With its rolling terrain and massive size, the Black Course at Bethpage State Park lends itself to a gorgeous photo, and since the 2002 U.S. Open, dramatic pictures of the glacier bunker, opening tee and sand-heavy finale have been easy to find. Less prevalent are artistic interpretations of the course's beauty, but a local artist has found that Bethpage can pose for a beautiful painting as well.
A.W. Tillinghast is the master behind the design of the Black Course, but Elaine Faith Thompson of Bohemia is the artist depicting Tillinghast's work, as well as other Long Island golf scenes, in vivid color on canvas. Since that Open more than a decade ago, Thompson -- whose previous work includes Long Island landmarks like the Big Duck in Flanders -- has expanded her collection with paintings of Shinnecock Hills for the 2004 Open, Bethpage again in 2009 and Sebonack for the U.S. Women's Open earlier this year.
Newsday profiled Thompson and displayed several of her course paintings last week. Thompson's works fill in much of the detail lost in the grainy black-and-white photos that exist of Long Island's 1930s-era golf courses. In one, a female golfer in early-1900s attire is captured in mid-swing at Timber Point Country Club. Great South Bay ripples in the background, just as it did when Timber Point was an exclusive private club in the early 20th century, and as it still does today beside the public Blue Course. In another, an old-time golfer takes aim at the Black's par-3 eighth, as spectators around the tee cast shadows near his ball and more onlookers wait in the distance beside the green.