BGGA Student-Athlete Xavier Marcoux Verbally Commits to Rutgers University

It is no wonder that Rutgers University made the enormously talented rising senior such a high priority in their recruiting efforts, where BGGA’s Marcoux verbally committed as a junior.

“Xavier sets no limits on himself, and balances the demands of school and sport with ease,” said Nick Duffy, BGGA Senior Golf Coach.

Outside of class and golf, Xavier has been commended for his outstanding service work, particularly with the Alzheimer’s USA Association, for which he raised over a thousand dollars during his junior year. Xavier received High Honor Roll awards at Montverde Academy and was recognized as BGGA Student of Year in 2017 for his help and support of others, for demonstrating the highest of personal integrity, moral and ethical character and for being a strong leader.

Positively impacting lives through service to the community is one of BGGA’s key values. It happens every day as BGGA student-athletes like Xavier are serving and mentoring while they are learning and training.

Get to Know Xavier Marcoux

What or who drives you to do your best at golf and in life?

I’m driven by a dream I’ve had ever since I started playing golf. I’ve always dreamed of being on the PGA tour and being one of the best golfers in the world. This drives me every day because I always have something to drive toward, and it has given me a sense of motivation ever since I was a kid.

What went into your choice to attend Rutgers?

A lot of factors went into my choice to attend Rutgers.  I wanted to play Division I golf at a power 5 school where I could compete at the highest level, and Rutgers gives me that opportunity. Education is one of the most important things to my family and Rutgers is a very good academic school. Also my chemistry with the coaches and the team was amazing which helps a lot.

What excites you most about playing college golf?

I’m excited to play at a higher level than I am now and to play and compete against some of the best amateurs in the world. I feel like that is the next step in my development. Being able to compete with the guys in college will help me get better as a golfer.

Dream job or dream degree post-college?

My dream job would be to play on the PGA tour and compete against the best golfers in the world for a living. That would be the best job ever.

Tell us about raising $1,215 for Alzheimer’s USA Association.

It was an honor for me to be able to raise money for this organization as my family has been affected greatly by the disease. Both of my grandmothers have Alzheimer’s so to be able to raise money for the cause was a great honor for me.

How has BGGA impacted your game?

BGGA is the reason I’m where I am today. It gave me the opportunity to play year round and get the best coaching available which, along with my work ethic and the facilities we have access to, is what brought me to the Division 1 level of golf.

What have you enjoyed about your BGGA experience?

What I have enjoyed most about my BGGA experience is meeting people from different countries and getting to understand the different cultures where they come from. It has definitely been a cool experience getting to know and live with people from all over the world.

What might be your best memory about attending BGGA?

My best memories from BGGA are going on road trips to away tournaments, especially this past year going to Atlanta two weekends in a row was very fun.

Which tournament would you most like to win?

I would most like to win The Masters.

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for your parents?

I’m bringing my father to the U.S. open this year for his 50thbirthday and I’ve surprised my mom a few times on her birthday on Mother’s Day

What’s the nicest thing they’ve done for you?

The nicest thing they’ve gone for me is give me the chance to go to BGGA, live away from home and get better at golf while they had to sacrifice a lot for it.

You will go far Xavier Marcoux! Go Scarlet Knights!

BGGA is the Dominant Force in Junior Golf

Bishops Gate Golf Academy (BGGA) has supplanted itself as the dominant force in junior golf after the success during the 2017-18 academic year. The Academy had 75 students from 22 countries representing the Academy across several junior golf tours.

The total wins for BGGA this past year is a record for the Academy at 50. There was a total of 109 top-3 finishes and 213 top-10 finishes.

There’s one win that stands out among them all and that came from Peruvian junior golf standout Julian Perico when he won the AJGA Simplify Boys Championship, an invitation only event. That wasn’t Perico’s only highlight this year as he also finished second in Sir Nick Faldo’s Major Champions Invitational and finished T7 at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. BGGA Male Player of the Year Perico also signed to play college golf with the University of Arkansas where he’ll start in the fall.

