As junior golfers communicate with college coaches during the recruiting process, it’s common for them to have
questions and feelings of uncertainty as they try to figure out which coaches are really interested. Of course, it’s
fairly easy to see that interest isn’t there when coaches don’t respond to multiple inquiries over time. But I’m talking
about situations where prospects are getting some “nibbles on the line,” especially in the later stages of recruitment.
Those nibbles are what every prospect is hoping for, yet it can still be difficult to gauge sincere interest.
I’m sure you’re familiar with some of the signs that indicate sincere interest from a coach. Some positives in
ascending order of importance (from “you’re one in fifty” to “you’re one in five”) include a questionnaire, regular
emails, handwritten letters, phone calls and texts, frequent evaluations during tournaments, and official visits. (Note:
Division I coaches are only permitted to contact prospects with emails/letters, calls, and texts or meet for visits on
or after September 1 of a prospect’s junior year.) Even when these signs occur, it still may not mean a junior golf
recruit is a top-of-list candidate or will receive an offer.
So, what should players and parents do to get more specific feedback from coaches and eliminate doubts? To me, the
importance of being up front with coaches (during phone calls and visits) and politely asking about where you stand as a
recruit is crucial. It provides peace of mind and valuable information, which will allow you to manage your recruiting
process and decision making more efficiently.
You might think prospects and parents would easily cover this topic in conversations with coaches. Surprisingly, I
have found the opposite. Concerns of being too direct or coming off as disrespectful often short circuit efforts to
explore this key question. Here’s how a junior golf recruit might go about “making the ask.”
“Coach, I really appreciate your hosting me and my parents for a campus visit. I’m impressed by what I’ve
seen, and I feel your university and golf program would support my development as a student-athlete. Now that you’ve
seen me compete and have gotten to know me during the last few months, can you tell me more clearly where I stand among
your recruits for my class? Is there an opportunity to join your team?”
Depending on the answers, you can continue with the following questions.
“When do you expect to make your final recruiting decisions? What advice do you have for me to strengthen my
candidacy going forward?”
I realize, depending on your situation, the wording I’ve used might need to be adjusted, but this is a
straightforward and respectful approach to learn more about a coach’s view of your position and value as a recruit.
Using this strategy will help you more quickly determine your best college golf options and, ultimately, will allow you
to proceed confidently in making a well-informed decision about your future.
To your success,