Going to College is devoted to helping junior golfers and their parents better understand the college recruitment process and to providing insight on what qualities are necessary for young players to compete successfully at the collegiate level. Each month, a popular topic will be discussed to offer advice and counsel to interested juniors and their parents.

Going to College Authors

John Brooks

As a former college golf coach and someone who has worked with talented junior and collegiate players for over 25 years, John is well qualified to help families navigate junior golf and manage college placement. For this purpose, he founded Red Numbers Golf® in 2003. [click for picture and bio]

Ted Gleason

Ted Gleason founded Road To College Golf in 2006 to assist junior golfers and their families with the College placement process. Formerly the Head Golf Coach at both the University of Southern California and Southern Methodist University.  [click for picture and bio]

Nicky Goetze

As an independent consultant, Nicky Goetze specializes in providing expert guidance to families as they pursue college Golf. He helps young players and their parents maximize opportunities at the junior golf level and more effectively handle the college placement process.  [click for picture and bio]

Repeating a Grade in High School or Pursuing a Post-Grad Year – Part One

What you need to know.

During high school, some junior golfers may consider repeating a grade or pursuing a “post-grad” (or gap) year. Why would these options make sense? The desire to become more competitive as a recruit by extending the timeline before starting college is usually the primary motive. Extra time allows a junior player to mature, improve academic credentials, develop golf skills, and strengthen tournament results. Ultimately, the potential exists for both strategies to enhance performance and open up more college golf opportunities.

In this article, the idea of repeating a grade, as well as the pros and cons associated with this choice, will be explored. A follow-up article (Repeating a Grade in High School or Pursuing a Post-Grad Year – Part Two) will address the post-grad approach and why this might be a better alternative. For now, let’s assess the “repeat a grade” scenario.

As previously mentioned, hitting the reset button and repeating a grade in high school can help junior golfers gain an edge in the recruiting process. It positions them to be more physically, mentally, and emotionally mature than the competing players in their graduating class. Increased physical strength and the potential to hit the ball farther are likely benefits. Mental and emotional maturity, and a clearer sense of long-term goals, often comes along with extra time. And, of course, golf and academic performance have the potential to be improved.

These positives all sound good, right? But when considering the possibility of repeating a grade, it’s important to be aware of NCAA Initial-Eligibility Requirements for Division I (assuming Division I golf is of interest). Plus, a couple of recruiting issues should be kept in mind.

With respect to the NCAA rules, a prospective student-athlete interested in becoming a qualifier for Division I golf must successfully complete 16 core courses no later than the high school graduation date of his/her class as determined by the first year of enrollment in ninth grade (NCAA Division I – Bylaw, Core-Curriculum Time Limitation). In simple terms, once a high school golfer starts ninth grade, he/she has eight consecutive semesters to successfully complete the required 16 core courses. (Check your high school’s list of NCAA courses on the Resources page of the NCAA Eligibility Center website.) This requirement must be met by all prospects, including those who repeat a grade.

Also, for prospective student-athletes first entering a Division I college or university on or after August 1, 2016, the NCAA will add new requirements to become a Division I qualifier. One particular rule will specify that 10 of the 16 core courses must be completed before the start of the seventh semester of high school.

The main keys to satisfying these NCAA Initial-Eligibility Requirements are:

    1. Ensure that none of the 16 core courses are duplicated.

    2. Meet the required time frame to complete 16 core courses (eight consecutive semesters from the start of ninth grade).

    3. Complete 10 of the required 16 core courses before the start of the seventh semester (applies to prospects entering a Division I college on or after August 1, 2016).

Because each junior golfer may be facing a different situation as the option of repeating a grade is considered, it is recommended that a student’s parents consult with the NCAA and his/her high school guidance staff to design a compliant academic plan. Satisfying the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Requirements, as well as “amateurism” legislation (i.e., requirements related to preserving all four seasons of college competition), should be primary objectives.

Given the potential complexities of repeating a grade in high school, it’s important to recognize that this approach can raise red flags or concerns for coaches. The coaching audience knows that repeating a grade could result in compliance issues with the NCAA rules. Consequently, coaches might be less interested in recruiting a junior golfer if they feel eligibility complications may exist.

In the final analysis, the underlying motives for repeating a grade are well founded. The sport of golf is all about the long race, and more time to develop skills and maturity can create advantages in the recruiting process. However, maintaining compliance with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Requirements and avoiding eligibility concerns from coaches are the primary challenges that junior golfers need to manage.

