By Don Parsons, PGA of The Studio at Twin Lakes
If you are teaching junior golfers, at some point you will have a junior who wants to play college golf. This article will help you navigate the waters and ensure that your juniors will have a great college experience.
Myth: “If I’m the best on my High School Team, I’m good enough to play in college.”
Reality: In college golf, teams play 54 hole events against 12-16 other teams. This is a much different environment than playing 18 hole dual matches on local courses that most coaches don’t even look at high school scores. Play on the team and have fun, but you will need to play in multi-day junior events against regional fields to get the attention of most college coaches. In fact, college coaches will ADD 3 shots to your junior golf average as an estimate of your freshman college performance.
Myth: “If my scores are good enough, my grades don’t matter.”
Reality: To be eligible to compete players must maintain a minimum GPA. Few coaches will want to risk a limited spot on their roster to a player who may not be able to stay eligible. Excellence on the golf course and in the class room is the norm for most college golfers.
Myth: “The key to getting noticed is a great video of my swing, a professionally prepared resume, and a great letter of recommendation from my pro.”
Reality: College coaches care primarily about two metrics; scoring average and GPA.
• A nice video of Driver and Iron from face on and down the line, basic short game shots and some putting is all that’s needed. But, keep it short. College coaches get 100’s of these things and don’t have time to watch the War and Peace version of your player’s golf game.
• Make sure the player includes ALL scores in his playing resume. Coaches will check on line and will find the bad tournaments that were omitted. Don’t let your player be “that guy”.
• Write a truthful assessment of your players. When there is interest from the coach pick up the phone and talk about strengths and weaknesses and plans for improvement. Your credibility with coaches is on the line.
Myth: “All good players get full rides.”
Reality: Even for the best players in the country, full rides are increasingly rare. Colleges are limited to the equivalent of 4 full rides of scholarship money. A player has to be a highly desirable blue chip prospect to get 25% of the scholarship budget. Partial scholarships are more common.
Myth: “Coaches will find and recruit me.”
Reality: Perhaps, but I encourage my players to recruit the coaches. Have your players visit the campus and call the coach of teams that interest them. The more campus visits and coach conversations the better. That way the player will know when he finds “THE ONE”. At that point the player should make it clear that he wants a spot on THAT team. The player needs to hear a yes or no. This can be especially scary but encourage direct communication. The worst case scenario is that he’ll be told no, but this frees him up to move on to find another good fit. Those who sit and wait to be recruited often get left out.
Hope is not a plan. Part of being a great instructor is helping players with more than just swinging the club. Help your players develop a plan that will make college golf one of the best experiences of their life.