The process of assembling a proper best-fit
list of schools is crucial for any prospective
student-athlete who aspires to play college
golf. Developing a list of colleges and
universities that matches academic and golf
credentials, as well as other selection
criteria, establishes the roadmap for finding
college golf opportunities. However, if a junior
golfer’s list directs him/her toward schools
that are not actually best fits, this
miscalculation can potentially result in missed
So, what contributes to the improper design
of a best-fit list of schools? With access to
school websites, as well as useful online tools
like the Ping
American Golf Guide,
families have a lot of helpful information
available to put together a proper list. Still,
something is getting in the way. In my work with
junior golf families, I often find they tend to
overlook a variety of key points while
attempting to create an effective best-fit list.
To make sure your list is on track, be mindful
of the following suggestions.
- Coaches recruit impact players.
College golf coaches of today are usually
interested in signing players who can contribute
as college freshman. Large team rosters that
offer developing players a chance to move up the
ranks are less common. This dynamic in the
recruiting marketplace emphasizes the need for
junior golfers to build a best-fit list of
schools with a strong core of target programs
that match their golf abilities.
- The “GOLF-fit” component is very
important. To find a more appropriate
competitive fit, you should attempt to find
programs where you would gain a lot of
tournament experience as a freshman. Focusing on
this objective as you select schools for your
list will accelerate your golf development.
Plus, it will help you remain encouraged in a
competitive team setting.
- Assess talent level accurately and
establish realistic expectations for
improvement. Overestimating a young player’s
golf capabilities, academic ability, and the
amount of improvement that can be achieved
during the recruiting process can result in the
pursuit of too many “reach” programs.
Consequently, more appropriate college golf
opportunities may be missed as precious time is
lost focusing on unrealistic options.
- Junior golf scoring does not equal
college golf scoring. To more effectively
pinpoint reasonable “target” schools from a golf
standpoint, seek golf programs where your
average score in top-rated regional and national
tournaments (plus approximately two strokes)
falls within the top four to five players of the
college rosters. This is a great rule of thumb
to start you down the proper path in selecting
teams that align with your golf talents.
- Maintain an open mind. The
college landscape is full of quality schools
(Divisions I, II, and III) that offer great
coaching, facilities, academics, and campus
settings. Some of these schools may be lesser
known, but they can offer great environments for
scholastic and golf achievement. Admittedly, the
task of assembling a best-fit list of schools
can be difficult when facing such a vast
universe of college options. Tapping into the
knowledge and experience of consulting experts
like the AJGA
College Golf Advisors can enhance your
- Your best-fit list may differ from
your friends’ lists. Each junior golfer has
unique talents, abilities, interests, and
preferences. As a result, your school selections
(and recruiting plan) will likely be different
than those of your peers. This is normal!
Sticking to the school list and plan that is
best suited for you will maximize the
effectiveness of your recruiting efforts.
I feel confident the insights I’ve shared can
be instrumental in creating the right best-fit
list of schools for you. Following a realistic
and informed approach in selecting schools that
are true matches will position you for a much
more successful recruiting process.