After talking with two college coaches, and doing some research online, I have come up with the following tips if you are interested in playing at the next level:
1. Don't underestimate how good you need to be, especially if you are wanting to play D1 golf. On that same note, there is a wide variety of talent level in college golf, and just because you might not be talented enough to play D1 golf it doesn't mean you can't play college golf.
2. Summer tournaments are more important than high school competition. Some of the major summer tournament series that these coaches look at are:
* Illinois State Junior Am
* PGA Junior Series
* US Junior Amateur
* Big I or Optimist
* IJGA / MAJGT
3. Good averages in these tournaments are important, but having a low round helps as well. For example, you might go to an IJGA tournament and go 72-83, and although the average isn't great, the 72 shows that you can shoot at or around par.
4. Put the effort in yourself. Because college coaches are looking for mature young men, they want the golfer, not necessarily the parent, to make the effort in sending letters and emails. Additionally, if a college coach is coming to watch you at a tournament and your parent is making excuses why you aren't playing well, or that you are having trouble with a coach or other player, this is a strike against you.
5. Know the program that you are looking into before you send them information. If you send a letter or email that says "I'm interested in playing golf at your school. Could you please send me some information," this doesn't show that are committed to playing there. Instead, sending them a letter or email that starts with "I noticed that you have 3 seniors on your squad that won't be returning next year, and I am interested in filling one of those spots." You should also show other knowledge such as where they play tournaments and where their "home course" is.
6. All D1 programs expect you to be mostly in charge of your golf game. For example, writing that you are pretty good now, but with the coaches help you could become much better, is not helpful. It might seem like you are paying a compliment to the coach, but coaches want players who are ready right away and are self-motivated to improve their game.
7. Send a resume to the schools that you are interested in either between your sophomore and junior years or between your junior and senior years. This means that in terms of summer golf experience, the summer between your sophomore and junior year and the summer between your junior year and senior year are most important! Click on the link below for sites that talk about golf resume.
8. I am going to subscribe to the Ping College golf guide - an online resource that helps kids get recruited. Please schedule a time with me to go over that guide, and see how it can be useful to you.
9. Show class in all that you do. There is nothing worse to a college coach when they hear a potential recruit has an attitude problem, has a bad temper, or doesn't get along with their teammates.
10. It helps to be a multi-sport athlete. It isn't a requirement, but athleticism is important in golf, and the "team" lessons that other sports offer is important to college golf programs. They want athletes who realize that what they do, on or off the course, affects the team.
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