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How To Get Recruited By College Golf Coaches

I train a good number of middle school and high school golfers, and as they get closer to recruitment (and start to shoot lower scores), they always ask how they can get noticed and recruited by college coaches.


I can speak somewhat for the college coaches at large, as I am friends with many of them, but more specifically, I can tell you exactly how I recruited when I was the assistant coach at Rice University.


Firstly, just shoot good scores. That’s about the most obvious thing of course, but it goes a little deeper than that. Trust that coaches can do their job and will find you if you are playing well. If you shoot great scores and are consistently breaking par, I can assure you that messages and letters and coaches shadowing your every round will follow. Too often parents are devoting their energy to minutia to get their kid noticed, when the truth is that coaches have noticed your kid and their scores, and simply are awaiting improvement before making a move.


Trusting in coaches to do their job is akin to focusing on only what you can control, which are your scores, and not worrying about what you can’t, which is what the coaches do.


Secondly, while parents should be involved, and certainly will be at all levels, coaches want to hear from the kids. The priority of attention I gave a letter or email (before I knew if the junior could shoot good scores or not) would go in this order:


  1. Handwritten notes from kids. (This was a guarantee I would look up the name, location, scores and everything I could about a kid)

  2. Emails from junior. (Not quite as strong an interest, but would investigate).

  3. Handwritten note from parents. (Still strong.)

  4. Email from parents. (Would read, but maybe or maybe not move forward).

  5. Texts from friends of junior or parents. (Not much stock being put in the “You gotta check out ”so-in-so”, he shot 71 from the tips at our club the other day”.)

  6. Recruitment services mass mailings. (Straight to trash. Literally.)

Also: don’t hesitate to send swing videos, those get watched and analyzed, DEFINITELY send upcoming tournament schedule so that coaches can circle dates on their calendar, and when you get to talk to a coach; ask thoughtful questions about how a coach runs his program and why they specifically do the things they do.


(SIDE BAR)

Have the attitude that you are interviewing a coach just as much as they are interviewing you, and he or she needs to prove to you that they are in charge of their program, its direction, and know how to take you to the next level or to whatever your goals are. Get examples of how a coach has taken some of their players from where you are to where you would like to go in the future.


Too many kids and parents enter these discussions with the attitude that they are lucky to be there, when in fact, the coaches need good players. If you are a good player, then the coach needs to prove to you that he can make you better. If not, then move on to the next. Too many wasted years happen when the coach was not forced to prove why he and the program would be a good fit for you and your family as you move towards your goals.

(END SIDE BAR AND POSSIBLE RANT)


Thirdly, you can’t over-communicate. The emotion of a being a badger is real, but you can’t let it get to you. Coaches need you to remind them. They have 10-15 college kids they’re in charge of (who act exactly like 18-22 year olds), they have lists of the next five recruiting classes on a whiteboard or excel sheet that they’re constantly looking at (possibly 100-150 names), and they need you to help them remember you (66’s have a great way of reminding them to look at you, to reinforce point #1).


Write letters, send emails and texts, (don’t get discouraged if they don’t respond immediately or sparingly, especially if you aren’t in the recruitment window), visit campus, have frank conversations (similar to the dating “define-the-relationship“ talks), and make sure and keep them apprised to your travel schedule. They’ll appreciate it greatly even if you aren’t the highest on their list.


I hope some of these are new thoughts and are somewhat helpful. Spend your highest energy on getting better at golf, and then follow up with the other stuff. It usually works out for the good I’ve noticed, but it definitely helps to keep raising your hand in the crowded room, so-to-speak.


Thanks guys!


-Michael




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