Going to College Archive

Are There Benefits to Playing on a High School Golf Team?

Playing high school golf has a number of benefits and can add to your overall high school experience.

Throughout my seven years as a Division I college golf coach and now 9.5 years as a college golf consultant, Iíve been continually asked by parents and junior golfers, ďDoes high school golf matter in my sonís/daughterís quest to play college golf?Ē Surely youíd get varying opinions and perspectives on this topic from junior golfers and parents. I canít speak for all college coaches, but I will provide my opinions on the topic and tell you what I share with my own clients regarding high school golf. Ultimately, each individual must decide for himself what is the best decision for his particular high school experience.

Personally, I have great memories of my high school golf team experience and will fondly remember my teammates, the van rides, matches against our rivals and other players (Dave Stockton, Jr., OD Vincent, Brandi Burton), my coachís (rest in peace, Coach Sage) stories, and the bond that we all shared during my four years on the team. My coach was not an advanced golfer, but he loved the game and wanted us to have a great experience. My high school experience only enhanced my golf journey, and like anything in life, it is what you choose to make it. That three- to four-month period each spring in high school was a time I looked forward to and remember distinctly. The high school golf season length still provided me ample opportunities to complement my junior tournament schedule with outside junior/amateur events that would allow me to compete and gain the necessary experience against a more regional and/or national field. There is no arguing that competitive junior golfers need to complement their high school golf experience with junior tournaments and, for some, amateur events. Itís important and essential that college coaches are able to evaluate you in multiple-day tournaments and competitive fields outside of high school golf. However, as a former college coach, I viewed high school golf as a positive for junior golfers and wanted to share some of my reasons.

  • The high school golfer learns the value and aspects of being on a team. Although golf is an individual sport, a golferís performance will impact the team score. In college, a golfer is one of approximately ten teammates, so each player has a role that can greatly affect the team. There are a myriad of activities that include and require teamwork and cooperation (team competitions, team building, community outreach, fitness trainings and practice, alumni/donor functions, etc.) in college. These are traits that can be well established through a high school golf team experience and better prepare a junior golfer for all aspects of college athletics.
  • High school golfers have the opportunity to represent their schools and communities, participate in team rivalries against other high schools, and manage the responsibilities of being high school student-athletes representing something bigger than the individual. This experience is also a great prelude to what being a college student-athlete is all about, and itís fun to play for your school, teammates, and community.
  • There is an opportunity to learn from a varying number of mentors, administrators, teachers, and coaches through a high school golf team experience.
  • The high school golfer learns how to coexist and communicate with other personalities on the team, as well as with the coach. Itís also an opportunity to learn leadership skills and set an example for the next class of players. This same hierarchy is seen in the college team environment as well.
  • In college, a player is not always going to be able to practice, train, and rest on his own schedule. The coach will dictate these activities, much like the high school golf experience. In most cases, the coach determines when a player trains; hence, a player learns how to make the most out of the practice time required by the coach and how to utilize his practice time when the opportunity is available to practice on his own.
  • Playing high school golf simulates the balance of having school in the morning and golf practice/matches in the afternoon. This time management skill is one of the most important aspects of being a successful college student-athlete. Learning and practicing the balance between academics, athletics, and social activities in the high school environment can be used as a positive foundation to what is required as a college student-athlete.

High school golf can provide a plethora of benefits to a young junior golfer and, if approached with the correct mindset, a lasting and memorable experience. As established, it is essential that a junior golfer aspiring to play college golf compete in junior events outside of the high school season. However, competing on a high school golf team will not be looked at negatively in the eyes of a college coach. Instead, playing high school golf will provide an opportunity to learn how to become a team player in an individual sport.

Happy Holidays!

Ted Gleason

Road to College Golf


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