For the past several years our academy has focused on getting junior golfers from high school to college golf and we have done so with great success.
In the last five years more than 30 of our students have gone on to play college golf. Many have won collegiate events, conference championships and become All-Americans. One was named NCAA National Player of the Year and another National Junior College Player of the Year.
These numbers would make it seem as if the road to college golf is an easy one, yet it is an extremely tough journey and one that requires a great deal of time, commitment and hard work from both student and coach. The numbers alone are quite daunting.
In NCAA Division 1 there are just over 300 schools participating in men’s golf, each able to offer 4.5 scholarships per year. If you assume those scholarships are split up equally between freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors that means only about 335 scholarships are available each year for incoming freshmen. Take out a good percentage for international players, especially on the more highly ranked teams, and the numbers grow even smaller.
So what does this mean to a junior golfer hoping to play college golf? First of all it means that it is never too early to start. The sooner you make it to elite level tournaments the better. It also means it is never too early to start the recruiting process by contacting coaches at schools you are interested in attending.
The most important part of the recruiting process is exposure. Schools have limited recruiting budgets so most coaches will tend to go to the bigger AJGA and USGA events. Obtaining the status to play in these events will go a long way to helping you receive a scholarship. And at the end of the day you need to play well in these big events. College coaches look for players who can play their best on the biggest stages.
Grades are another must have in earning a college scholarship.
The NCAA minimum requirements are the basic necessity but the higher your grades are the more attention you will receive from college coaches. Higher grades and test scores also make it possible to earn academic scholarship to go along with any athletic money you may receive.
The bottom line for any junior golfer hoping to play college golf is that there is no such thing as working too hard. There is no such thing as starting too early. Find the instructor in your area who has had the greatest success sending high school players on to college and find a way into his or her program.
The road to college golf may not be an easy one, but hard work is the first step.