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United States Golf Open Championship -2002

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The date is June 10th - June 16. The Bethpage State Park, Black Course, will host the U. S. Open Golf Championship. It will be the first time the 102 year old USGA prestigious tournament will be held on a public golf course which charges a fee no higher than $39.00 for 18 rounds of golf. It was announced in 1996 at a press conference held on the 1st tee. Present was Governor Pataki, David Frey, executive director of the United States Golf Association, Commissioner of Parks Bernadette Castro, and other dignitaries. The Black Course opened in 1936, four years after the park itself, and is commonly known as a notoriously challenging course designed by A. W. Tillinghast. Yearly 35,000 chose to play the Black Course taking 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours to complete the 18 holes. Now improvements are needed to host the Open. Reese Jones, golf course architect, was commissioned to prepare the course for play. Mr. Jones donated his services and the USGA footed the 2.8 million bill for labor and equipment for the ten month restoration project. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation headed by Commissioner Bernadette Castro, pledged to maintain the renovations. Among the hundreds of improvements some are: laser-leveled courses, resodded tree boxes, refurbished greens, irrigation system, restored bunkers with 8,100 tons of new sand. Wrought-iron benches on a slate base with the tee sign replicating those from decades past. There are new locker rooms, new walkways, and lighting outside the clubhouse, new facilities for dining and shopping. The 66 year old clubhouse interior has been redone while maintaining the historic charm. Carlyle on the Green, Steve Carl and Arthur Waldbaum (yes, from the famous supermarket family) are responsible for this renovation. Arthur Waldbaum is no longer involved, Steve Carl runs the catering facility and A. W. Stevens the dining facility. The pro shop, run by Global Golf, was revamped into one of the nations largest at a cost of more than $1 million dollars. Jonathan Barker, manager of the 2002 U. S. Open, claims 4,800 volunteers have been recruited. David C. Catalano, Superintendent of the Bethpage State Park, will be proud to host the greatest tournment in the world in 2002. (Information from Distinction Magazine) Below information from the Central Park Historical Society Newsletter - July/August, 2002. The US Open 2002 is truly a historic event. The fact that the game, for the first time ever, to be played on a public course where the fee for a round of golf is $39.00. The course was is the best of conditions: 45,000 to 50,000 people a day came to watch and be a part of this event; the Merchandise Tent broke records by Saturday morning; normally the Open provides for 43 corporate tents, at Bethpage they accommodated 78 tents: the course was challenging for the pros. The best part is they want to come back.

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