There are plenty of different ways to pick up the game of golf for the first time, whether it's swatting old balls around a schoolyard, swinging away at the range or diving right into a nine- or 18-hole round. But improving and sharpening golf skills is not so simple, and having a qualified teaching pro help put the building blocks in place, preferably at an early age, is vital to a lifetime of memorable on-course experiences.
On Long Island, in addition to the many outlets the casual or advanced golfer can turn to for instruction, summer golf programs for junior golfers -- some open to kids as young as 4 -- are designed to transform the young player, whether new to the sport or experienced, into a skilled golfer for life.
Many public courses in Nassau and Suffolk feature summer camp programs that school young players in golf's key fundamentals, the various types of swings and strokes, as well as rules, etiquette and course safety. Kids work closely with teaching pros on the course, in the range and around practice greens and bunkers; in some cases, the pros working with your young golfer have been recognized nationally for their work as junior instructors. Campers leave each session with skills and knowledge in place for years of enjoyment on the course.
The following is a general overview of 2018 summer golf camps available and open for registration at various public courses around Long Island. For more information, follow the links below to the course websites and junior camp pages.
(Please note this list only includes camp programs hosted at public golf courses. This does not include golf programs held at general summer camps or any type of private instruction.)
Bergen Point (West Babylon): Two camp sessions are open to golfers of all skill levels from age 7 to 17. PGA pros instruct campers on the short game and full swing in the driving range and on the course. Camps meet once a week (for five weeks) on either Tuesdays or Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m., with lunch and beverages included. Cost is $300 per session. Applications are available on the Bergen Point website.
Bethpage State Park (Farmingdale): For the first time, Golf Channel Academy will host junior golf camps at Bethpage State Park. Full-day programs for ages 8 to 12 will focus primarily on golf skills through use of learning aids, special equipment, skill games and team activities. On-course play will be included on Thursday and Friday of each session. Half-day camps for ages 5 to 9 emphasize both fundamental athletic movement and golf skills. All sessions begin the week of July 9. Register for full day ($695) or half day ($425) at the U.S. Sports Camps website or call (800) 645-3226 for more details.
Cedars Golf Club (Cutchogue): The Cutchogue course offers two separate four-week sessions with start dates of July 9 and August 6. Campers meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with times varied by age group. Juniors age 10 and under benefit from group instruction and on-course play, and also receive prizes, pizza lunches and a ten-round Cedars Junior Pass. Those in the 11-and-over group receive 30 minutes of private instruction each week in addition to on-course play, group work and a full-season Junior Pass. Cost is $570 per four-week session (10 and under); $600 per four-week session (11 and over). Extended instruction is available for additional cost. Call (631) 734-6363 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to register or for full details.
Cherry Creek (Riverhead): Cherry Creek is offering a total of five camp sessions in July and August. Each session is three days (Tuesday through Thursday afternoons) and covers swing basics, course etiquette and more. Instruction takes place at the Links driving range, Woods practice area and on the Woods course. Campers receive a hat, sleeve of balls and a certificate for future rounds. Cost is $200 per session. Contact the pro shop at (631) 506-0777 or e-mail head pro Michael Springer at email@example.com for additional info.
Eisenhower Park (East Meadow): PGA Junior Golf operates a series of camps for all ability levels, including advanced camps for competitive juniors. The program includes full-day camps for players age 11 to 17, modified full-day camps for experienced players age 8 to 12, and half-day camps for beginners and intermediates age 7 to 11. There is also a special 90-minute session for "Wee Ones" age 4 to 6. All regular camps include hours of hands-on instruction and advanced teaching technology. Full-day camps include on-course play and teaching. Weekly sessions for all programs begin July 9. Visit the PGA Junior Golf Camp site for full information on pricing, session dates and available discounts.
Glen Cove Golf Club: Weekly sessions typically run from late June through the month of August. Camps meet Monday to Friday and cover the full swing, pitching, chipping, putting, rules and etiquette. Call (516) 671-0033 for 2018 pricing, schedules and registration info.
Harbor Links Golf Course (Port Washington): Harbor Links offers a wide variety of programs led by teachers all named U.S. Kids Golf Certified Instructors. Camps begin the week of June 25, with sessions available through August. Weekly programs for kids age 6 to 9 run Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and include games and drills that help develop important skills and fundamentals, in addition to a skills competition and gift packet. Separate programs for teens age 10 to 16 are split into four-hour AM and PM sessions and run Monday to Friday. These cover the full swing, short game, course management, rules and etiquette, and conclude with a two-day "Junior Scramble" team tournament. Early registration (before April 1) is $495 for the 6-9 camp and $595 for the 10-16 camp. For all program information, schedules and registration forms, visit the Harbor Links website.
Indian Island Country Club (Riverhead): Indian Island's 17th annual golf camp consists of week-long sessions that include lessons, lunch, prizes, golf gear, skills contests and on-course competition. Camps are open to boys and girls of all skill levels between the ages of 7 and 16. Fees are $525 per week, per camper, with family, returnee and multi-week discounts available. Week-long sessions begin June 25 and continue through the end of August. See the Indian Island camp brochure for all details.
Island's End Golf & Country Club (Greenport): Junior clinics are offered on select days in the summer, open to boys and girls age 5 and up. Camp info will be available later in the spring. Visit the Island's End website for more information.
