A lot of young junior golfers have aspirations to play college golf, the reality of course is that it is very competitive world out there and in order to be a true contender the junior must be shooting low golf scores and scoring high on the SAT and ACT exams.
Eligibility Center (EC):
- At www.eligibility.org you will find the Division 1 Initial NCAA Eligibility Requirements. These are academic requirements for student athletes. It is highly recommended to sign up as a Sophomore.
- Grades are extremely important and a Counselor should be consulted to make sure the correct courses are being taken for academic qualifying status.
- Home-schooled Players - it is very important to ensure that their curriculum equates to mainstream public/private schooling.
Contact with Coaches:
- According to new NCAA Golf Recruiting Rules effective May 1, 2019 Division 1 coaches can have their first recruiting interaction on June 15 after Sophomore year. This includes correspondence, private messages and incoming/outgoing telephone calls.
- Visits - whether unofficial or official - and any form of off-campus contact can only take place after August 1 before Junior year.
- Contact should be initiated by the Player (not the parents) and the Player should be well prepared with academic record as well as tournament scores, swing video, references etc.
- All scores should be sent to coaches, i.e. no cherry picking good tournaments that result in "gaps" in the golfing resume. Coaches expect that players will have less than desirable tournament rounds from time to time and often it is good to see how a junior can bounce back after a tough round.
- Resume should include: graduation year, golf scores, academics, hobbies, volunteering / community service.
- Unofficial visits to colleges are encouraged but as per new rules effective May 1, 2019, can only take place after August 1 before Junior year.
- Coaches are very focused on academics. There are consequences for schools that have athletic programs that cannot achieve academic levels, e.g. the college can lose post-season playing privileges, face reduced playing time, suspension, reduced funding etc.
- It is recommended that the Player start taking SATS and ACTS in 9th grade.
- No official offers in writing will be made until June 1 of Junior year. Verbal offers can be made any time but often don't hold and are not binding.
- Signed National Letters of Intent are binding, but the Player can still back out. It does, however, mean that the Player cannot be approached by other schools.
- It is best to play National tournaments, but coaches will look at scores on yardage, course ratings etc. for all tournaments played.
- Funding varies a lot by team. It will depend on the make-up of the team. Sometimes seniors take up a lot of the funding and there is little available for new students.
- Often it is not that a coach doesn't want to provide funding, it may be that it is just not available.
- There are about 300 Division 1 schools. About 70 of them have a lot of money while the rest try to "break even".
- There are a minimum of 400 scholarships (200 men, 200 women). Men's scholarships get used up quickly.
Finding the right school:
- It is important to try not to let scholarship attractions over-shadow finding the right school to fit the player's academic and golfing objectives.
- Parents need to be very pro-active in helping the Player find the right school and getting communications going.
- Go to college golf tournaments and observe interactions between coaches and players, e.g. how does the coach react when a player makes a bogey or gets down.
- Juniors should introduce themselves to the coach at a college tournament and follow up later with a call.
- Networking between players and also between parents is highly recommended.
- Having your name on your golf bag is recommended. If no name on the golf bag make sure to have a clearly visible bag tag with full name. Names should be visible on the practice range.
- Don't wear college logos until you are committed to a college. Coaches could be adversely influenced by a player wearing other college attire.
- Keep a notebook to record all people you meet, tournaments attended etc. Be organized and reference previous meetings.
- Coaches may look at all Social Media sites of players and parents.
- The following sites are very helpful : http://new.collegegolf.com/ and http://www.golfstat.com/home.html
- As the junior golfer gets older and plays high level tournaments around the country, college coaches are going to start watching their golf and behavior on the course. They should not be able to tell, while watching the player, whether they are having a good or bad day. Attitude is very important on the course. The player can be shooting in the 60's - but if he/she throws a golf club after a bad shot, chances are the coach will turn and walk away.
- Grades are also very important. Golf scores in the 60s accompanied by a C average will probably not get the college scholarship the player might want. College coaches also want coachable kids - not someone who may be brilliant but can't get along with themselves or others.
- So keep a good posture and positive attitude - not only on the golf course, but in life in general.