Guest Author - Letta Meinen
The June issue of the Golf Digest is double sided or upside down version to preview the upcoming U. S. Open. The one side of the magazine is the normal look of Golf Digest showing Camilo Villegas with a stern look of a dedicated golfer. It states that Camilo has an article that states ďMake More BirdiesĒ. The cover also shows the many features inside you will find inside. 10 Rules on Mental Fitness, a question and answer with Phil Mickelson plus see Tigerís New Move.
As one turns the many pages to check out these articles you come half way and the pages are upside down. You will turn the magazine around and you get the U. S. Open Preview of Bethpage Blackís with the finishing hole #18 that will end up on the Red course #18. The USGA considered this a better finish for the U. S. Open.
This preview section is very interesting showing the many sand traps or bunkers that look menacing. There is a fold out section that shows the layout of all the holes on the Black course. I could not believe the bunkers listed in the drawings of all the holes, I counted 27 on the first hole and 28 on the second hole. Every fairway and green is lined with bunkers. Only hole #17 had the fewest with 10, this is a course you will want to hit a straight shot to stay out of trouble. Not only are the bunkers a problem but they let the grass grow long surrounding most of them.
What pictures they show of the course in this preview seems quite flat so that I am sure they designed all these problems. It states that some of the fairway bunkers have noses, fingers and islands where the rough is left to grow long. You will have a horrible stance or you might have to get down on your knees to hit a shot.
Seven years ago Joe Burbeck was identified as the architect of Bethpage Black. It states in this article that A. W. Tillinghast was Superintendent of the Long Island State Park and was a consultant in the construction of Bethpage. Burbeck is known to have designed three of the courses and renovated the fourth at Bethpage but Tillinghast has also been noted to have constructed all four 18 hole courses here. Either man has put their mark on Bethpage at Long Island State Park and we will enjoy watching as the players match their skill against this tough course.
According to this article I donít believe they have made the final decision on the 18th hole at Bethpage Black. The original plan was to include a fairway water hazard that never happened so now the USGA is considering revamping the 411 yard hole for the 2009 Open. They will tee off on Black #18 then go to Redís first fairway then to Redís 18th green for a par 4 but 500 yards long. That should make the closing hole of the 2009 Open an interesting change it will be great TV watching.