

The par 4 4th is an attractive hole

The 5th hole is a fairly simplistic 400 yard dogleg left par 4, but again must be commended for the options it offers as a Cape design. With a very generous fairway, golfers are given the choice of cutting the left corner over a 210 yard water carry. There’s an additional crossbunker down the left at 270 yards first-time players will want to be wary of on this route. This flat approach is pretty straightforward to a back-to-front sloped green defended by a bunker left.

The dogleg par 4 5th
The approach at 5

The 6th hole is a tough par 3 playing slightly uphill at 190 yards. Featuring a relatively small green, this hole is defended by bunkers long and short right.

The par 3 6th

At 507 yards, the 7th hole is the first and shortest par 5 at Bethpage Green. This hole provides probably the widest landing area on the entire course but beware of some cool mounding on the right around 240 yards. Running straight for the first 410 yards, this hole abruptly turns left for the final 90 yards and those  down the left fairway will be blocked out by tall trees at the dogleg. This reachable green is large, back-to-front sloped, and defended by bunkers short on either side.

It’s hard to lose a ball at 7
The approach at 7 around the dogleg

The 347 yard par 4 8th hole is another rather simplistic dogleg left with a generous fairway turning left around 210 yards. Driver isn’t needed here and in fact might be a dangerous play. Three pretty bunkers guard short of a narrow green that’s remarkable for some interesting ripples on both sides that are almost certainly original Emmet features. These ripples are likely too close to the edges to affect pin positions but certainly create some interesting chips.

The par 4 8th
A closer look at the interesting 8th green

As the number 1 handicap, the 9th hole closes the front side as a lengthy 560 yard par 5. A third consecutive dogleg left, this hole features a progressively narrower fairway lined by trees on either side. The dogleg occurs at about 400 yards, making the lay-up a difficult shot for those down the left side. This approach plays slightly uphill to an elevated, back-to-front sloped green defended by bunkers right and short left.

The par 5 9th
The approach from short of the 9th dogleg

The 10th is a fun hole playing severely downhill as a 343 yard par 4. Playing straightaway with little danger, golfers can be aggressive here off the teebox but are just fine laying up. This approach plays over two large bunkers short of a relatively flat green with ripples on the sides again.

The par 4 10th
The 10th green

The 11th hole is a bit forgettable as an 171 yard flat par 3 to an undulating green defended by bunkers on either side. Make your par and move on.

The par 3 11th

At 291 yards, the 12th hole is a really interesting short par 4. While reachable in theory, this hole doglegs to the right at about 160 yards and the teebox is situated awkwardly with a poor angle over trees. If you can’t hit it high and long, the best play is a lay-up down the left. This approach is excellent to a small, elevated green defended by bunkers short, left, and right. Most notably, this green features a severe hump running through the middle which makes putting from the wrong level nearly impossible. I do like this hole but think it would benefit from either pushing the teebox back about 70 yards or cutting down the trees on the right to make reaching the green more feasible.

The par 4 12th is confusing off the teebox
A closer look at the 12th green my partners thought was too severe

The par 5 13th is the longest hole at Bethpage Green at a lengthy 572 yards. Another slender dogleg left, this hole features a downhill teeshot to a generous fairway lined by trees on either side. This approach plays slightly downhill to a relatively flat green defended by a bunker short right.

The par 5 13th
The approach at 13

The 14th hole is a boring hole as a straightaway, flat 366 yard par 4. This hole features no danger besides three bunkers guarding either side of a back-to-front sloped green.

The par 4 14th is all in front of you

At 207 yards, the 15th hole is the longest par 3 on the course but plays shorter from an elevated teebox. A nice hole, this is almost certainly an original Emmet featuring a large, undulating green defended by a bunker right and three small coffin bunkers left.

The par 3 15th

The 16th hole is another very straightforward hole as a level 358 yard par 4. Again, this hole features no danger besides a narrow green defended well by bunkers left, long, and right.

You better wear a hardhat on the 16th teebox

At 418 yards, the 17th hole is the longest par 4 at Bethpage Green and in my opinion the most difficult hole on the course. A dogleg right with a narrow fairway, this teeshot is quite difficult with OB right the entire way and a water hazard down the left between 210 and 290 yards. Once in the fairway, this approach plays towards an elevated green on a slight shelf defended by a bunker short left.

A high cut is the preferred teeshot at 17

Like the Black Course, you must cross back over Round Swamp Road to access the final part of the course. The 18th hole is an excellent 398 yard par 4 and strong closer. An uphill dogleg right, OB lines the left the entire way while a large fescue-covered hill guards the right. This approach plays at least one club uphill to an elevated green defended by bunkers and a steep drop-off left.

Although the fence is an eyesore, the 18th is a great hole
Bethpage Green’s final approach

General Comments: The Bethpage complex is huge, but the clubhouse and practice facilities are fairly average with a short, matted driving range and two small putting greens. Like all courses at Bethpage, pace of play at the Green can be quite poor and it certainly wasn’t great the day I played.

Bethpage’s range could use some TLC
The Bethpage clubhouse

Verdict: Although not on the same level as Bethpage Black or Red, Bethpage Green is a nice municipal course offering strong value, classic architecture, and an easier layout for all golfers to enjoy. It is worth a play in the area.

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