The Bethpage Black golfing mystery still is running on high-octane fuel after many childhood years. There are hundreds of golf course around the country that makes the top 100 list every year, but I only pay attention whether or not Bethpage Black makes it. My biggest dream is one day go back and shoot a decent score and not be frustrated.
But I am happy about the 103 that I recorded on that death threat of a course, two years ago on my 42nd birthday. Mind you I have played Pebble Beach, The Blue Monster and Pinehurst to name a few. But “Deathpage” keeps calling me back, however, I have made a promised to myself never to go back until I have conquered my fear about that dreadful score.
Mindful of my 9 handicap, I was so destroyed by that score of 103. I don’t even think I would make that score in a nightmare. Not bragging one bit, but I have grown to be a consummate golfer over the years.
After my round at Bethpage, I was so burnt out that I went home and slept for hours. But if I could manage to score tickets for the next day I would have been there with bells on. All my friends heard about my score and the only thing missing from my disastrous round was a banner announcing it over New York City.
So as the 2009 US Open rolls into town, there will be no doubt, be a lot of victims that the course will take this year. Tiger Woods have been king there and I wonder if his game is up to taking that beat down this year again.
I have a close bond with Bethpage as it became part of my family ritual, when my dad, a scratch golfer, would go out to wait for the wrist band and tickets overnight, before his morning’s round.
Keep in mind, too, that the course is closed during winter and on non-holiday Mondays. And, when Bethpage Black opens in mid April for the 2009 season, it will likely be for half-days only through Memorial Day. The course will then close for the tournament and remain closed until two to four weeks afterward.
Before anyone can use Bethpage's reservation system, they must become a registered user. To register, you have to fax a copy of your driver's license AND write or type out all of the information that appears on the front of it, plus your telephone number (an email address would help, too), in case the image is unreadable via the fax.
If you're not a New York resident, you are also encouraged to include your Social Security number, which will become your reservation system account number. It's not required (they'll assign you a number, otherwise), but it will expedite processing. It usually takes between one and three days before you're officially "in" the system.
Your second option for getting on Bethpage Black, as mentioned above, is to try and walk on, as all of the first hour's tee times (which begin at 6:30 am), and one slot per hour thereafter, are made available on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the Bethpage brass.
Walk-on hopefuls typically arrive at Bethpage in the afternoon or early evening the day beforethey wish to play, backing their cars into the designated and numbered "overnight" parking spaces. At about 6:45 pm, a Bethpage official hands out wrist bands, one per car, which confirms the order for the next morning's ticket distribution. These are the ticket, which allow you purchase your round of golf. Golfer going overnight could make a party of the once in a lifetime event.
You can chose to sleep in you car of use a sleeping bag, either way, it will not be a perfect night’s rest, but the opportunity to play is well worth it.
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