If your child is still a year or more away from high school, college is
likely a distant thought. Kids grow up quickly though, and the challenges of
finding the right college to attend will begin soon enough. Perhaps the biggest
challenge will be finding a school that provides the proper setting—one that
will support your child as a student and as a golfer.
Fortunately, the difficulties presented by the search for a “best-fit”
college can be reduced. Getting a head start on several key action items during
your son’s or daughter’s middle school years will allow you to effectively guide
your junior golfer toward a fulfilling college golf future. Have a look below.
1. Assemble a strong support team to create a game development plan
and an initial strategy to pursue college golf. This team could include a swing
and short game instructor, fitness trainer, mental skills coach, college golf
advisor, or others.
2. Build a golf resume by exposing your child to tournaments that
match his/her skills, physical development, and experience level. Gradually
taking on competitions like AJGA Junior-All Star tournaments or other major
championships will allow your son or daughter to get acclimated to the highest
levels of junior golf. Plus, playing tournaments like these will provide
exposure to college coaches so they can see your child’s skills (e.g., swing
technique, short game savvy, athleticism, attitude, and more). Note, using the
Based Entry (PBE) Map. can help you target quality tournaments that
offer PBE Status, and earning PBE Status (or stars) through high finishes in
these select competitions increases your child’s chances of acceptance for AJGA
3. Read the
To College column on Junior Golf Scoreboard. This collection of
60+ articles provides valuable information about the most relevant topics
pertaining to navigating junior golf and college placement.
4. Use online resources to begin researching colleges/universities and
Ping American College Golf
Junior Golf Scoreboard,
Golfweek. Additionally, specific websites for college golf teams
and academic institutions will provide important details to help you begin to
understand the differences among available options in the college landscape.
5. Review the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete, which
can be found on the The NCAA
Eligibility Center website. This document will help you gain an
awareness of the basic recruiting rules and initial eligibility requirements
that become relevant once your child begins 9th grade.
6. Attend college tournaments in your home area. This is a great way
to learn more about what it takes to succeed at the next level. Basically,
seeing college events first-hand will help your child become more informed about
the college golf environment (i.e., team talent levels, coaching styles, etc.)
and it will likely be motivating as well.
Golfstat offers a comprehensive listing of fall and spring college
golf schedules for
your review. (See Schedules & Results tab.)
7. Begin visiting college campuses. Visiting schools will help you
and your child learn more about what he’s looking for in a college set-up.
Taking simple campus tours can be an appropriate first step. Eventually,
arranging meetings with college golf coaches will set the stage for making a
personal introduction and learning more about each coach's golf program.
With the college recruiting environment becoming more and more competitive,
it is wise to do your homework sooner than later. Now is the right time to
begin thinking about where your child may want to attend college and what to
look for in the search. The seven key suggestions provided will definitely
start your child down the right path toward college golf.