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Bethpage Black

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14 minutes ago, LICC said:

Just the opposite- I think you like to take contrarian views.

I'm not doing it here just for the heck of it - I think that BPB is wildly over-rated. I think it's boring.

15 minutes ago, LICC said:

As it is I’ve gotten you to agree that the Black is on a great property for golf

It completely fails to live up to what it could or should be given the property.

14 minutes ago, LICC said:

 and has at least some holes that you don’t think are boring.

If you need to hang your hat on me agreeing that "some holes aren't boring" then that says quite a bit.

16 minutes ago, LICC said:

And no one has refuted all the shots I noted that have strategic decisions involved.

Untrue.

Get an avatar for yourself, please.

My opinion in a nutshell?

  • 20-26 yard wide fairways on relatively long holes force you to almost always just hit a driver and to find the really narrow fairway. There's almost never a decision to be made on the tee about the club OR the location of the tee shot. Angles don't matter, but they really don't matter at BPB.
  • The bunkers are set into the rough, meaning that the fairway corridors have been somewhat artificially narrowed.
  • The greens are generally flat, relatively oval-shaped, and uninspiring. There are few that have any interesting contours, interior OR exterior.
  • Virtually every hole is a mid- to long-iron that must carry and land and stop on the green. Very few holes even allow a run-up shot.
  • Thick rough with virtually no recovery options everywhere.
  • Almost no half-par type holes (unless you count the ample 4.5-par par fours).
  • A dud of a hole opens and closes the course: 1 and 18, meh.
  • Six-hour rounds are common.

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37 minutes ago, iacas said:

I'm not doing it here just for the heck of it - I think that BPB is wildly over-rated. I think it's boring.

It completely fails to live up to what it could or should be given the property.

If you need to hang your hat on me agreeing that "some holes aren't boring" then that says quite a bit.

Untrue.

Get an avatar for yourself, please.

My opinion in a nutshell?

  • 20-26 yard wide fairways on relatively long holes force you to almost always just hit a driver and to find the really narrow fairway. There's almost never a decision to be made on the tee about the club OR the location of the tee shot. Angles don't matter, but they really don't matter at BPB.
  • The bunkers are set into the rough, meaning that the fairway corridors have been somewhat artificially narrowed.
  • The greens are generally flat, relatively oval-shaped, and uninspiring. There are few that have any interesting contours, interior OR exterior.
  • Virtually every hole is a mid- to long-iron that must carry and land and stop on the green. Very few holes even allow a run-up shot.
  • Thick rough with virtually no recovery options everywhere.
  • Almost no half-par type holes (unless you count the ample 4.5-par par fours).
  • A dud of a hole opens and closes the course: 1 and 18, meh.
  • Six-hour rounds are common.

Point by point:

• I noted above 6 holes with different options and decisions to be made off the tee.

• I agree some fairways should be widened and noted which ones above. That said, the holes are still good to excellent and highly memorable and far from boring

• This point about the greens being plain and flat is somewhat a misnomer. Yes, they are not Winged Foot or Augusta, but they aren’t all flat ovals either. 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 11( since the changes last year), and 15-18 all have shapes, slopes, tiers or undulations to a significant degree. 

• Agreed, the course was designed to be a beast tee to green

• Same comment as above, although I will say that this point also gets overplayed. It’s not like you have no option but to chip out of the rough. Hit a wedge or short iron, position yourself for a wedge into the green, and try to go up and down. 

• Agreed there are no short or drivable par 4s. Those are good features but not some make or break requirement for a course to be not boring

• 1 and 18 are fine. They aren’t world beaters but you can probably count on one hand the number of courses with all 18 world class holes. And Golden Age courses often had soft opening holes and their best holes before the 18th because back then Match Play was the dominant game and matches often didn’t make the 18th. And 18 is not boring at all, with the bunkering and elevated greensite

• I have played the Black countless times and never once came close to a 6 hour round. Maybe if you catch a very busy Saturday afternoon you will hit 5-1/2 or so. Usually I play in 5 hours or just past that. People who play the Bethpage courses know that rounds on the Red and Blue take longer than rounds on the Black. And btw, that is no different than any other public course in the NY-NJ area except Ferry Point. 

