PGA Championship 2019: The toughest holes at Bethpage Black, ranked!

Bethpage Black is no stranger to big-time golf. It hosted the U.S. Open in both 2002 and 2009, and it’s also twice staged the Barclays Championship during the FedEx Playoffs. Soon New York’s most beloved muni will again take center stage as a first-time venue for the PGA Championship.

Stretched to more than 7,400 yards, Bethpage Black is known to feature 18 tough holes. At the ’02 Open, one player broke par for 72 holes (Tiger Woods), and in ’09 just five finished in red numbers. So which of these 18 brutes is the biggest beast of them all? Below is how we’d size them up, and as a guide, we’ll use how they ranked from 1 (most difficult) to 18 (least difficult) at the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens.

18. No. 14: Par 3, 161 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 18 (2.903 scoring average)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 17 (2.975 scoring average)

The tee box here is about 15 feet above the green, and the little par 3 checks in as one of just two holes to play under par in both U.S. Opens. So, almost by default it ranks as Bethpage’s easiest heading into this PGA.

17. No. 4: Par 5, 517 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 16 (5.011)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 18 (4.740)

Bethpage’s most gettable par 5 is a fun, strategic hole where big hitters will have the option to go for the green in two, and short hitters or errant tee shots have a variety of spots to lay up.

16. No. 13: Par 5, 608 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 17 (4.941)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 16 (4.986)

En route to another heartbreaking runner-up finish, Phil Mickelson made eagle here in the final round in ’09 to tie Lucas Glover for the lead. Expect more fireworks here this year – and look for that Mickelson highlight on the CBS broadcast a time or two.

15. No. 2: Par 4, 389 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 13 (4.204)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 15 (4.065)

One of the few birdie holes, pros at past majors hit wedges into the green and will likely do the same at the PGA.

14. No. 6: Par 4, 408 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 14 (4.202)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 14 (4.088)

This hole is gettable but the putting surface is surrounded by bunkers, so no running it up. This is also the last time you’ll see the word “gettable” on this list.

13. No. 9: Par 4, 460 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 15 (4.086)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 12 (4.109)

Another long, brutal par 4 with a bunker just left of the fairway. Two bunkers also guard the green. It’s like a quick jab before No. 10 (see below) lands an uppercut.

12. No. 1: Par 4, 430 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 9 (4.259 scoring avg.)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 13 (4.100 scoring avg.)

The opening hole is famous for the warning sign stuck on the fence just behind the tee box. There were 99 bogeys, doubles and others here in ’09 against 63 birdies.

11. No. 18: Par 4, 411 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 11 (4.220)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 11 (4.123)

Fairway bunkers are everywhere on both sides and the green is pitched back-to-front. But because of its relatively short length, 18 actually presents a chance for a closing birdie – as long as a player hits the fairway off the tee.

10. No. 3: Par 3, 230 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 12 (3.211)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 6 (3.181)

Players need to fly a massive front bunker, but going too long is also trouble, as anything off the back runs down a hill. It was the toughest par 3 at the 2009 Open.

9. No. 8: Par 3, 210 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 8 (3.334)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 10 (3.123)

The tee is more than 40 feet above the green, so it’s a great hole for television.

8. No. 17: Par 3, 207 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 10 (3.224)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 9 (3.137)

In past majors, this hole was flanked by grandstands that further accent the natural, hilly amphitheater behind the green. Fans crank it up, and in terms of noise, excitement and overall atmosphere, this hole vaguely resembles 16th at TPC Scottsdale. (Imagine how it’ll be at the 2024 Ryder Cup!) It’s going to be a blast at the PGA, and will likely be the most exciting spot on the course.

7. No. 11: Par 4, 435 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 7 (4.376)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 8 (4.146)

This hole shares fairway bunkers with No. 10, and the landing zone bottlenecks. Two bunkers guard the front of the green, so the second shot is key.

6. No. 16: Par 4, 490 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 6 (4.411)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 7 (4.162)

This is where Sergio Garcia made an obscene gesture at a group of hecklers in 2002. Will New Yorkers continue to dog Sergio at the PGA?

5. No. 7: Par 4, 524 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 4 (4.479)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 4 (4.355)

This one is a par 5 for the paying public, but it’s a par-4 when hosting majors. Anyone who drives it into the left fairway bunker may have to chop out and play it as a par 6.

4. No. 5: Par 4, 478 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 5 (4.422)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 3 (4.390)

The tee box is elevated from the fairway, but the green here is about 20 feet above the short grass. It looks like a dogleg from the tee box but actually plays straight. A cool, optical illusion.