BGGA’s Female Player of the Year Siyan Chen won three times this year and had six top 10 finishes. Chen also verbally committed to the University of Illinois and will sign her national letter of intent with the school next November.

In the fall, BGGA swept the Faldo Series U.S. Grand Final. Winning their respective age divisions were Teddy Tetak, Annie Kim, Egor Zotov and Ying-Ting Hsieh. Each player earned an invite to play in the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final and BGGA was represented by Kim, Zotov, Hsieh, Niels Schmidlin and Cynthia Tu. Kim wound up finished second in the Girls 18 and Up Division.

Several other students had dominating performances. Dongjin Park had three wins on the IJGT in the spring along with four other top-10 finishes this year. Park also set the BGGA tournament record after shooting an 11-under 61. Nic Pevny won three times on the IJGT this spring in the Boys 14 and Under Division and record another top-10 finish.

Around the new year, BGGA has two students win prestigious junior events. Petr Hruby won the 2017 Doral Publix Junior Golf Classic. Hruby also had another top-3 finish and he verbally committed to play for the University of Washington in 2019. Thomas Pfoestl won the Optimist Tournament of Champions and had three top-10 finishes.

Jeffrey Wu won the CJGA World Challenge at Innisbrook Resort in December.

Dongjin Park and Ying Ting Hsieh won the boys and girls divisions respectively at the AJGA Judy Oppenheimer in Okatie, South Carolina in June.

BGGA students were successful off the course as well as two students received AJGA honors. Tracy Lee was named to the 2017 AJGA Scholastic All-America Team, and Perico was named to the 2017 AJGA Junior All-America Honorable Mention Team.

With the combination of great tournament results and top academics, BGGA had a great senior class commit to go on and play college golf at colleges like Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, South Carolina, etc.

BGGA’s Jack Hughes Commits to University of Colorado

BGGA’s Jack Hughes has committed to play on the men’s college golf team at University of Colorado.

Jack’s dream was to play for CU. He decided to come to BGGA for his junior year of high school after he become serious about taking his game to the next level. He knew he needed to be pushed and the weather in Florida would allow him to train and play golf year-round. Jack will finish up his senior year home in Colorado.

“Jack is motivated, hungry and passionate to learn, yet what sets him apart from his peers is his work ethic and desire to improve day in and day out,” said BGGA Senior Coach Zach Parker.

Jack had a great year during his junior year at BGGA. He achieved his lowest two-day tournament score ever, while maintaining a 4.1 GPA. His increase in self-awareness and ability to be his own best coach was a highlight of his year. He scored a 67/71 at Faldo Series Falcon Fire, placed 3rd at the IJGT Orange Lake and competed with excellence at the Scott Robertson Qualifier.

Jack embraced his role as a BGGA Junior Ambassador. He was a huge help around campus and showed signs of being a true role model. Jack defined excellence in many ways at BGGA.

We wish Jack best of luck at University of Colorado. Go Buffaloes!

What College Golf Coaches Look For In Recruits

The college recruiting process is a daunting task for most junior golfers, so it’s important to head into it knowing what coaches are looking for so you know your priorities when it comes to being a desirable recruit. Although every coach has their own wants and needs, here is a general list of what most coaches are looking for in a player.

A player who can help their team

Every coach wants to make their team better so they are not trying to recruit players who will fit into the fourth or fifth spot on their roster. They are looking at players who can make their top three, possibly not right away but in the near future. In our experience players and parents often look at the worst player on the team as an indicator as to whether they can make the line-up, which is not a good strategy.

A student who can pass admissions and help the team GPA

Academics. Academics. Academics! There is a misconception that coaches can push players through admissions because they want them to play for their team. Unfortunately, this is not the reality in most cases. It is important that a player passes admissions on their own merit by having the test scores and GPA required by the school.

A coach may look at a player who may not be in their top 3, but is a solid student who will help their team GPA and has a chance to play in the future.

Get ready to hit the books!

