What To Know To KeepYour Recruiting On Course
Start Your Recruiting, And Your Research, Early
If your goal is to play golf in college and maybe even earn a scholarship to do so, you need to start the process early. How early? It’s good advice to start thinking about the recruiting process as early as your freshman year in high school. Look at the rosters and player bios to get a feel for how much experience you’ll need on your profile. Then start working toward gaining that experience.
Freshman year is also a good time to think about the schools and programs you’re interested in. As you do so, compile a target list of 10 or 20 that you think might be the right fit for you. Then…
Once you have a target list of schools and golf programs, fill out each school’s recruiting questionnaire and reach out via phone or email to those coaches to express your interest in their school and program. Most golf coaches lack the time and budget to scour the country for recruits, so it’s up to you to get on their recruiting radar.
Before reaching out to college coaches, remember that they’re prohibited from initiating contact with you until your junior season. However, you can still get their attention with an online recruiting profile and a skills highlight video. Then…
Tee Off With A Great Email Introduction
A good introductory email to a college coach is like an approach shot; leave it short and you’re in the water. Carry it long and you’re in the sand. Remember, again, that college coaches have a limited amount of time, so treat your introductory email as an elevator pitch. Keep it short and simple. Talk briefly about why you want to attend that school and play golf for that program, about your game, and your experience. Then…
Let Your Numbers Do The Talking
In addition to including your tournament scores, be sure to include your GPA, SAT, and ACT scores. In addition to performance on the course, college golf coaches look at classroom performance as well. Showing you can carry the load on a college team and in a college classroom can make you a more attractive recruit. In fact, higher grades and eligibility for academic scholarships can generate even more interest from college coaches who are looking to stretch their athletic scholarship money. Then…
Make Sure You Do The Talking
Since you’ll be the one on the course, college coaches want to get to know you during the recruiting process. While your family might play a big role in your decision, coaches want to get a feel for your personality and your drive to make sure you’ll be a good fit on their team. Pursuing coaches on your own, introducing yourself to them, sharing your goals, and advocating on your own behalf will show a college coach that you’ve got the drive and demeanor they want for their team.
Tune Up Your Tournament Experience
As you compile your golf résumé, remember that tournament experience carries a lot of weight. Look for national-level or regional tournaments and strive for consistency, as college coaches will not only look at your scores and average, but also at your ability to score consistently, or rebound from a bad round, each day of a tournament.
Make An Honest Assessment Of Your Game
It’s fine to have a dream school, but if you’re not among that top 1% or 2% of golfers who land at NCAA Division I programs, you still have plenty of opportunities to play college golf. That’s why it’s important to honestly assess your game, be honest with yourself and with coaches, and include all your scores on your profile. Not being honest with yourself will ultimately waste your relatively short recruiting time as well as a coach’s valuable time.
Ask your coach where you might fit. Compare yourself to current players at the colleges on your target list and narrow your focus to the schools where you might be able to contribute the most. If your skills or experience don’t compare well with the schools on your list, or they’re not reciprocating your interest, reconfigure your list until you find schools and programs that best match your game.
Be Respectful And Grateful
While your scores and grades will go a long way toward determining what schools and coaches might be interested in you, a couple of intangibles can help you score off the course as well. Again, remember that a college coach’s time is valuable. Be respectful of that time, don’t waste their time, and be gracious and grateful for the time they spend on you. Appreciate the time coaches give you and use that time wisely to make an impression with your gratitude, even if you don’t get an offer. Remember that the circle of college golf coaches is comparably small, if you waste a coach’s time or have a bad attitude, word will spread quickly. But being respectful and gracious might also tip the scales in your favor over someone else too.
Don’t Expect Perfection
The best golfers might aim for perfection but rarely achieve it. And it’s a good idea to go into your recruiting process knowing that even though you might have a dream school and your college golf future laid out, it may not turn out as perfectly as you planned it. Instead, be ready to manage the unexpected just as you would on the course, Adjust, scramble, and do the best you can at every step along the way. Then, just as you aim for the best score you can on the course, look for school and the golf program that offers the best fit for you on the recruiting trail.
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