Going to College Archive

Are You Waiting for Tournament Success Before Contacting College Golf Coaches?

Coaches look at more than just scores. Don’t delay your communication process!

During a recent phone call with one of my junior golf clients, we were discussing the optimal time to begin sending introductory emails to coaches on his “best-fit” list of schools. (See Going to College article, “Where Should I Attend College to Study and Play Golf?” for details about how to target best-fit schools.) I mentioned that emailing or writing coaches in May or June at the conclusion of his sophomore year in high school would be an appropriate time in his case.

Interestingly, my client was hesitant about this timing. He was concerned that coaches wouldn’t be interested in him as a recruit because he had not yet had a top finish in a high-level regional or national tournament. His perspective was, “Shouldn’t I wait to contact coaches until I become a stronger player with at least one impressive showing?”

From my experience as a former Division I head coach, high school prospects need to keep in mind that coaches have a broader approach as they make their recruiting decisions. They look at more than just scores! Because of this fact, young players should remain encouraged about initiating a line of communication with coaches on their best-fit list of schools even if they haven’t yet put together that perfect resume.

Consider sharing the following information with coaches to help you make a positive impression as you begin (or continue) sending outreach communication:

  • Use a simple collection of full-swing and short-game videos to demonstrate athleticism and technical polish. Pairing the video with details about your instructors (swing teacher, mental coach, or fitness trainer) and the practice strategies you’re focused on will help give coaches an indication of the upside you possess as a player.

  • Include academic credentials and be sure to provide updates regarding improvement in GPA as well as SAT or ACT scores. College golf coaches prefer to recruit accomplished students. They believe high school prospects with strong grades and test scores will better handle the rigors of balancing academic and golf responsibilities in the college environment.

  • Explain what you’ve learned from your poor rounds in tournaments, and detail the strategies you’re using to get better. Expressing your mission for improvement is a valuable topic to communicate to coaches, perhaps even more important than sharing tournament successes. Coaches understand that no junior player (or college player for that matter) is perfect. All players have peaks and valleys during their golf careers and telling coaches how you handle the tough times can be very meaningful.

  • Recognize the power of showing coaches a trend of improvement over time. For example, providing objective details about lower scores (or a lower scoring average) that you’ve produced in a recent series of tournaments is useful data that allows coaches to more effectively evaluate your progress.

If you are contemplating the right time to begin (or continue) communication with coaches, don’t feel you have to wait for perfect golf results before you can send an email, make a phone call, or arrange a campus meeting. Remember, recruiting is about more than just golf scores. Coaches are attracted to prospects who possess qualities such as solid swing technique, athleticism, wedge/putting savvy, mental resilience, and quality academic performance. Effectively presenting your ability in these areas and sharing the details of your plan to become a better student-athlete should always be key components of your communication during the recruiting process. Following this strategy will keep your recruiting efforts moving in a positive direction no matter when your next good round comes along!

nicky goetze

P.S. The Junior Golf Scoreboard "Golf and Academic Resume" can be a great way to showcase your skills, credentials and improvement trend. Keep this sophisticated resume format in mind as you pursue your communication with college coaches.

   Back to Going to College