A good teammate

It’s not all about academics and golf scores. A coach wants a player of the upmost character who will fit in with the players on the team. Often coaches will have prospects meet or even stay with their team during visits as a way of seeing how they might interact in the future. Team chemistry and culture is extremely important!

An coachable athlete

When a coach commits to a player for four years they certainly want one who is coachable. It’s too long of a period to be with someone who isn’t open to feedback and who does not have a growth mindset.

Be persistent in reaching out to coaches. Don’t send one e-mail and then give up. Coaches are inundated with so many e-mails, it’s difficult to keep track of them all and often the coach is out of the office at a tournament (these guys work hard).  Keep following up to land on the coach’s radar screen.

What Ideas Have You Been Acting On?

Inspiration is defined as: something that makes someone want to do something, or that gives someone an idea of what to do or create; it’s a force or influence that inspires.

So, what ideas have you been generating lately? What are some of the major forces and influences in your life? Better question: what ideas have you been acting on?

We hope these BGGA student-athlete inspirational quotes ignite your creativity, passion and desires for the best in your life, and that you have the courage to act on them.

  • “No matter how good you get you can always get better, and that’s the exciting part.” – Teagan Devoe
  • “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” – Sophia Tejeda
  • “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” – Brandon Azzi
  • “Focus on the process, not the result.” – Eloy Vigil
  • “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Alex Liu
  • “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” – Neils Schmidlin
  • “Nothing is given. Everything is earned.” – Matt Hicks
  • “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” – Ricky Xiong
  • “A dream doesn’t become reality without determination or hard work.” – Alex Werner
  • “Consistency is what turns average into excellence.” – Marc DeJulio
  • “Concentration comes out of a combination of confidence and hunger.” – Zach Charapp

Bishops Gate Golf Academy Announces New Director of Golf

Bishops Gate Golf Academy (BGGA) announces a new Director of Golf Coaching and Instruction in Kevin Craggs, renowned PGA Advanced Fellow Professional.

After playing on the European tour for a number of years, Kevin transitioned into coaching and for many years was the coach to the Scottish National team. He built his career on successfully improving the games of golfers at all levels from Junior Golfers, Club Golfers all the way through to Tour Players on both the U.S. and European tours. Over the last 10 years his teaching philosophies have regularly been featured in two of the country’s top selling golf magazines and featured 12 times on front covers.

“This is an exciting opportunity to lead student-athletes at the most prestigious junior golf and academic institution in the world,” Craggs said. “I am sincerely thankful to the leadership at BGGA, and look forward to bringing my experiences to assisting these young women and men in achieving their goals.”

Craggs will take the reins of the program that is dominant in the U.S., with 56 wins last season, more than its east coast competitors combined. Craggs replaces Kevin Smeltz, who remains as a BGGA Advisory Board Member.

“Craggs has a very significant career, and his experience in the highest levels of golf training and his affinity with the players is second to none. We are delighted Kevin is joining us,” said Andrew Summers, BGGA CEO and Founder.  “It’s incredibly rewarding to see BGGA’s success this past season, a testament to our investment in our facilities and people, which is the foundation for students to develop their golf at BGGA. With Craggs joining the team, we expect our student’s development to continue to excel in the years to come.”

Kevin Craggs testimonials from players and the media:

European Tour Players

“His knowledge and enthusiasm for the game installs invaluable confidence in a pupil. In my mind he is an outstanding coach with a fantastic appetite to improve player’s skills”
Sandy Lyle (Former US Masters & British Open Winner)

“I’ve worked with Kevin for years and must admit that he’s the most enthusiastic and positive coach I’ve ever had, he is terrific, great Coach with a vast knowledge”
Colin Montgomerie (European Tour Player & Ryder Cup Captain)

“One of the most Natural and talented Coaches I have ever seen”
Severiano Ballesteros(All Time Golf Legend)

“Having worked with some of the best coaches in the world Kevin is certainly among those talented few who have the ability to tailor specific swing mechanics to suit the pupil”
Phillip Parkin (Sky Sports Commentator & Former European tour Player)

