by Jeff Skinner
Most weeks the PGA Tour players are greeted with applause and cheers as they make their way to the first tee. Many players will tell you that there are a few butterflies as they get ready to hit their opening shots. This week at The Barclays there might be a few more butterflies than usual as they prepare to take on one of the toughest courses they’ll see all year.
Along with all the cheers and adulation at the first tee they also get a glance at that same sign that warns every golfer that dares to test The Black. Professionals and everyday hackers are warned by that infamous sign that states very accurately “THE BLACK COURSE IS AN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT GOLF COURSE WHICH IS RECOMMENDED ONLY FOR HIGHLY SKILLED GOLFERS
The experts at Golf Digest and Golf Magazine both rate The Black in the top ten toughest courses in America. And everyone that plays The Black, even Tiger Woods knows they’ve faced a challenge after surviving The Black. After winning in the U.S. Open in 2002 Woods said it best, “That course was hard.”
Golf Digest rates Kiawah Island as the number one toughest course in America, Pine Valley #2, Oakmont #3, SpyGlass Hill #4 and Bethpage Black #5.
Golf Magazine (Golf.com) calls Whistling Straits (Straits) the most difficult with Oakmont #2, Pine Valley #3, Kiawah Island #4, TPC Sawgrass #5 and The Black comes in at number six.
That’s some heavy duty company The Black is keeping and to think that it’s run by the New York State Parks Department and can still attract U.S. Opens and PGA Tour events is amazing. New York State residents can play The Black for $65 while out of state players have to fork over $130, not a bad deal.
The Black won’t be setup to U.S. Opens conditions but in any condition The Black plays hard. Whoever wins The Barclays will certainly have earned it and all the players will probably have a few scars from their time spent on The Black.