Going to College Archive

How Do College Golf Scores Compare to Junior Golf Scores?

Understand the differences as you target “best fit” golf teams

It’s common for junior golf families to research college golf tournament results and, based on that information, determine which teams their son or daughter could ultimately play for. While this strategy makes sense on the surface, I would suggest further analysis before making any conclusions on which teams are potential “best fits.”

Is a score of 75 in a junior golf tournament comparable to a score of 75 in a college golf tournament? I ask this question of college golf coaches whenever I have the opportunity and always appreciate their perspective. Generally speaking, college golf coaches say college golf tournaments are at least three shots per round more difficult than average junior golf tournaments. With that being said, most college golf coaches view a junior golfer with a 75 stroke average as a college player who will likely average 78 in his/her freshman year of college. This is a subjective process, and there are numerous factors that affect these averages.

  • How long are the golf courses for each tournament? (typically much longer in college)
  • What time of year are the tournaments played? (college golf is fall/spring – cooler weather)
  • Do the players play 36 holes in one day? (most college events include a 36-hole day)
  • Are the players taking full-time classes during their season? (in college, the answer is yes)
  • Do the players select which tournaments/courses they will play? (in college, the answer is no)
  • How are the golf courses set up for the competition? (hole locations, rough, etc.)

These are a few of the differences that affect scoring averages between junior golf competitions and college golf competitions. Keep in mind, however, there are exceptions to the rule, and in certain cases, a junior golf tournament may be contested on a very challenging golf course in poor weather conditions. Make sure this information is communicated to college coaches as they evaluate your son’s/daughter’s golf game as a potential fit for their programs.

Another good practice to employ when researching potential “best fit” college golf teams is to consider the team’s current players and how they played the final two or three years of their junior golf careers. What scores did they post and in what tournaments? This is an excellent way to compare your son’s/daughter’s current junior golf career with players who have now transitioned to college golf and are competing at the next level.

In the final analysis, every prospective student-athlete should strive to target college teams where he/she can ultimately compete as a top-five player on the traveling squad. This will make the college athletics experience much more enjoyable and will provide the golfer with an opportunity to improve and develop as a player during his/her four years in college. Always keep a realistic mindset when targeting schools and continue to compete in regional/national tournaments as much as possible.

Play Well!

Coach Brooks
Red Numbers Golf®


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