As a guest of New York Times staff member Bill Pennington, Rees Jones, ASGCA recently toured Bethpage Black, site of the 2009 United States Open Championship. Jones spoke with Pennington regarding the modifications he and his firm made to the course for both the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens.
Jones was responsible for the initial resurrection of Bethpage Black for the 2002 U.S. Open, but more modifications were necessary this year to keep up with players’ increasingly better skills. On the 13th hole, Jones added a bunker, making for a more demanding tee shot, and pushed the fairway to the right to bring trees into play. The course now also features a graduated rough, with the first level at 1.5”, the second level at 2.5”, and areas beyond that almost unplayable.
Besides being in the news for its present role as the site of the 2009 U.S. Open, Bethpage Black is also being discussed because of its unique past. In an article posted on ThePilot.com, writer Gordon White informs readers of the rich history behind Bethpage Black golf course, host of the 2009 United States Open Championship.
According to White, the course was built 73 years ago by about 300 men who were given employment by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) between 1935 and 1943. The author writes that the WPA was a stimulus package created by President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in an effort to generate jobs for men and women when there was 25 percent unemployment in the United States. White says that golf course design picked up with the creation of the WPA, and the WPA labor force completed the Black course at Bethpage in 1936 as one of five public courses in the New York State park’s complex.
To read the article in its entirety, please click here.