Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Bethpage Story (in Pictures)

As promised, here is the story about how my trip to play golf on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in New York. In order to keep it short, I've decided to just let the pictures tell the story, so many of the details have been left out.
It's virtually impossible for a nonresident to get a tee time, so our only hope was to secure one of the 6 tee times reserved for walk-ons each day. The Black Course is in such high demand that you must sleep in your car to guarantee your spot in line. Here is Joe at about 4 am as we wait for the Park Ranger to come get all the players that are trying to walk-on.
Here is the line of cars hoping to get a walk-on slot. Keep in mind that only the first 6 foursomes are guaranteed to play. It looks like there are going to be a lot of disappointed golfers this morning.
The Park Ranger finally arrives around 4:45 am and passes out tickets to everyone in line signifying what number you are. We were third in line (yes, ahead of us were some Penn State students that were even crazier than we were and showed up 20 hours before their tee time!) We are about to get our tee time, and within hours should be playing Bethpage Black, the host course of this year's U.S. Open Championship.
Then we were told the bad news! We flew halfway across the country and slept in our cars, only to be told that there was too much water on the course because of the rain that week. But we weren't going down that easily. Certainly it would be dried up by the next day, so now we decided to sleep in the car for the second straight night.


This is when the story becomes almost tragic, because it rained that second night and they closed the Black Course again! We were about to give up and go to the airport when two phone calls changed everything. First, a call from Joe to the golf course superintendent gave us an opportunity to walk the Black course, as well as a virtual guarantee that we would play if we could stay one more day. Second, a call from "Bobby" in the pro shop caught the attention of the local newspaper.

So here (left) are Joe and Martin walking the course. The course actually was really wet that second day, so we understood their decision to keep it closed. The fourth hole (right) was one of the greatest golf holes we had ever seen.
Then Friday, the sun came out and we were able to play. Finally! They even mowed it for us that morning. Notice the warning sign on the first tee.


Now here we are playing the course. It was definitely worth the wait! But sleeping in the car three nights (and lack of any real golf ability) produced a pretty high score for me.

This first picture is on the first tee. There was a substantial crowd gathered behind us to watch. The third picture was the 8th hole, where I got my only par of the day. That fourth picture does not truly show how deep the bunkers were. The last picture was our final hole. How awesome does that look???



One of the coolest experiences of my life!

2 comments:

  1. Fantastic story and pics. Rusty was very jealous!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Still waiting on my wife of the year award. :)

    ReplyDelete

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