“Great coach with a real passion to improve a player’s game”
Stephen Gallacher (European Tour Winner & Ryder Cup Player)

“Top guy who gave me some great foundations to build my game and career on
Nicolas Colsaerts (European Tour Winner & Ryder Cup Player) 

LPGA & LET Tour Players

“Kevin has been a very positive influence on my golf both mentally and physically. He has a great positive attitude and we have done a lot of good work together on my swing to the point that I feel that I am playing the best golf of my life”
Catriona Matthew(LPGA Tour Player & Ladies British Open Winner 2009)

“Kevin not only saved my Game he rescued my career. His knowledge and ability to coach in a simple way is without doubt world class, he is a major influence to me on and off the course
Mel Reid (LPGA Tour Player)

“I have worked with Kevin for many years, he understands all aspects of the game and has an amazing talent to educate and motivate players to get the very best from their ability”
Kylie Walker(Ladies European Tour Player)

“Kevin is by far the most enthusiastic and able coach with whom I have ever worked with, his knowledge of the golf swing is superb making learning and understanding easy. There is no doubt that I would have not achieved the same success in my career without his support.
Lynn Kenny (Ladies European Tour Player)

“When I’m just near him it makes me want to be better. I’ve never had this much fun playing golf’
Paula Creamer (LPGA Tour Player & Major Winner)

“Kevin is an amazing coach and mentor who can bring the very best out of me and my game”
Tiffany Chan (LPGA Tour Player)

Media Publications

“Kevin’s clear and consistent teaching style earned him a place on Golf Monthly’s list of top 25 UK coaches. Since then he has regularly provided the magazine with imaginative and effective instruction, making him a valued member of our top team of teaching professionals. For every swing fault he has a range of different cures that he explains with precision and clarity”. – Golf Monthly Magazine

“Kevin has the very rare ability to explain the nuances of the golf swing in simple, understandable terms.  He is extremely inspirational and makes you wantto improve.” – Bunkered Magazine

“Kevin combines the vast knowledge of one of the world’s leading coaches with simplicity – an unbeatable mix for the eager to learn.”  “Kevin does the impossible – he makes golf simple.” –  Daily Record Newspaper

BGGA’s Julian Perico Ranks Fourth in Men’s College Golf Rankings by Golfweek

Bishops Gate Golf Academy (BGGA) alumni Julian Perico continues his climb since recently graduating from BGGA. Golfweek named Perico #4 in the Preseason Top 10 Freshman in Men’s college golf. Perico is a freshman on the Arkansas Razorbacks team.

At the recent Gopher Invitational, Arkansas Razorbacks climbed to finish 4th led by Perico. Perico, who was in second in the clubhouse after his final round was completed, shot a 4-under-par 67 in the final round to post a total of 209 finish in fourth – an improvement of five places after two rounds Sunday.

“Julian has been great for us at both events but this week he showed why he’s one of the best incoming freshmen in the country,” said Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin. “He is proving he can compete at the highest level.”

Perico tied for the second-best round, shooting a 4-under 67, to finish fourth (68-74-67=209). Although he led the field with 28 pars over the first two rounds, Perico was strong in the birdie department Monday, carding seven, to make his move. He finished with 37 pars, the third-best total. The rookie has shot par of better six times in nine rounds with three rounds in the 60’s (67, 68 and 67).

Awesome job Julian!

Your College Roadmap

We know college is important to you, which is why it is important to us too. BGGA College Planning & Placement has decades of experience finding the right college for students.

BGGA College Planning & Placement works with all Academy students to create an individualized roadmap to reach their goal of studying and playing golf at the collegiate level. This is accomplished through college planning, athletic recruiting, SAT/ACT/TOEFL registration, academic support and NCAA compliance education.

Preparation needs to start early and there is a process to follow. Every student is unique in terms of his or her strengths and weaknesses and to what degree they have engaged in the recruiting process to date. For the purposes of this post however, we are sharing the “optimal” college placement timeline. Some top players are recruited prior to entering high school, but for most, you become a “Prospective Student-Athlete” (PSA) in your freshman year of high school, which is where our timeline begins.