Long Island Golf Camps / Mike Reilly Golf Academy (Massapequa, Babylon, Hauppauge): Long Island Golf Camps runs programs at three public courses -- Peninsula Golf Club (Massapequa), Sumpwams Creek/E. Donald Conroy Golf Course (Babylon) and Wind Watch Golf & Country Club (Hauppauge). The Peninsula and Wind Watch camps are week-long, full-day programs (9:00/9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.) with sessions beginning in late June. They include instruction on different aspects of the swing, on-course play and daily lunch. Babylon camps run Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; afternoon sessions might be available based on demand. Instruction takes place on the course and in the short-game area. Enrollment is $595 for Peninsula, $605 for Wind Watch and $249 for Babylon. For schedules and registration, and for information on a fourth camp program held at the private Colonial Springs Golf Club in East Farmingdale, visit the Long Island Golf Camps website.
Middle Bay (Oceanside): Five full-week sessions begin on July 9. Camps meet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday and include instruction on the course, practice green, in the driving range and the short-game area. Snack and lunch are also included. Family and multiple-week discounts are available. Call (516) 766-1880 for pricing and additional details.
Mill Pond (Medford): Camps are available in 3-day and 5-day sessions beginning in early July. The shorter programs are beginner-oriented with a focus on swing fundamentals, rules and etiquette. Juniors with some playing experience will also receive instruction on course management. Week-long programs are geared to more experienced juniors, with on-course instruction included during the last two days. (On-course play will be held at Rolling Oaks Golf Course in Miller Place.) Beginning July 18, additional high school development camps are available for experienced golfers age 12 to 17 looking to advance their game on a competitive level. Discounts for Town of Brookhaven residents are offered. Visit the Mill Pond website or call (631) 732-8249 for info on registration, pricing, schedules and program format.
Pine Ridge Golf Club (Coram): Full-week sessions are available for beginners and intermediate players. Camps are full-day and focus on fundamentals to build the foundation of a proper swing, with on-course play included. The $299 camp fee covers daily lunch and a goodie bag. Visit the Pine Ridge website for session dates and online registration.
Poxabogue Golf Center (Sagaponack): A total of ten sessions run from the week of June 25 to the week of August 27. Sessions are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and are open to boys and girls from age 7 to 16. Campers will learn basics of the full swing, short game, course management, rules and etiquette, and will receive golf gear, snacks and giveaways. Cost is $499 per session, with family and multi-week discounts available. Visit the Poxabogue website for info and registration.
Smithtown Landing Country Club (Smithtown): Smithtown Landing hosts camp programs led by PGA professional and Hall of Famer Michael Hebron. Instruction covers grip, swing, putting, chipping, pitching, rules and etiquette. Beginning in late June, separate programs meet once a week on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Week-long programs are available in August, one of which is designed for advanced players. Call (631) 979-6534 or visit the Smithtown Landing site for 2018 pricing, schedules and registration forms.
Spring Lake Golf Club (Middle Island): Spring Lake is participating in the PGA Junior League in 2018. The program is open to boys and girls age 8 to 12, beginners included. Groups meet for practice and instruction on Mondays from late April to July and compete in scramble matches against other clubs. Contact Spring Lake pro Cristy Jurgens at (631) 924-5115.
Stonebridge Golf Links (Hauppauge): Starting July 9, full- and half-day programs are available for beginners through intermediate players. Half-day sessions (9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.) are geared to beginners age 6 to 9 and focus on fundamentals, rules, etiquette and course/club basics. Full-day camps (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) help experienced players age 10 and up improve on skills and knowledge through on-course play and instruction. Cost is $215 for half day and $379 for full day. All campers receive a Nike backpack and glove. Discounts available for siblings and multiple sessions. Call (631) 724-7500 for session schedules and registration info.
Sunken Meadow (Kings Park): Sunken Meadow is offering a spring instruction series for boys and girls age 7 to 16. Participants meet once a week on Sunday afternoons from May 6 to June 17. Session times are 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. for ages 6-9 and 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. for ages 10-16. In addition to golf instruction, the program focuses on sportsmanship and etiquette, with range balls and games included. Cost is $89 per junior with multi-player discounts available. Sign up in the Sunken Meadow pro shop, call (631) 544-0036 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Timber Point (Great River): Timber Point hosts junior camps for beginners and intermediate players in July and August. Program details will be available later in the spring. Call the course at (631) 581-2401 for the latest info.
Town of Oyster Bay Golf Course (Woodbury): Full-day camps for boys and girls age 10 to 17, and half-day camps for boys and girls age 6 to 10, are available starting the week of June 26. Camps meet Tuesday through Friday. Teaching pros cover chipping, putting, rules and etiquette, and instruction takes place on and off the course. Full-day camp is $600; half-day camp is $425. Multi-week and referral discounts are available. Call (516) 364-3600 or visit TOB's Lucas Golf Center website for information and registration.
West Sayville Golf Course (West Sayville): West Sayville typically offers six week-long programs (Tuesday to Saturday, four hours per day) beginning in July. Campers receive instruction on and off the course, with lessons concentrating on all aspects of the swing, including grip, stance and alignment. Call the course at (631) 567-1704 for 2018 pricing, schedules and registration information.