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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Golf Courses

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6 U.S. Open Golf Courses You Can Play Right Now

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The USGA takes its share of heat over various golf issues, but you have to give the Far Hills fraternity credit for at least one of its recent initiatives.
Its goal to open up the U.S. Open was more than just talk.
Consider this:
From its start in 1895 until 2000, the U.S. Open was played almost exclusively on exclusive, private courses.

Since 2000, it has been played six times on publicly accessible courses (munis and resort courses alike) and it’s scheduled to be played at four more of these sites in the next eight years.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to play them.
Pebble Beach Golf Links (2000, 2010, and 2019)
Pebble Beach, Calif.

In 1972, Pebble Beach became the first publicly accessible course to host the U.S. Open, and it’s nice to see the USGA repeatedly return to this venerable venue. If and when you make your pilgrimage, definitely walk this easily walkable course and take a caddie (they’re worth every penny and carts are confined to the cart path). When scheduling your tee time, keep in mind that playing in the afternoon often yields the best scenery, because there’s less risk of fog. Players who have “taken it all in” on previous trips often choose to play earlier in the morning, which can result in speedier rounds.
Here are more tips on taking a Pebble Beach golf vacation.
Bethpage Black (2002 and 2009)
Farmingdale, N.Y.
The course that upped the ante on publicly accessible U.S. Open courses was Bethpage Black. Not only is it public, as part of the State of New York parks system, it’s essentially publicly owned, too.
As you can imagine, tee times are snapped up fast, making it difficult — but not impossible — to score one.
You basically have three options: 1) use Bethpage’s tee time reservation system, 2) try to walk-on at the crack of dawn, which often involves camping out in or near your car, or 3) pay a lot of money to a little-known company that may be able to get you a tee time on the day you want to play.

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