Learn more about BGGA’s College Planning & Placement and see a signing day list of where BGGA students have gone on to play college golf.

Freshman Year of High School

  • Create a resume and establish a ranking in junior golf in the U.S. by playing in multi-day tournaments. This is how you start to build your profile.
  • Understand how the various rankings work (Junior Golf Scoreboard, Golfweek, AJGA, etc.) as this will factor in your tournament schedule.
  • Begin your research on colleges and admissions requirements.
  • Understand what it takes to play on the teams you are targeting, and be aware that coaches are typically looking for their top-3 players.
  • Keep up academically by taking the core courses required by the NCAA.
  • Maintain a high GPA and figure out a plan for the next three years in regard to academics.
  • Build good study and practice habits.

Sophomore Year of High School

  • Continue to make academics a priority and maintain your GPA.
  • Participate in school activities.
  • Keep building your list of potential colleges.
  • Play consistently in tournaments and at the highest level possible to improve rankings.
  • Update your golf and academic resumes.
  • Register with the NCAA eligibility center.
  • Start contacting coaches when appropriate. Although they cannot respond at this time, they can send you an introductory e-mail with a questionnaire, which should be completed and submitted within one week.
  • Call coaches as they are permitted to speak with you if they answer when you call. Keep in mind that they are not allowed to call you back if they don’t answer, so keep trying to reach them.
  • Take preparatory/practice tests for SAT and ACT.
  • Although unofficial visits where you meet with the coach on campus are no longer permitted until your junior year, visit some campuses with your family to get a feel for your likes and dislikes.

Junior Year of High School

  • Refine your college list by looking at team rosters to note how many players are leaving the year you enter and note their scoring averages.
  • Continue to update your golf and academic resumes and send them to coaches.
  • Try to arrange to speak to coaches on the phone so you get to know them and build a relationship.
  • Take standardized test prep courses and register to take the SAT and ACT in the fall of your junior year.
  • Take the TOEFL if required.
  • Start making unofficial and/or official visits to colleges as official visits are now permitted in your junior year.

Senior Year of High School

  • If you haven’t taken the SAT or ACT this should be a priority. You can retake them if you need to improve your score.
  • Have your transcripts sent to the NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • Upload your test scores to the NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • Complete the amateurism certification process.
  • Continue to compete in tournaments.
  • Try to narrow your list of potential colleges down to those that are a “best-fit” for you.
  • Continue to make unofficial visits or official visits if asked by the coach.
  • Evaluate offers and decide on the best option for you!
  • Sign a “National Letter of Intent” (NLI) if in NCAA D1 or D2 (signing period begins in mid-November of your senior year).


Annie Kim T-15 in her first collegiate tournament.

Bishops Gate Golf Academy (BGGA) Alumni Annie Kim teed it up for the first time for Vanderbilt and went on to win the team title. The women’s golf team won the rain-shortened Mason Rudolph Championship at the Vanderbilt Legends Club, with the Commodores having a 12-shot margin over Arizona State with a 17-under par total of 599 (278-281).

Annie’s 143 (71-72) led her to T-15 in her first collegiate tournament.

Kim credits the BGGA coaching team and facility as giving her a great opportunity to improve her game and commented that, “No one can deny that Bishops Gate has the best golf training facility in Florida.”

Student-athletes at BGGA have to learn how to handle the rigors of academics and athletics while living away from home. It’s a skill that helped her transition to college.

“College coaches tell you that you have to change your lifestyle and adapt to being a young adult,” said Kim. “When you move to college you have to have time management, but at BGGA you already do things yourself, so I already had those skills to carry to college.”

The team win is the first for the Commodores at the Mason Rudolph Championship since the 2014 edition of the event and the third time Vanderbilt has won their home tournament (other win came in 2002). Vanderbilt returns to the course October 12-14 at the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill, NC.