As you will see in Part Two of this article, using a post-grad year might be a worthy alternative. This strategy is allowed within the NCAA rules for all divisions of college golf. Plus, it affords a junior golfer more time in the recruiting process with far fewer issues to navigate.

nicky goetze


Coaches Finding & Evaluating Players
    Should I Communicate a Poor Performance to a College Coach?
    Are You Waiting for Tournament Success Before Contacting College Golf Coaches?
    Who Should Speak When Meeting with Coaches – Parents or the Student-Athlete?
    Do College Coaches Use Swing Videos To Evaluate Recruits?
    Do Coaches Really Care About Academics? *Recently Updated*
    Do You Have the Game to Play College Golf?
    How Do College Coaches Work Junior Tournaments?
    How Do College Golf Coaches Discover Talent?

Finding the Right School - Your "Best Fit"
    How Do College Golf Scores Compare to Junior Golf Scores?
    How Do I Know Which Schools Are “Best Fits” for Me?
    How Do I Remain Proactive in Identifying My “Best Fit”?
    Is a Walk-On Opportunity the “Best Fit” for Me?
    What Are the Real Keys to a Successful College Golf Recruiting Experience?
    What Useful Information Can I Research on a Golf Team's Website?
    When Should Junior Golfers Begin Visiting and Researching Colleges? *Recently Updated*
    What’s the Story on Division II and Division III Golf Programs?
    Are Unofficial Visits to College Campuses Necessary?
    Should Junior Golfers Attend Collegiate Tournaments?
    Just How Big is College Golf? *Recently Updated*
    What questions should I ask a college coach during a campus visit?
    Where Should I Attend College to Study and Play Golf?

Playing in College
    Repeating a Grade in High School or Pursuing a Post-Grad Year – Part One
    Are College Golfers Expected to Take Part in a Conditioning Program?
    What’s the Story on Club Golf?
    What Is Your Ideal Time Commitment for Playing Golf in College?
    What Can You Expect From a College Golf Tournament?
    Are You Practicing to Play the Odds?
    Am I good enough to play Division I golf?
    What does it mean to "Redshirt"?
    How Do I Prepare for my Freshman Year in College?
    How Important Is Time Management for Student-Athletes at the Collegiate Level?
    What Is a Typical Week Like in the Life of a College Golfer?
    Is College Golf an Individual Sport?
    What are the main differences between junior golf and college golf?
    What Commitment Level is Necessary for Junior Golfers to Become Successful Collegiate Student-Athletes?

Playing Junior Golf
    Is playing a practice round important?
    Is There More to Golf Than a Score?
    You Have Completed the College Placement Process—Now What?
    Is It a Good Idea To Withdraw After a Poor Round?
    How Can a Junior Golfer Improve His Practice Sessions?

Promoting Yourself – Being Visible
    How Can Golf Recruits Maximize Visibility Among College Coaches? *Recently Updated*
    When and How Should I Initiate a Phone Call to a College Coach? *Recently Updated*
    Is Your Written Communication to Coaches Sending the Right Message?
    What Information Should Prospects Send to College Golf Coaches?
    Will Playing AJGA Events Increase My Chances of Earning a College Scholarship? *Recently Updated*
    What Should Recruits Say When Coaches Call Them?
    College Recruitment Timeline - Part 2 *Recently Updated*
    College Recruitment Timeline - Part 1 *Recently Updated*

Recruiting & Scholarships
    How Do the NCAA’s Recent Rules Changes Affect You?
    Is the College Recruiting Process Putting Too Much Pressure on You?
    When Should I Apply to Colleges?
    What is the Purpose of the NCAA Eligibility Center?
    What Is a Parent’s Role During a Campus Visit?
    Can Facebook or a Social Network Site Affect How I am Recruited?
    What Should I Do if I Didn’t Sign a National Letter of Intent in the Early Signing Period? *Recently Updated*
    What Questions Should I Be Prepared to Answer During a Campus Visit?
    What Are the Most Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Scholarships? *Recently Updated*
    How do I know if a School is Really Interested in Recruiting Me? *Recently Updated*
    How do Players Verbally Commit to Schools so Early in the Process? *Recently Updated*
    As a Rising Senior Is It Too Late To Be Recruited?
    What is a Parent's Role in the Recruiting Process?
    When Should Junior Golfers Sign the NLI? *Recently Updated*
    What is a Full Scholarship? *Recently Updated*
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