Ten years after the first U.S. Open on the Black Course and one mere turn of the century since major renovations initially began at the park, the golf courses at Bethpage State Park finally have a website that at least makes an attempt to flaunt their goods. Better late than never.
The Bethpage Pro Shop updated its website -- www.BethpageProShop.com -- earlier this year and now includes brief descriptions of all five courses, a photo tour of the Black Course and even some before-and-after shots of the pre-U.S. Open reconstruction. Golfers who left Bethpage without a souvenir shirt can order one online. Best of all, however, is a detailed history of the park with a collection of photos from the 1930s and '40s rarely seen outside the halls of the Bethpage clubhouse and historical texts. And anyone who follows Golf On Long Island should know that we are suckers for local course history.
Long Island golfers and visiting groups now have a resource that makes the greatest public golf facility in the United States appear somewhat like...the greatest public golf facility in the United States. Previously, the Pro Shop website was a basic-info destination seemingly untouched since the 2002 Open. It was only slightly more useful than the bare-bones New York State Parks website that treats Bethpage (and Montauk Downs, for that matter) the same as the local pitch-and-putt.
Of course, the updated site is not without its flaws. Many of the Black Course photos are outdated and do not reflect some recent course changes. The facility calendar makes no mention of The Barclays (instead it says all courses are open the week of August 20). And, keep in mind, the Bethpage Pro Shop site is not associated with state-park operations at the course -- as in reservations, tee-time questions, phone-system questions, and so on. For that you need to go through the park directly.
The history section is worth a few minutes on its own. And for more looks back in time at Long Island municipal courses, check out Golf On Long Island's Closer Look: Bethpage Yellow #12, and The Forgotten Greens of Eisenhower Red.