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6 hours ago, LICC said:

• I noted above 6 holes with different options and decisions to be made off the tee.

Without going into detail, I disagree with some of them, and the "choice" on 18 is a bit of what makes it a lousy finishing hole.

6 hours ago, LICC said:

• I agree some fairways should be widened and noted which ones above.

So a point for me.

6 hours ago, LICC said:

• This point about the greens being plain and flat is somewhat a misnomer.

Not really. A few greens have a tier or a ridge, but mostly, they're relatively flat and uninteresting. You don't really have to consider the angle (not that you could with the narrow fairways) of approach nor do you have to worry about staying below the hole much. 15 has a tier, but you're just hoping to hit that green, not worrying about "staying below" the hole.

6 hours ago, LICC said:

• Agreed, the course was designed to be a beast tee to green

Snoozefest.

6 hours ago, LICC said:

• Same comment as above, although I will say that this point also gets overplayed. It’s not like you have no option but to chip out of the rough. Hit a wedge or short iron, position yourself for a wedge into the green, and try to go up and down. 

You come back with having the option to "wedge out"? Snoozefest.

6 hours ago, LICC said:

• Agreed there are no short or drivable par 4s. Those are good features but not some make or break requirement for a course to be not boring

I didn't say it was make or break. It was yet another reason why BPB is uninteresting.

The only thing going for it is:

  • It's on good land (but does not make the most of it).
  • It's tough.

That's it.

6 hours ago, LICC said:

• 1 and 18 are fine.

1 and 18 suck, but disagree, that's fine. As I disagree with you.

6 hours ago, LICC said:

• I have played the Black countless times and never once came close to a 6 hour round.

I've never played it in less than 5.5. Maybe things are faster these days.

Still boring, and if five hours is the rule…

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1 is an elevated tee shot, sharp dogleg with a back to front tiered green, open in front and nice bunkering around the green. It’s not the greatest hole in the world but it doesn’t suck. Your insisting it does just shows you are digging in to your position rather than thinking about this reasonably. 

I’m not sure which options I described you think don’t exist but they are there. And your insistence that 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, or 12 don’t have angles is unrealistic. Like I first said, this whole discussion makes me question any judgment you post on the merits of a golf course  

 

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18 minutes ago, LICC said:

1 is an elevated tee shot, sharp dogleg with a back to front tiered green, open in front and nice bunkering around the green. It’s not the greatest hole in the world but it doesn’t suck.

Let's play your game: "Yes it does."

18 minutes ago, LICC said:

Your insisting it does just shows you are digging in to your position rather than thinking about this reasonably.

No, it means I understand the difference between opinion and fact.

18 minutes ago, LICC said:

I’m not sure which options I described you think don’t exist but they are there. And your insistence that 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, or 12 don’t have angles is unrealistic. Like I first said, this whole discussion makes me question any judgment you post on the merits of a golf course  

Here's where we venture into fact land: they don't have angles. Regular PGA Tour events barely have angles anymore - shots to relatively flat greens from fairways 25 yards wide DO NOT have angles.

Here's the angle to the fifth hole from the left side and the right side of the fairway:

Screen Shot 2019-05-27 at 10.32.39 AM.png

That "massive" (sarcasm) change in angle changes virtually nothing about the approach shot, how it feeds against the contours into the green, etc, AND pros and good players aren't aiming for one side of the fairway or the other - not when the fairway is 25 yards wide. They're just aiming at the middle of the fairway and hoping that the drive finishes somewhere in the short grass.

That shot contrasts with, say, the third to the 15th at Augusta National if you have to lay up, where the fairway is 70 yards wide of playable yardage (the fairway connects to the neighboring hole's fairway, but trees encroach at about 75-80 yards on the right-hand side).

Here's the deal, @LICC. I'm glad you like BPB. But you're not going to convince me that it's great, and if anything, your arguments are making me find more and more reasons to dislike the place.