3. No. 10: Par 4, 502 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 3 (4.499)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 5 (4.350)

Seven bunkers flank the fairway landing zone, and there’s a valley between the fairway and putting surface. The green also features more undulations than most Bethpage surfaces. There will be some big numbers here – in ’09 there were 147 over-par scores and just 24 birdies.

2. No. 12: Par 4, 515 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 2 (4.523)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 2 (4.431)

Many players will likely try to bite off some of the left-dogleg on his this long par 4 … hopefully while avoiding the fairway bunker perched on the corner. The second shot is mostly blind. This hole gave up just 20 birdies in ’09.

1. No. 15: Par 4, 457 yards

2002 U.S. Open Rank: 1 (4.600)
2009 U.S. Open Rank: 1 (4.470)

It was the toughest hole on the course in each of Bethpage’s U.S. Opens, and there’s no reason it won’t defend the belt this time around. Expect a fair number of layups from players who miss the fairway with their drives. This uphill trek to the green is so steep, locals reportedly sled down it in wintertime. In ’09 it yielded just 17 birdies and 180 over-par scores. Sounds brutal.

In fact, it sounds like Bethpage.

SOURCE:  golf

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These three tips from Rickie Fowler will make you a faster, better putter

Everyone knows when you’re the slow player in your group. Even guys on tour get called out for it – Rickie Fowler’s been known to poke some fun at Jordan Spieth for taking too long. A lot of average golfers end up burning time on the green, looking at putts from all angles, grinding over three-footers. One thing everyone needs to understand is that spending a long time over a putt doesn’t make you more likely to make the putt. In fact, you can do more damage than good by looking at it for too long.Fowler has a few tips on how to putt quickly, but also well.

1. Spend your time wisely.You should never be surprised when it’s your turn on the green. Instead of waiting until then to start reading your putt, begin looking at your line while the other guys in your group are putting. That way when it’s your turn, you’re ready to roll. “After I replace my ball,” Rickie says, “I take about five seconds to confirm my read.”

2. Don’t waste time second-guessing yourself.Rickie thinks that a lot of last-minute second-guessing has to do with speed. If you know what your normal speed is before you’re standing over the putt, you’ll never question it. “I play all putts as if the ball were going to roll two feet past,” Rickie says. “Find a speed you like and stick with it.”

3. Stay confident over the ball.Putts look different when you’re standing over them than when you’re reading them from behind the ball. But don’t let it freak you out. “I make a practice stroke or two with my eyes focused on exactly where the ball is going to enter the cup,” Rickie says. “For example, a straight putt goes in at 6 o’clock, but a sharp left-to-right breaker might go in at 9 o’clock. I then work backward to match up the speed and line. This helps me settle once more on my read, quickly and with confidence.”

SOURCE:  Golfdigest

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Golf courses are helping the environment — one monarch butterfly habitat at a time

Behind the scenes at pretty much any golf course is a person who takes pride in keeping up the greens.

“You’ll find that most golf course superintendents are naturalists,” said Joseph Hubbard, golf course superintendent Boca Delray Golf and Country Club in Florida.

Hubbard planted a butterfly garden between holes 5 and 6. Shortly after, the insects appeared.

“Next thing you know, you’ve got tons of butterflies flying around, there will be a no-fly zone for drones or anything like that,” he said.

The garden is part of the Monarchs in the Rough program, a partnership between Audubon International and the Environmental Defense Fund .

READ MORE:  http://bit.ly/2JkZefl 

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DUSTIN JOHNSON’S SECRET TO PRACTICING WITHOUT A CLUB

DJ does it. You do it. We all do it. Whether it’s in front of a mirror, after the elevator door closes, or just to get a giggle out of an amused toddler, making golf swings, sans club, is a long-established golf ritual. Although it might seem frivolous, you can actually improve your swing if you pay attention to what you’re doing. — READ MORE: http://bit.ly/2ZQiXcu 

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10 Best Swing Tips Ever!

Follow These Drills To Shore Up Your All-Around Game

1. Keep Your Hands Low

Limiting the height of the followthrough will effectively reduce the height of your shots. The lower the hands, the lower the ballflight. Moving the ball back in your stance or choosing a stronger club and trying to swing easy are other ways to accomplish the same thing, but they’re less reliable and more difficult to execute. Instead, keep your hands low in the finish (compare the two photos at right), and the trajectory of your shots will be lower.

2. Give Your Spine The Forearm

Make sure you’re on-plane at the top of the swing to guarantee solid ballstriking and increased accuracy. Notice in the photo at left how my right forearm is parallel to my spine, my left wrist is flat and my elbows and arms form a tight triangle. These are indications that I’ve rotated my shoulders into the backswing perfectly.

