As you begin thinking about college and where
you might like to play golf, realize that the
Internet can be extremely helpful to you and
your parents throughout the college placement
process. It is very important to develop a
target list of schools to research, visit, and
possibly contact. This task should be completed
no later than the first semester of your junior
year in high school. In most cases I recommend
that sophomores start formulating ideas about
what they want out of their college experience.
It's never too early to start this process.
So where do you begin? The
Ping American College Golf
developed by Dean Frischnecht, is an incredible
tool to help prospective student-athletes learn
more about the various colleges that offer
intercollegiate golf teams. Every junior golfer
who aspires to play golf at the next level
should have access to this website and use it
regularly as he/she searches for a college to
attend. AJGA members are provided access
already. Begin considering what region of the
country you prefer, how large/small the campus
can be, what degree you are seeking, your
college budget (ask your parents) and, most
importantly as it relates to golf, where you
will have a better than 50-50 chance of playing
Once you have your preliminary "best fit"
list of schools developed, begin researching
each school on its respective website. Pay
close attention to the golf team website during
this search to learn more about the team and how
it may or may not be the right place for you.
First, review the team's roster and consider the
class breakdown. How many players will be
graduating prior to you arriving on campus?
Will it be a significant recruiting year for
your class, or does the team have little to no
turnover that year? Remember, recruiting is a
numbers game. Try targeting schools that appear
to need at least two or more players from your
class. This will help your odds of being
recruited. Also take note of each player's
hometown and see if the coach has a pattern for
recruiting players. Are many of the players
from other countries or specific regions of the
Also consider the team's tournament schedule.
Do they play a regional or national schedule?
Golfstat (included in the Ping
to track results
from all college events. Keep in mind that the
golf courses are typically longer than most
courses played in junior events, the hole
locations and rough are more challenging and, on
average, the weather is less favorable for golf
in the fall/spring months versus the summer. I
suggest you use a 2 to 3 shot per round
adjustment to compare junior golf to college
Most golf team websites will include
information on their practice facilities. Where
does the team practice (driving range and short
game area), and where do they have access to
play golf? Is the access every day of the week?
What about weekends? And does the team have a
private practice area, or do they use a facility
that all students (and the public potentially)
can also access? You may also find information
regarding the strength and conditioning
facilities at the university and whether or not
it is restricted to athletes only. Some of the
larger universities offer workout facilities
that are restricted to several teams only.
The coach's bio is always posted on a golf
team's website. Make sure you take time to read
this information to better understand the
coach's background. Was he/she a collegiate or
professional golfer? Does he/she have teaching
experience? How long has he/she coached at the
collegiate level, and what is his/her record?
Historically has he/she remained at a school for
a long period of time, or has he/she changed
jobs more frequently? You can also see from the
coaches section of the website whether or not
the program has an assistant coach. Is that
person full-time or part-time? What is his/her
background, and what role does he/she play in
coaching the team? Does he/she coach, or is
he/she there for administrative support only?
As you can see, a tremendous amount of useful
information is available to you via a golf
team's website. Make sure you spend time
researching everything mentioned in this article
and use it to help you target potential "best
fit" schools and golf programs.
Can you imagine what it must have been like
to research schools before the Internet way back
in the early 1990s?