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Check the 1:40 mark here and see what Jim Furyk says about Bethpage Black’s angles:

 

 

 

 

Your example on the 5th doesn’t tell much because the choice of angle isn’t between the left side and right side of the fairway. It is which angle to take to clear the right side fairway bunker to get the best positioning for the approach shot. 

Also go to the 2:48 mark and see what Patrick Reed says about the greens

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14 minutes ago, LICC said:

Your example on the 5th doesn’t tell much because the choice of angle isn’t between the left side and right side of the fairway. It is which angle to take to clear the right side fairway bunker to get the best positioning for the approach shot.

The angle you take off the tee is similarly small.

You don’t know me very well if you think I care what two Tour players think. I don’t know anywhere near as much about design as Tom Doak or others but I may very well know more than those two do.

At the end of the day, dude, I disagree with you. So do many others who know more about GCA than I do.

Your counter-arguments are only managing to firm up my opinion.

P.S. So…

  • Jim Furyk said you have “awkward angles.” He didn’t say you had a choice of angles or that it affects your shot choice, etc.
  • The guy at 2:30 says “Many people think the greens here are flat but we can put the pin in some locations where you get as much as 6, 8 even 10 INCHES of break.” Uhhhhh… that’s flat dude.
  • Patrick said only “there’s so much slope, they’re so quick.” What insight.

Sheesh.

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They don’t have to know about course deign. What they know is whether they need to think about angles when they choose their shots and whether they need to think about slopes and undulations when putting on greens. Since you brought up Doak as superior in course knowledge, didn’t he give Bethpage an 8 on his scale? I don’t think he would give a snooze fest course an 8. I don’t know why you keep spinning your wheels on this but you made a way out there judgement about a golf course and it’s just not holding water. I guess you just  have idiosyncratic resolute opinions about long golf courses with narrow fairways. Ok. 

Oh and I added a profile pic. Just from the picture you can see how bored no that hole is. A triple elevation double dogleg par 5 with massive cross bunkering and a green that slopes back on approach shots from the left side of the fairway. A real snooze fest (massive sarcasm)

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4 minutes ago, LICC said:

They don’t have to know about course deign.

Yes, they do.

4 minutes ago, LICC said:

What they know is whether they need to think about angles when they choose their shots

Jim said the angles off the tee were awkward. First, this isn't what I'm talking about regarding "angles," and second… they're not, really, because the ball only rolled a few yards, so it was not about playing the angles at all - just hit it where you want without fear of the ball bouncing through the angled fairway. Had the ground been firmer, shaping the ball might have actually mattered, but it wasn't, and hasn't been when I've played it. It's well watered, which keeps the rough thick, too.

4 minutes ago, LICC said:

whether they need to think about slopes and undulations when putting on greens.

Nobody saying the greens are flat are meaning it literally, as if there's NO break on any putt. But "up to 10" of break" is a "flat" green.

C'mon, you're being ridiculous at this point.

4 minutes ago, LICC said:

Since you brought up Doak as superior in course knowledge, didn’t he give Bethpage an 8 on his scale?

IIRC it was a 7 in the old Confidential Guide.

He's also said: "Whether anyone thinks Bethpage Black is a “great” course is 100% a matter of subjective opinion. After my travels of the past two weeks, I can say it would comfortably be the best course in Kenya or Zambia, but that’s not saying much."

And "It's been a long time since I was back out on the Black course; you can trace that to it not fitting my game at all.  Looking back at highlights yesterday, I was dumbstruck at how many of the holes have no short grass at all on the approach.  There are SEVEN par-4 holes [2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 15, 18] where your only option is to fly the ball onto the green.  By comparison, Pine Valley, which is noted for "target golf", only has four, and three of them are its short par-4's. The upshot of that is that if you're a short hitter who has to hit long clubs into the greens, you are dead meat. Does that disqualify it as a great course? Well, it's all a matter of opinion. 😉"

And… "The first time I played the Black course was on a weekday afternoon in 1979.  The only other player in my group was my mother, who was 60 years old, and couldn’t carry the ball more than 100 yards. She didn’t finish every hole, and if I remember right, she quit playing after the 14th and just walked the rest.  But how far do you think she would have made it on today’s course?  My guess is is I’d have had to bury her on #5. Do you think it’s a better course now, because it rules out more players? To me, it’s just the opposite. It’s easy to build a course my mom couldn’t play.  It’s much harder to build a course that’s interesting for great players, that she could get around." (Emphasis added.)

