In college golf, each player has his own unique
golf swing and style of play. One common
element the best players all possess, however,
is the ability to manage time effectively.
Between academics, golf, and social activities,
collegiate student-athletes rarely have free
time to waste. Setting priorities and learning
to be task oriented allows young players to
accomplish their goals and objectives.
Most junior golfers are unaware of the actual
commitment level necessary to earn a college
scholarship and to eventually compete as a
collegiate golfer. The amount of time and
sacrifice that is required to reach this
advanced level is demonstrated by only a small
percentage of young players. Sacrifices may be
financial in nature or may cause a player’s
social life to suffer a little. I also see the
best young players committing to play and
practice golf on a year-round basis.
To become a more effective time manager, I
recommend the following:
Implementing these time management suggestions
will greatly enhance your ability to accomplish
specific tasks throughout your busy day and
will serve as the first step toward improving
your commitment level.
- Maintain a calendar and note important
dates (both academic and golf).
- Think ahead by planning your upcoming
days, weeks, and months.
- Write down tasks that you expect to
accomplish each day (checklist).
- Adopt a consistent sleep routine
(bedtime, number of hours, etc.).
The next step requires junior golfers to
practice with a purpose and a plan at all
times. These are key ingredients that will
lead to long-term success in college and
beyond. The best players whom I had the
opportunity to coach in college went to the
golf course each day with specific objectives in
mind. They were focused and always knew what
they were trying to achieve in the amount of
time they had available that day. This is an
example of commitment.
Also remember that both quality and quantity
are important when designing practice
sessions. The NCAA allows coaches 20 hours per
week to practice and compete while in season.
The most committed players in the nation
allocate an additional 20 hours per week (or
more) to improving their games. Junior players
should develop practice schedules each week
that place a premium on improving their short
games and on maximizing their available time.
I recommend spending at least twice as much
time on short game than on long game. Short
game includes putting, chipping, pitching,
bunker play, and partial wedge shots. In next
month’s column, I will show you exactly how to
design an effective practice program. Stay
Other areas that require intense commitment for
juniors who aspire to play collegiate golf
include fitness and nutrition (see Mike
Pedersen’s Championship Fitness column),
academic responsibilities, mental training (see
Michael Riggs’ Playing Between the Ears
column), and golf instruction. If you have a
desire to be great, each of these areas will
need your focus and attention on an ongoing
basis. The best collegiate players in the
nation are always searching for ways to get
stronger, smarter, tougher, and more
fundamentally sound in their games. Are you as
equally committed to getting better each and