Re: Bethpage Black - there were instances, several instances, in which I could've tee'd up my ball on my approach shots, hit driver, and still wouldn't have sniffed hitting those greens. Several of the par4 greens there are elevated and a reasonably decent tee shot of 240-250 yards on those holes left well over 230 yards on my approach shots.
The only hope I had to chance breaking 80 was playing those longer par4 holes as par5's.... hit a tee shot (hopefully a decent one in the fairway) and then hitting a short-iron layup just to the end of the fairway, then hitting wedge into the green, and hopefully 2-putting.
It's worth noting that the course conditions were decent. Rough wasn't high, greens weren't overly quick. Around the greens (depending on where you missed) weren't treacherous regarding short game shots.
I've played there three times, same tees from the back. Average score was 83. Which is pretty good all things considered.
But I've also played the Red Course there a few times, which is tighter and requires much more shot-making. The Red Course is probably, from a shot-value aspect, much more demanding. The Black just beats you up because of the enormous length. But the Red Course isn't exactly short from the mid tees either (6500+ yards).
By comparison, you take away the length aspect and make it equal with the Red - the Red is probably just as demanding (at least based on how perceived the differences between the two layouts).
The Black course layout is just much more suitable as it relates to hosting thousands of people in the galleries.
Feinstein's book about the first US Open hosted there, "Open: Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black" reveals just how much work was still needed for this Tillinghast design, particularly with how much preparation was needed with regard to the overall infrastructure and accessibility. Outside of that, the USGA could've just as easily invested $5 million to renovate the Red Course and it would've been just as demanding for the pros. The Black Course layout was just more practical regarding being able to accommodate that many spectators.
Bethpage Black, of course, is hosting the 2019 PGA Championship. Which will be happening in May starting next year, mind you... if we have a long, drawn-out winter - it'll require a lot of work (and help from mother nature, too) to have it in tournament shape. It'll be interesting to see how all of that works out.