Finally: "My point was that The Black, which you love so much, was much more playable 40 years ago than it is now.  I asked if you thought it was inferior then, because of that, and if so, why?   What’s the point of beating up a below-average player?  What’s the point of a 200-yard carry over hay, when it’s totally irrelevant to good players anyway?  Or why not make it 300 yards?  That would sort out Brooks and DJ from the likes of you and me."

4 minutes ago, LICC said:

I don’t know why you keep spinning your wheels on this

I'm not "spinning my wheels." I'm simply explaining my opinion.

4 minutes ago, LICC said:

it’s just not holding water.

It's holding its water just fine. Just like the over-watered BPB.

4 minutes ago, LICC said:

I guess you just  have idiosyncratic resolute opinions about long golf courses with narrow fairways. Ok.

Nope. Love Oakmont. Don't really care for BPB.

20 minutes ago, LICC said:

Oh and I added a profile pic. Just from the picture you can see how bored no that hole is. A triple elevation double dogleg par 5 with massive cross bunkering and a green that slopes back on approach shots from the left side of the fairway. A real snooze fest (massive sarcasm)

I never said every hole there was boring.

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I've only seen it on tv, but I like the first hole with that elevated tee shot

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Ok, Doak gave it a 7 back in the 1990s when it’s conditioning was horrendous. The Golf Club Atlas members a few years ago did their own ranking of the best courses in the world and ranked the Black number 41 in the world. That is Doak 8-9 range. Tom Doak has also said that “Bethpage Black has great terrain and a stretch of great, memorable holes from the all-world #4 through #7”.

 

I gave a description of the good features of the first hole to show why it doesn’t “suck” as you insist. And you’re response was No, it sucks. That is spinning, not explaining your opinion 

Ok, so your “angles” are different than Jim Furyk’s angles, so only your angles count and other angles are boring. Sure

You flat out said all the greens were flat and oval shaped. I’m showing that your statement is not accurate. I’ve agreed the greens generally are relatively normal compared to courses with aggressively sloped an undulating greens, but to characterize them as a bunch of flat ovals is a misrepresentation in my opinion. 

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1 hour ago, LICC said:

Ok, Doak gave it a 7 back in the 1990s when it’s conditioning was horrendous. The Golf Club Atlas members a few years ago did their own ranking of the best courses in the world and ranked the Black number 41 in the world. That is Doak 8-9 range. Tom Doak has also said that “Bethpage Black has great terrain and a stretch of great, memorable holes from the all-world #4 through #7”.

I don’t know why you think citing the opinions of others will change mine.

1 hour ago, LICC said:

I gave a description of the good features of the first hole to show why it doesn’t “suck” as you insist. And you’re response was No, it sucks. That is spinning, not explaining your opinion.

No, that’s you not understanding the difference between opinion and fact.

1 hour ago, LICC said:

Ok, so your “angles” are different than Jim Furyk’s angles, so only your angles count and other angles are boring. Sure

That’s not what I said.

1 hour ago, LICC said:

You flat out said all the greens were flat and oval shaped.

No I didn’t. I know 14 isn’t an oval and I know 15 has a severe slope so I wouldn’t have said that.

As we’ve now reached the point in the discussion where you’re misrepresenting my posts I am out for now.

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2 hours ago, colin007 said:

I've only seen it on tv, but I like the first hole with that elevated tee shot

As an opening hole it is nice to hit from an elevation and have everything open in front of you. 

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Your exact words: “The greens are generally flat, relatively oval-shaped, and uninspiring. There are few that have any interesting contours, interior OR exterior.

 

Ok, you didn’t say “all” but you generalized the entire course’s greens. 

