I recently moved to Long Island, NY. After all I've heard about Bethpage (Black course), I decided to give it a try yesterday. There's not much else to say besides "play it". The course was in immaculate condition (I played with a friend of mine who grew up in the area and has played it upwards of 50 times. He said it was in the best condition he's ever seen it in). One piece of advice before you do go and play it... If you're not a single digit handicap, don't play from the tips. The course is manageable from the white tees, but the extra 20-80 yards on the par 4's makes a world of a difference.
For beginners, the course is annoyingly long in all the right (or wrong, depending on how you're looking at it) places. From the tips, the par 3's and 5's are manageable. There are a lot of very long par 4's, especially on the back 9. I didn't hit one drive under 260 and hit my longest just over 300. Even with decent distance off the tee, it felt like I was pulling my 3 or 4 iron out of my bag for every approach shot. Oh, and almost every tee shot required a carrying distance of 200 yards from the tips, some requiring 250 just to reach the fairway. That wasn't the worst part...
The rough. This is the part of the golf course that separates the men from the boys (apparently I'm still a boy). It's indescribable, which is why I'm telling you to just "play it". Where fairways are tight, a five yard miss is a game changer. I've never played in the thick, legitimate rough that pga professionals have to deal with and if you gave me 10 shots from 150 yards, I would hit the green 1 time. The ball settled right to the bottom of the rough and when standing it, it climbed above your ankles. Simply put, I had never played golf from this type of situation and didn't know how to deal with it.
It was clearly the hardest course I've played and can't wait to play it again. I ended up shooting a 92 (40 on the front, 52 on the back). I shot well on the front, but the length and mental toughness catches up to you on the back and the wheels fell off the wagon. As a NY resident, they charge $65 and it's double for a non-NY resident.
All I can say is, "play it".