3. Use Your Body For Power

Every good golfer knows that power comes from the body, not the arms. To learn to power the club with your body instead of your arms and hands, put the club behind the ball at address, with your body in a dead-stop position. Without taking a backswing, try to drag the ball into the air. If you’re a player who uses his or her hands to control the club, you’ll probably struggle at first. However, you’ll quickly find that once you start moving the club with your body, you’ll begin to get the ball in the air more consistently. This helps you turn fully through the ball on the downswing.

4. Hinge For Power

Amateurs have problems hitting crisp iron shots due to two fatal flaws. First, the takeaway tends to be too low to the ground, which delays the proper hinging of the wrists until too late in the backswing. Second, in a misguided effort to create power, the arms tend to swing too far in the backswing. This causes a breakdown in posture and usually leads to a reverse pivot. These flaws cause mis-hits and a lack of distance and control.

Several simple steps can be taken to gain control over the length of the swing in order to create more solid contact. At setup, a 45-degree angle should be present between the left arm and the clubshaft. This starts the swing with the wrists already hinged halfway to the necessary 90 degrees. During the takeaway, the hands should stay close to the ground while the clubhead moves up quickly. The goal is to get the left thumb pointing at the right shoulder as soon as possible. You’ll know you’ve achieved the proper wrist hinge when your left arm is parallel to the ground and the clubshaft is perpendicular to it. This sets the wrists much earlier in the backswing, eliminating the need to swing the arms too far at the top. The tendency to lose posture and reverse pivot will be removed with this more compact golf swing.

Creating the proper wrist hinge in the backswing will lead to noticeably better ballstriking and, as a result, more consistent distance and direction on all iron shots.

5. Give Your Slice The Elbow

Some players like John Daly swing with their elbow flying out, while others like Sergio Garcia keep it in, proving that it’s possible to hit great shots with either method. However, my biomechanical studies indicate that the flying right elbow position favors a fade ballflight while a tucked right elbow promotes a draw. If you struggle with slicing or have always wanted to develop a power-rich draw, then the right elbow may hold the answer. Plus, when you let the right elbow fly, it has the tendency to raise the right shoulder skyward, which almost always causes an over-the-top move during the downswing and an array of bad results.

The key for long-term success is to eliminate the faulty shoulder tilt and right elbow position at the top. The most efficient right elbow position for keeping slices at bay and promoting a draw is on or just inside the seam running down the right side of your shirt. When you place your right elbow in this general area, it allows the shoulders to turn level to the spine, making it much easier to drop the club inside on the downswing for maximum power and improved control.

6. Solid Plane = No Slice

An open face at the point of contact can cause a slice. So, too, can a faulty swing path, even if your clubface is square to the target at impact. Slicers’ swing paths tend to come too much outside in (hookers, vice versa). All golfers need a path that comes just slightly from the inside. Try the Box Drill. Take the top half of a golf ball box and stand it on its side. Align the box parallel to your target line as shown. Strive to groove a path that allows the shaft to pass just over the box. For slicers, set up the box on the same line, but just forward of the golf ball. Don’t hit the box!

7. Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Hookers need to stop the clubface from closing too soon. To do this, adopt a thumbs-down approach to impact. In the photos at right, you clearly can see the red side of the paddle with both my thumbs pointing down toward the ground. This type of movement slows the closing of your clubface, thus eliminating shots that curve to the left. In the second photo, the blue side of the paddle shows. This thumbs-up position is what slicers need to attain (a closing of the clubface).

8. No Flips

“Flippiness” (the dreaded early release) occurs if your body gets too far in front of the golf ball. When this happens, your club will drastically lag, usually with an open face. Instinctually, your hands will work to close the face at impact. This level of timing is difficult even for the pros to execute on a consistent basis. What usually happens is the clubhead races in front of the shaft and strikes the ball with an open or a closed face, and typically on an ascending arc. In baseball, if you get too far in front, you’ll hit the ball to right field, unless you flip the wrists. The same is true in golf. You need to establish a firm left side to keep your head behind the ball and stop the flip.

Usual suspects

Enemy number one: Your body is out of position or out of balance. Your body senses this, so your hands take over to try to get the clubface squared at impact. However, this adjustment usually takes the form of a flick or flip of the wrists.

Fixing The Flip

Set up to an impact bag (or an old duffel bag stuffed with towels), push the clubhead into the bag and set your body into a good impact position. The lead arm and shaft should form one straight, vertical line with the head back. Make sure your lead leg is braced and that your hips are turned slightly open. Hold this position to create the proper feel.