 

And you thinking that you saying a hole “sucks” is not your opinion but is a factual statement is just weird. 

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2 hours ago, LICC said:

Your exact words: “The greens are generally flat, relatively oval-shaped, and uninspiring. There are few that have any interesting contours, interior OR exterior.

Ok, you didn’t say “all” but you generalized the entire course’s greens.

🤦‍♂️

That's what "generally" means. By saying "There are few" I'm also saying there ARE A FEW that have interesting contours. You wrote that I said "You flat out said all the greens were flat and oval shaped." No, I didn't. Words mean something, and I tend to be careful with what I say/type.

Only a few non-oval-shaped and only a few greens with interesting contours isn't enough in my book.

2 hours ago, LICC said:

And you thinking that you saying a hole “sucks” is not your opinion but is a factual statement is just weird. 

That's the opposite of what I said! You said this:

4 hours ago, LICC said:

I gave a description of the good features of the first hole to show why it doesn’t “suck” as you insist.

That's worded as if you can reason or use logic or something to "prove" that it doesn't suck.

You cannot. We're not discussing facts; we're discussing opinions. I think the first hole sucks. I think it's a boring, nothing hole that's neither an "easy breather" nor a brutish start. It's blah. Insipid. Boring. Given the elevated tee box and all that land to both sides, there's so much more that could have been done with that hole, even if it didn't really change much about how it played, but how it looked. But if how it played was on the table, how about a 2/3 angled cross bunker, with some fairway to the left of it, making people who bail out wide have to carry a bit more of the sand than the people who take on the risk of cutting the corner?  Even if the bunker ended at 230 yards from the tee it would make the choice to lay up with a 3-wood or hit less (lay up with a 4-iron, leaving a much longer approach?) or force more players to risk driver.

And that's one example, from a guy whose actual real-world architectural experience is limited to sketching holes on a notebook and discussing GCA and reading a bunch of books on the topic (i.e. basically no experience).

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You said the first hole sucks. My comment: 

10 hours ago, LICC said:

1 is an elevated tee shot, sharp dogleg with a back to front tiered green, open in front and nice bunkering around the green. It’s not the greatest hole in the world but it doesn’t suck. Your insisting it does just shows you are digging in to your position rather than thinking about this reasonably.

Your response:

9 hours ago, iacas said:

Let's play your game: "Yes it does."

I described features of the hole to support my opinion that it is a fine hole, and you just came back with it sucks. When I noted that, your exact words were: “No, that’s you not understanding the difference between opinion and fact.” Which now you say that you never said. 

You finally just now gave some reasoning behind your opinion. You think there should be more to it, like a fairway bunker. Ok, that seems weak to me, but fine that’s your opinion. I personally like opening tee shots that don’t bash you over the head to start your round. The “soft handshake” (Donald Ross’ words) opener was a common philosophy back then. I think the visual of the hole is nice, especially after moving the trees at the straight on portion past the fairway las year. You have an open visual of the 15-17 holes. The elevation, the dogleg, the nicely sloped open front green, the good green side bunkering, make it in my opinion a fine hole. Off the tee you can try to cut the corner but if you don’t hit it far enough, you would be better going left to get a better shot over the trees. Would it be better with a cross bunker at 230 yards out? Maybe, maybe not, but the absence of it doesn’t make the hole suck. 

As to the greens, 1, 4, 7, 8, 11 (since the changes last year) and 14-17 are not flat and oval. That is half the course. 

Edited by iacas
fixed up post formatting

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FWIW There’s a topic about hcp index and course architecture appreciation. No offense @LICC but this discussion may be affected by the fact that @iacas is ( +1.5?) hcp and you’re a 13.

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4 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

FWIW There’s a topic about hcp index and course architecture appreciation. No offense @LICC but this discussion may be affected by the fact that @iacas is ( +1.5?) hcp and you’re a 13.

Nonsense. You don’t need to be a scratch golfer to have intelligent reasoned views on the merits of courses. And I would gather that many scratch golfers think Bethpage Black is not boring. 

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