Going to College Archive

Do You Have the Game to Play College Golf?

Learn How Coaches Address This Important Question in Recruiting

A very small percentage of junior golfers have the game necessary to make an immediate impact in NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) competition. Throughout the recruiting process coaches are forced to predict which young players will someday develop into successful collegiate players. The question is, what are NCAA coaches really looking for when they evaluate talent? While the process is more art than science, several factors should be considered.

Coaches are looking for good athletes who have fundamentally sound swings. As a junior player, it is imperative that you are continuously striving to improve your golf swing and to become stronger and better conditioned as an athlete. Coaches expect you to work regularly with a qualified golf instructor and to design and implement a fitness program that will enhance your swing. An excellent resource to learn more about golf fitness can be viewed here on the Scoreboard with Championship Fitness by Kelly Shobe and at Improve My Game, a new website offered by the Titleist Performance Institute. Remember that once you start college, you will be required to actively participate in a workout program with your coach and team at least three days per week. Why not start today?

Coaches are also looking for juniors who know how to play the game. At the end of the day, score is what matters. Regardless of how good your golf swing looks, coaches are interested in watching you play to see whether or not you know how to score. While you are competing, they will evaluate your course management skills, your ability to shape and play different types of shots, the soundness of your short game, and how good your attitude remains—especially in tough situations. Many juniors have been taught how to properly swing the golf club, while a much smaller percentage actually know how to play the game at a level suitable for collegiate competition. As you work on developing your game with your instructor, make sure adequate time is spent on the golf course learning to play different types of shots and refining your short game technique.

Coaches are interested in recruiting juniors who will transition smoothly to college. Once a young person matriculates in college, they face numerous new challenges. They are away from home for the first time in their lives and are experiencing tremendous freedom. The ability to manage time effectively becomes the key to success for a collegiate student-athlete. Coaches are trying to identify recruits who can accomplish this critical task. As a college coach for 14 years, I witnessed both extremes of the spectrum—those who knew how to manage time and, unfortunately, those who did not. This skill is the most important prerequisite for young players to successfully transition from junior golf to college golf. Coaches are also targeting student-athletes who understand how to handle their academic responsibilities without adversely affecting their golf games. You have to remain eligible in school first if you plan to compete in college.

In the final analysis, there are many intangibles that will determine whether or not you have the game to play college golf. Coaches will pay very close attention to your scores in competition but will also want to know more about you as a person. These intangibles help coaches predict whether or not you can succeed at the college level. Juniors who aspire to play at the next level need to concentrate on improving all facets of their games including golf swing, short game, fitness, mental toughness, and time management. Good luck, and always remember that academics come first!

Coach Brooks
Red Numbers Golf®


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