Going to College Archive

What Can You Expect From a College Golf Tournament?

A much different experience than a junior golf event.

The most exciting aspect of being a college golfer is the opportunity to compete in college tournaments. Traveling with your coach and teammates to events and having the opportunity to test your skills against other college players is an exhilarating experience. College events (in Divisions I and II) are typically 54--hole events. Many tournaments are scheduled over a 2-day period, playing 36 holes the first day and 18 holes the final round, while other college events are held over a 3-day period, playing 18 holes each day.

Both formats require the college student-athlete to be physically and mentally prepared, as well as to balance academic responsibilities. A team departs for an event the day prior to the practice round, depending on the proximity of the tournament and the resources of the golf program. College golfers typically miss 1 to 2 days of school while attending each tournament, but they could miss up to 3 days if it is an 18-hole per day format. The practice round consists of the entire team playing together and the coach assisting the players to prepare for the event. The team consists of five players selected by the coach. Each coach has his own qualifying system, so team members may vary from tournament to tournament.

The first day of competition requires an early wakeup call (dark thirty as my players used to say) to begin the 10 to 12 hours they will spend playing if it is a 36 holes in one day format. College golfers will play in every imaginable weather condition, and the low four scores from each team each round will be counted toward the team score. All the while the coach will be advising his respective players on yardages, reading greens, and encouraging the mental management of the game. The crowds are made up of parents, school administrators, alumni, members of the host course, and local fans. It is an exciting atmosphere, with each team representing its respective school in like uniforms, hats, and golf bags. The 36-hole day often ends with the last gleam of daylight; the players grab a quick meal together and then have a team meeting to discuss the agenda for the final round. After dinner and the team meeting, some players may hit the books, some may catch up with friends on other teams, and some may get to bed early to be rested for the final 18 holes.

The final round again requires an early wakeup call as the players must have all of their bags packed and be ready for the van ride or flight home immediately following play. After the conclusion of the final round, the entire field gathers for a tournament meal and the awards ceremony. The trip back home is filled with the joys of victory or talk of what could have been. Each player returns to class that next morning, making up assignments and catching up with normal classwork. Keep in mind, a typical college golf program will compete in 10 to 12 tournaments per year, which requires college golfers to be organized, efficient with their time, and maintain the proper balance between academics and golf.

The opportunity to represent a golf program and university is a rewarding experience. College golfers certainly make sacrifices with their time; however, there is no better feeling than playing for a university/golf program you love and striving for common goals with your teammates and coaches you care about.

When your time permits this spring, I encourage you to get out and observe a college event near you to experience the excitement of college golf firsthand.

Keep Swinging!

Ted Gleason

Road to College Golf

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