10 Steps to College Golf
The Top 10 Steps to College Golf is intended to help junior golfers in their pursuit of becoming a college golfer. Use the following steps and other resources as a guide in preparing for college.
NCAA Guide for Student Athletes
1. High GPA and Test Scores
A good academic record is more important than a good golf record. College coaches are reluctant to select a player that might have trouble staying eligible, so study hard and stay focused. Below are links to the SAT, ACT and TOEFL websites. All college bound high school students should take the SAT and ACT more than once since most students receive higher scores on their second and third attempts. Start taking these tests during your sophomore year, so come recruitment time you will have test scores to include in your resume.
- SAT, www.collegeboard.com
- ACT, www.act.org
- TOEFL, http://www.ets.org/toefl (International Students Only)
2. Compete in Nationally Ranked Tournaments
Competing in the top tournaments not only gives you more exposure, the experience gained by playing against the best players on the best courses is invaluable. Cautiously select a tournament schedule that is challenging and fits within your budget. Some tournaments, although large and well known, can be very expensive. Ask other players and parents about tournaments they have competed in and find tournaments that are within your budget, conducted professionally and fun. Below are links to a few golf associations that conduct nationally ranked junior events.
- USGA, www.usga.org
- AJGA, www.ajga.org
- Florida Junior Tour
- Find other Nationally Ranked Tournaments at www.juniorgolfscoreboard.com
3. National Rankings
Years ago college coaches would travel to many tournaments during the summer to find possible recruits, but now with so many tournaments and hundreds of great players, they rely more on resources like Junior Golf Scoreboard to locate the top players. Visit the links below to understand how the rankings are determined and select a tournament schedule that will maximize your ranking.
- Improve your national ranking by excelling in Nationally Ranked Events
- Junior Golf Scoreboard
4. Register with the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse
Register with NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse after your junior year grades have been posted to your transcript to be eligible for an athletic scholarship.
- Players should register after the completion of their junior year in high school, with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
5. Contact Colleges
Before your sophomore year compose a list of all prospective colleges (at least 25). Include various different colleges by size, location, difficulty of entry, golf program, and more. Produce a letter of introduction, golf resume, and possibly a video to be mailed to all the coaches on your list. Below are some helpful points to consider on making contact with college coaches.
- Contact coaches via phone, email, or letter before/during your high school years. Inform them of your desire to join their team once you graduate and ask the coach to follow your progress. Give coaches updates periodically, especially after any outstanding performances.
- Letter of Interest
- Introduce yourself; include a brief personal history and your desire to attend the college.
- Golf Resume
- Include goals in college, golf accomplishments, upcoming schedule, school accomplishments, and other interests.
- Short and simple video (5 minutes) including full swings with Driver, long iron, short iron, some short wedge shots, bunker shots and holing some putts.
- Follow Up/Thank You Letter
6. Campus Visits
Once a school shows interest, discuss a visit with the coach. An official visit is when the college pays for majority of the expenses related to the visit. If a coach is interested, but doesn't want to use an official visit, try to set up an unofficial visit. Before a visit do some research on the school and prepare many questions to ask the coach and players.
When traveling to tournaments try to stop by campuses you are interested in. At least drive through the campus and see if its a place you would like to go.
- Visit schools on your final list. Meet with the golf coach and tour the campus.
- Students are allowed five official visits with no more than one per college during their senior year.
Advice during visits:
A visit to a campus could be the most important step. Coaches want to get to know you and see if you'll be able to adapt to college life and most importantly, fit in with the other team members. Talk with and ask questions to players on the teams. Try to be very open with the coach, ask questions, and show excitement. Remember; coaches spend most of their days around kids just like you, so relax and be yourself.
7. National Letter of Intent
A National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a letter that is basically a one-year binding agreement between you and the college. Once an NLI is signed and submitted you shouldn't receive any additional recruitment information. A NLI is not necessary, but is recommended. For more information regarding NLI's follow the links below.
8. Financial Aid
College can be very expensive, especially if you attend an out-of-state school. Coaches have a limited number of scholarships to disperse and usually they award partial scholarships to players that earn them through performance. Don't assume or rely on an athletic scholarship; apply for academic scholarships, grants, and if necessary, loans. Meet with a financial aid counselor for more specific information regarding scholarships, grants, and loans. Follow the links below for more information on financial aid. Remember to apply early!
- Understand Financial Aid
- Golf Scholarship
- Discuss with the coach how scholarships are distributed to the players.
9. More Resources and Guides
Utilize the many resources available to ease the college preparation process. Below are links to the most widely used resources.
- Ping American College Golf Guide (highly recommended)
- Red Numbers Golf
- Junior Golf Scoreboard
10. Don't Lose Your Eligibility!
Eligibility is not something to take for granted. Be very cautious when presented with gifts or awards for your golf ability. The FHSAA, NCAA and USGA don't share all of the same rules, so be sure to refer to each of them. Click on the links below for FHSAA NCAA Rules Regulations, Bylaws, and Eligibility Requirements.