It's not quite golf and it's not quite soccer: FootGolf -- a combination of both sports -- is now in full swing at the Dix Hills Golf Course.
Like golf, the object of the game is to guide the ball into a hole in as few attempts as possible -- and each hole has a par for which players can strive. But instead of a standard golf ball and using irons or clubs, players kick a soccer ball into a 21-inch round cup.
ABOUT THE GAME
On a recent Saturday afternoon, Andrew Pinzone, of Northport, and a dozen of his 10-year-old soccer-playing friends came out to celebrate his birthday and ply their impressive foot skills on this hybrid sport that started in the Netherlands a few years back.
Divided into groups of four, the players line up their brightly colored soccer balls and prepare to tee off.
"Do I get a mulligan?" jokes Tyler Mulligan of East Northport. "It's like a redo," he explains to the uninitiated.
As play unfolds, Evan Gaumont, of Northport, bests his group with six kicks on the first hole.
Unlike a typical golf game where serenity is par for the course, there's a lot more esprit de corps and generally boisterous behavior in FootGolf. Up ahead, golfers are playing through the par-3 course the traditional way -- with drivers, irons and putters.
George Dixon, head golf professional for Integrity Golf, which manages golf facilities for the Town of Huntington, says he hopes the sport will have the added benefit of getting more people, particularly youngsters, interested in golf.
That seemed to be the case with Pinzone's crew. When they are not juggling and dribbling their soccer balls, or rolling down the course's many hills as they wait for the golfers to finish their tees, the boys watch -- enthralled -- as a golfer swings and the ball soars into the distance.
"Home run," cheers Brendan Carr, after one golfer's ball comes close to reaching the 216-yard tee on the 9th hole.
After they finish, the consensus is in: FootGolf was a hit.
"It's really golf with soccer balls," says James Schatz, of Northport.
And, in the end, there is no clear winner -- keeping score seemed beside the point. After all, it was just about having fun.
WHEN | WHERE 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (weather permitting) daily at the Dix Hills Golf Course, 575 Vanderbilt Ave., Dix Hills. Course closes with snow on the ground. Tee time reservations suggested.
COST $15 ($10 ages 14 and younger)
GOOD TO KNOW Bring your own size 5 (or smaller) soccer ball or rent one for $3 per round. Golf carts can be rented for $10 per person.