Going to College Archive

How Do I Know Which Schools Are “Best Fits” for Me?

Being mindful of these best-fit list suggestions can keep your pursuit of college golf on track.

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 opportunity.

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, Golfstat, and Junior Golf Scoreboard, 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 approach.
  • 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.

nicky goetze


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