Bethpage Black
Credit: Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

Bethpage Black is legendary. It makes nearly every list of the best courses on Earth. It's also owned by the state of New York. "It's pretty awesome," McDowell says. "It's big, it's long, it's tough."

The course, designed by A. W. Tillinghast, is one of five at Bethpage State Park. The Black opened in 1936 and after two US Opens, is a major destination for serious golfers. Playing the Black is a bucket list round, but players should consider waiting until their game is ready. A famous sign on the first tee reads: "Warning – The Black Course Is An Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend Only For Highly Skilled Golfers."

McDowell is skilled enough that he doesn’t have to go to the same lengths as most golfers trying to get on the feted links. "Guys go there and camp out for the night and they barbecue it up and they kind of wait in line to get their tee time," he says with admiration. "It's a special golf course." [A weekend round for non- New York State Residents runs $150]