9. Chipping

golf swing tips

Although it’s tempting to hit chips indoors, all it takes is one broken lamp to realize that golf is an outdoor activity. Nevertheless, you can improve your chipping technique within the friendly confines of your own living room with the help of a wooden dowel or broken golf shaft.Take the dowel and place it through the hole on the top of the grip on a pitching wedge. Push the dowel roughly eight to 12 inches down the butt end of the shaft (a little Vaseline may help the dowel slide easier through the clubshaft). Two to three feet of the dowel should extend outward from the top of the grip.

golf swing tipsNow, practice your chipping motion, making sure that your left wrist remains rigid as the clubface passes through the impact zone. If your left wrist breaks down (a flaw that can cause a lot of short-game misery), you’ll feel the protruding portion of the dowel hit against your left side. In addition to guarding against wrist breakdown, the dowel will also help you to establish the proper hands-forward position at address—a crucial factor for clean contact.

The dowel also will force you to keep your hands moving forward and swing the club down the target line in the followthrough. Once you master this drill, you’ll be able to get up and down with the best of them.

As you perform these drills, you’ll begin to see the value of other everyday items in helping you improve your game. Don’t be afraid to experiment—you may just develop the next must-have training aid.

10. Stay In Your K

Even good golfers with sound, grooved swings come untracked now and then, especially if they lose the flex in the back leg trying for distance. If you stiffen your back leg during the backswing, your body will likely tilt out of balance, making it tough to re-flex the knee just the right amount in time for impact. If you can play some great golf, but consistency is your problem, it might be that you need a dose of Special K. Here’s how it works…

K Pasa?

At address, the Special K is the angle formed in your back leg by the upper and lower leg. The manner in which you stand to the ball determines in large part how well you maintain your Special K during your swing.

The best advice is to establish an athletic, ready-to-move setup. Create this posture by bending forward from the hip sockets and back from the knees. When your back leg is flexed correctly, it creates room for your arms to swing and aligns the joints, one on top of the other. You should be able to draw a line from the top of the spine through the tip of the elbow and then from the tip of your knee down through the ball joint of your foot.

Keeping The K

To keep your swing level, this angle should be maintained from address to just after impact. A good way to experience what it feels like to keep the Special K while you swing is to look in a mirror while you take practice swings. Start with the setup position shown in the photo, below left. Hold it steady, then look in the mirror to connect the sight and feel of the correct back leg flex for that position. Next, swing to the top. Again, hold that position and use the mirror to see if you maintained the angle in your back leg.

10 Best Swing Tips Ever10 Best Swing Tips Ever10 Best Swing Tips Ever

Setup

In the Special-K setup, the body has that athletic look common to many sports—a posture ready for action. At address, flex your back knee to discourage any up-and-down body motion while you swing. If you prepare yourself correctly, you won’t have to make any adjustments once your swing begins—all you have to do is rotate. Check your lower leg to make sure that it’s straight up and down (note that the crease in my pant leg is vertical). When the crease points toward the shaft, you know your lower leg is slanted at a bad angle. The reason the Special-K position is so important is that it unlocks the hips so they’re free to rotate. When the back leg locks and straightens at the knee, the back hip freezes, causing the body to tilt rather than turn.

Impact

Through impact, the trailing arm snaps straight, releasing power into the ball as the back knee kicks toward the target, still in its Special-K flex. Just after impact, both arms are straight, with the clubhead below the hands and the butt of the club pointing toward the middle of the body.

Backswing

When you keep the Special-K position during your backswing, it allows your elbows to stay level near the top of your swing. This, in turn, keeps the clubface from twisting out of position. Staying in your K makes your backswing more rounded and, instead of elevating the clubhead suddenly and tearing it off of its swing arc, the clubshaft travels on the correct swing path with a gradual, power-gathering ascent of the club.

Another good learning method is to practice swinging with a shaft placed in the ground and angled to match the slant of your upper leg. You won’t be able to see the shaft while you swing, but you’ll sense that it’s there, and that will help you maintain your Special K.

Once you establish the Special K at address, your goal is to maintain it all the way through your swing until after the ball has been launched. In order to do so, you’ll have to start your swing by shifting your weight into your trailing hip so you can make a level lower body turn. If you fail to make this crucial weight transfer, your trailing hip will likely float upward and destroy your Special K.

A second key occurs as you start back down to the ball. Here, establish your front hip as the rotational center of your swing. By focusing on the right hip, you’ll better prepare it to receive your forward weight shift, and it also allows you to maintain your back leg flex through the impact area and beyond.

SOURCE:  Golftipsmag.com

 

 

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