The College Golf Recruiting Process
The recruiting process for golf is much different than that for other high school sports. Many college golf coaches don’t have the budget to travel and recruit the way coaches in other sports often do. Most college golf coaches rely on players emailing in their resumés and swing videos. This leaves it up to the high school player to decide which schools to contact.
The first thing to do is to determine where you want to go to college; in other words, if golf wasn’t in the equation, where would you want to attend college? In most cases, playing golf is only the second consideration. The best resource to use for information on all the colleges that have golf programs is the American College Golf Guide published by Ping (www.collegegolf.com). This website provides information on the size of a school, the cost, what division and conference their golf teams play in, the coaches, coach’s email, their scores and records, and other contact information. The guide also helps with NCAA regulations, financial aid, and tips for parents. Using this book will help junior golfers narrow down their lists of colleges and see if their expectations are realistic. It’s also helpful to see the cost of each school and determine if financial aid or scholarships are available.
In the end, there are a few to things to remember. First, you have to have a strong resumé. Coaches look first at tournament experience, so make sure your resumé has all the events in which you’ve played. Secondly, be realistic about where you send your information. Look honestly at your scores and the scores of the college programs in which you’re interested, and see where your game fits. Go to the Junior Golf Scoreboard (juniorgolfscoreboard.com) and see your National Ranking. If you are a Top-100 player, Division I golf at a top University is a real possibility.
If your National Ranking is well outside the Top-100 players, choosing a college will require some strategy. Take your playing ability and academic record into consideration.
Then locate some college golf teams that have players with tournament stroke averages comparable to your tournament stroke average.
GolfStat.com ranks all of the College Golf Team in the US – look there for Teams that “fit” golf game. For example, Men’s Golf Teams ranked outside the Top-150 will typically have players that post tournament rounds in the high-70’s. Women’s Golf Team ranked outside the Top-125 will typically have players that post tournament rounds in the mid to high-80’s. Also take into account how many Seniors and Juniors there are on the golf team. You are looking to find a college golf team where you, based on your tournament stroke average, would be their 2nd or 3rd best player.
You want to find at least 5 or more college teams that fit in this category.
Then email your golf resume to these college coaches. Don’t worry if you don’t receive a reply – in most cases you will not receive a reply – that doesn’t mean they are not interested. AND there are some periods in the year when the NCAA has “Quite Periods” when Coaches cannot reply to emails.
After each tournament send an email to your list of college coaches. Always remember to list your High School Graduation Year in all emails – the Subject line, too! – and mention it in Voice Mail Messages. A College Coach is restricted by the NCAA with regards to which High School Graduation Class they can communicate with at certain times of the year. If you leave out your High School Graduation Year – a College Coach will always just delete your email!
Keep your email brief, basically, “Hi Coach… I wanted to update you about my most recent tournament result:
In the Spring, send the Coaches on your email list your summer golf schedule. Tell them you would like to meet them if they are in the area.
In the Spring of your Junior year in High School – make sure that you have a good ACT Score and you are registered in the NCAA Eligibility Center – call the Coaches on the telephone and ask about their program: is it fully funded from a scholarship standpoint?, how many players are they looking to sign for the year that you become a college freshman?, what is the golf team’s grade point average?, etc.
The most important thing is: don’t get discouraged if the coaches don’t respond to you or don’t seem interested. It just means you haven’t found the “right” coach and college yet. The right college for you is out there – but it’s up to you to find it!