I played Bethpage Black (and two of the other courses) on two separate occasions over the last few years, both times in the summer. The place is just awesome, it's a really fun destination with plenty to offer. The town itself is nothing special but once you get into the state park, things change quickly. The clubhouse sits atop a hill and all five courses start from there. I played the Black, (parts of) the Red (due to a thunderstorm) and Green and ran out of time to play the others.
I played as a single golfer and both times had no issues getting on the Black. You just walk up to the reception to see when the next available tee time is (there are monitors like in an airport) - then walk up to the counter, pay your fees (around $150 for out of state) get a bracelet and get ready to play. It's very simple. You might have more issues as a two-ball or with more people but as a single you can just rock up.
The range is somewhat makeshift but after all this is a public course. The putting green by the clubhouse is excellent.
Once your tee time is approaching, just walk up to the starter, join your group and off you go. I carried my bag but you can also take trolleys (I think).
The Black course is a beast. It starts with the first hole (and the infamous sign), but then just keeps pounding you. It is a BIG course. The second hole is unlike anything I've seen before and it gets better from there.
Pick your tees wisely otherwise it will be a long day for you and your playing partners. It's quite a tough walk, especially if the weather is hot and humid so drink plenty of fluids. Don't worry too much about your score, this course beats up the best.
I loved the course but what I really liked is the vibe at Bethpage. One of the fourballs I played it was made up of a guy in full Tour gear, blades, matching clothes and stand bag (+ a caddy) and two college friends who had about 10 Bud Lights by the turn. But that makes it fun. Once you return to the clubhouse after your round, you'll find plenty of people milling around from all walks of life. It's easy to hang out and have a few beers.
There are a few hotels in the area or you can take the train from NY for the day. Overall Bethpage in general and the Black in particular is an incredible golf destination and something for the avid golf fan.
Date: October 02, 2019