During each of my 13 years as the Head Men’s
Golf Coach at the University of North Florida,
I received on average approximately 1,000
letters, emails, or faxes from prospective
student-athletes introducing themselves to me
and inquiring as to whether or not golf
scholarships were available for their
graduating class. Most of these prospects
failed to do their homework before sending
their information to me. Instead of
researching our university’s admissions
standards and golf team ranking, they took a
more “shotgun” approach and wrote to schools
they thought would be interesting to attend.
At least 95 percent of the prospects were
unqualified either due to poor grades and/or
test scores or because they lacked the
necessary results in tournament competition.
Before you send anything to a college coach,
do your homework. Make sure your academic
profile matches (at least closely) that of the
school you are contacting. This includes both
your grade point average and test scores (SAT
and/or ACT). Secondly, be realistic with
yourself and only contact schools where you
have a better than 50-50 chance of playing on
the team. Focus on the team’s top three or
four players only when determining whether or
not you are a qualified candidate.
Golfstat and the
Ping American College Golf
Guide can be a very
useful websites when researching a team’s
recent tournament performances and national
Once you have a realistic list of 10 to 12
schools that are potential fits (both
academically and athletically), you should
contact the coaches and introduce yourself.
My suggestion is that you email an
introductory letter to each coach that
includes your contact information, academic
profile, upcoming tournament schedule,
instructor’s name, references, and golf
highlights. Writing to them early in your
junior year is appropriate as coaches are
permitted to write and email you at that same
time. Keep the letter simple and brief so
they will be more likely to read it. Most
coaches access their email accounts regularly
(even when out of the office), so this is the
simplest, most effective way to communicate
with them. Offer to make an unofficial visit
(one that you pay for) to their campus if they
have any interest in recruiting you.
Unofficial visits are a great way to learn
more about the schools and to meet the coaches
face to face.
You should also produce a swing and short game
DVD that they can review. This DVD can either
be sent via email or regular mail depending on
your software capabilities. The DVD needs to
include 10 to 12 full swings (some from down
the line and some from face on), as well as
several chips, pitches, bunker shots, and
putts. It is unnecessary to have any audio or
instruction on the tape.
Include a paragraph in your introductory
letter that lets the coach know why you are
writing to him. Mention something about his
university and golf team that indicates you
have in fact done your homework. Provide at
least one specific reason why you are
interested in attending that school. It may
have to do with academic offerings, climate,
golf team ranking, or all of the above.
Without including this information, you run
the risk of sending a generic letter that the
coach will assume you sent in a blanket manner
to numerous schools.
Finally, do not be surprised if less than 50
percent of the coaches write back to you.
Many of them operate without assistants or
secretaries and are challenged to stay current
with their administrative duties. Some will
respond immediately, while others will keep
your name on file and monitor your progress
throughout the season. In either case, it is
acceptable to email periodic updates to these
coaches so that they are aware of your
continued interest in their programs.
Best of luck with your college search!