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
- 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
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.