Fairway Life

BATTLE FOR 101ST PGA CHAMPIONSHIP AT BETHPAGE BLACK

May 04, 2019

The PGA Championship, being battled for the first time at Bethpage Black Course in New York, has Major Championship pedigree and is steeped in history. Previously, the A.W. Tillinghast-designed course has hosted 2 U.S. Open championships and was the site of former FedEx Cup Playoff events. As the sign behind the first tee suggests, the players face a stern test in this 101st playing of the PGA Championship. Let’s take a look at a few of the design features “Tillie the Terror” used on the Black course that earned it its reputation.

Bethpage Black Course Features

One common theme you’ll find on Tillinghast courses, including Bethpage Black, are slightly wider fairways. The skill on these fairways is not hitting them, but being on the correct side of them to be able to attack holes. PGA Tour players face that challenge nearly every week but the challenge grows during majors and is especially magnified at Bethpage.

The par-5 4th hole is the course’s most recognized hole and features another frequent fixture in Tillinghast’s designs, the “Great Hazard.” The Great Hazard uses a hazard (usually a bunker) strategically to protect second shots, typically on par-5s. Players need to decide if the risk of landing in one of the hazards is worth the reward of a scoring opportunity. During this PGA Championship, notice the two large, imposing bunkers that guard the green against players trying to get home in 2 on the double-dogleg 4th; a classic example of the Great Hazard.

Players in this PGA will also contend with difficult par-3s, with 3 of the 4 on the scorecard playing over 200 yards. The most famous of these is the 17th hole. A handful of bunkers surround the green, gobbling up wayward shots. The deep front bunker is particularly penalizing. Shots that do find either side of the 43-yard wide green will be tasked with negotiating the spine that splits the left from right side.

Bethpage isn’t the only recognizable course Tillinghast has created. Others in the turn-of-the-century architect’s vast stable of courses include Baltusrol Golf Club, Winged Foot Golf Club, San Francisco Golf Club, and a helping hand in Pine Valley Golf Club.

Clothes Make the Winner

Style has long been a staple on the PGA Tour, especially during majors. In recent memory, companies have had scripted outfits for their players to don each day of the tournament. Interestingly, Nike apparel has been worn by the last 5 major winners. Here’s a brief look at what you could see during the PGA Championship.

Nike Apparel

Nike apparel has fashion-forward looks with performance trusted by some of the best golfers in the world, including reigning PGA Champion, Brooks Koepka. A few standout Nike apparel pieces are the Dry Player Stripe shirt, Vapor Print Shirt, and the Aerobill Classic hat.

Dry Player Stripe Polo

The Dry Player Stripe polo, worn by the likes of Rory McIlroy, is made of a cotton and polyester blend. The classic main color of the shirt is accented by a stripe pattern and a button pocket on the right chest. Dri-fit technology wicks moisture away to keep you cool and dry. Embroidered eyelets under each arm also help keep you cool and swinging freely.

Nike Dry Vapor Print Polo

The Nike Dry Vapor Print Polo comes in several colors made of a polyester/spandex blend. The stretch fabric won’t hinder the swing and is also durable and easy to care for. Style-wise, the shirt features a symmetrically placed diamond pattern that compliments the main colorway.

Nike Aerobill Classic Hat

Topping things off is the Aerobill Classic hat. From afar, it almost has a camouflage look to it. But as you get closer, you see various-sized pigeon silhouettes in honor of those in New York. The buckle closure on the back ensures a snug yet comfortable fit.


Enjoy the course and the clothing at the 101st PGA Championship!