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Growing the game of golf.
That’s a huge goal of the PGA Jr. League.
The league, which is run by the PGA of America, uses high-profile professional golfers like Rory McIlroy and Michelle Wie to teach children all about the intricacies of the sport.

Since its inception in 2011, the PGA Jr. League participants has grown to approximately 42,000 young golfers who compete on 3,400 teams across the U.S., including on Long Island.
Between Suffolk and Nassau counties, there are now eight golf clubs that participate.
Among those facilities is Port Jefferson Country Club, whose Jr. League team is run by PGA professional Bill Mackedon.
Mackedon, who’s been coaching in the league since 2012, has seen the PGA Jr. League grow tremendously since its inception.
“We use to travel an hour, hour and a half [to get to a match],” he said. “Now there are so many sites on Long Island.”
And since that the league has grown, there are many different types of children who participate, says Mike Smith, the regional league manager for the PGA Jr. League in New York.
“One of the great things about golf is that these kids can be different sizes and shapes and still play together,” he said.
The league itself is co-ed and accepts golfers between the ages 8 and 13.
Having a mix of children is helpful, says Mackedon, because within the Jr. League’s overall mission is to teach young people important life skills through the game.
“It’s a way to get children together, introduce them to the game of golf, teach them the etiquette of the golf and core values,” he said.
Some of those core values include: building confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, judgment, honesty, integrity, sportsmanship and respect.
And those are put to the test at each meet.
The competitions are set up so that two teams play against each other for three holes. After three holes, the next team steps up. This continues for nine flags.
During the match, the team’s must communicate with each other and score themselves.
“It gets the individuals to think on there own,” said Mackedon.
The children get plenty of opportunities to learn the sport because they participate in several tournaments on the island.
And if they play well enough, just like with the regular PGA Tour, the best golfers will go on to play in more tournaments.
There are also All-Star teams from each region, which compete nationwide. The best meet for a televised national championship.
Of course, most kids don’t go onto play in the nationals, but many get to continue onto college, and enjoy golf as adults, Mackedon told GreaterPortJeff.
“Most of them have gone on to play competitive golf,” he said. “We have some in the position right now to earn scholarships from college.”


Currently, registration is open at participating golf club across the U.S. Most of the registrations are open until early May, with the season starting later that month and running into July.

Prices vary between clubs.

To sign a child up for Port Jefferson Country Club it costs $175, which includes about 10 lessons, four matches, food, and drinks.

“We operate at-cost because we want to promote the game of golf to our youth,” said Mackedon.

Top: Children participating in a prior PGA Jr. League event. (courtesy) 

PGA professionals teaching young golfers the basics. (courtesy)