i'm pretty new to the game and on LI as well. you should try the Par 3 course in Flushing, it's great practice. full 18 holes and the longest holes are 80yds. great for working out our short game. it's open 8am to 11pm i think (it's lit!) and a pretty casual environment. if you're playing as a single or double and it's not too busy, you can usually play two balls and no one will complain. i also like to practice chips and bump-n-runs (haven't found many places on LI good for this) after I finish a hole if there's no one behind me or i'm waiting for a group ahead. you do tee off of mats, but everything in between is real grass, so you can get some good practice hitting out of the thicker stuff. i prefer it over executive courses for now, since I can focus on my approach shots, pitching, chipping, and putting, without worrying about the long game and hitting off the tee.