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’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

VANDERBILT FRESHMAN ANNIE KIM (BGGA CLASS OF 2018) WINS FIRST TEAM TITLE

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.

IJSA and Global Junior Golf Strengthen their Partnership for the Upcoming Years

IJSA and Global Junior Golf strengthen their partnership for the upcoming years. A promising future with exciting new tournaments is coming up…

International Junior Sports & Education Advisors (IJSA) and Global Junior Golf (GJG) are happy to announce an expansion of the current partnership. After Bishops Gate Golf Academy (BGGA) has joined as a GJG Performance Center in 2016, it is an absolute honor that International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA) will be listed from 2018 onwards as a GJG Performance Center. Global Junior Golf is seeking and accepting only premium academies from around the world as GJG Performance Centers, which deliver top professional training facilities and family atmosphere for juniors, so juniors can ultimately chase their golf and collegiate dreams. IJGA has a long history of building top juniors and have helped players from around the world to achieve successful college careers. It is a great honor that two of top junior golf academies in the world are now connected and will be able to share their resources and expertise to all GJG members around the world!

Furthermore, IJGA and BGGA will host two prestigious Global Junior Golf events in December 2018 which opens the gates for international players to experience WAGR ranked tournaments in the U.S. The American Global Junior Golf ‘tournament swing’ will give juniors more possibilities to play on the home soil of college coaches, which ultimately helps in any college recruiting process. IJGA and BGGA will showcase both events not far away from the academy facilities. GJG members will have the chance to visit and explore each facility, where many national teams call home during winter training. Additionally, special packages will be available for GJG members to train at the academies and will have a chance to get introduced to the full expertise of the academy staff members. Global Junior Golf is very proud to offer their members extra value over the off season with future premier junior tournaments. A big thank you to Mrs. Lee-Anne Misseldine, CEO of IJSA and her whole staff for promoting junior golf. GJG would like to take the opportunity and have a quick interview with Lee-Anne about the upcoming exciting endeavors:

GJG: Lee-Anne, once again a big thank you from the GJG family for promoting junior golf and for the exiting extended partnership. How do you feel about the new endeavors?

Lee-Anne: It has been a pleasure working with Global Junior Golf for the last couple of years. We have been so impressed by the passion and professionalism of the team and feel very aligned in our values and mission for growing junior golf. This new partnership, expanding into IJGA and bringing GJG events to the USA, was a natural progression for our already successful partnership and we are very excited for the new opportunities this will bring to our students and GJG members.

GJG: GJG members already had the chance to get to know one of your premium brands, Bishops Gate Golf Academy. Please introduce International Junior Golf Academy to the GJG family.

Lee-Anne: IJGA is a very well-established brand in junior golf, with a rich history over 20 years. At IJGA we believe in developing the whole person—the athlete, the student and the young adult. Emphasizing both intensive training and scholastic achievement through the nationally accredited Heritage Academy, IJGA has produced some of the best junior golfers playing within the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA). As a result, nearly all of our students receive college scholarships to the top collegiate golf programs in the United States. Highly sought after, the diverse student body represents 28 countries as athletes and scholars. The golf team is led by Jonathan Yarwood, a UK PGA Master Professional with over 20 year’s experience in developing some of the world’s best juniors. Set in the golf paradise of Hilton Head, IJGA is ideal for players wanting to accelerate their progress and develop their game.

GJG: The goal of the “American tournament Swing“ of Global Junior Golf is that juniors have a chance to meet each of your academies (BGGA & IJGA) and additionally play top international tournaments. Can you tell us something about the hosting golf courses and each of the tournaments?

Lee-Anne: We are so excited to be hosting two Global Junior Golf events in December of 2018, both which will be operated in partnership with the International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT). The first will be in Hilton Head, South Carolina, one of the most prestigious golf regions of the U.S., followed by an event in Central Florida, close to BGGA. At this time we are working to secure both courses, which will be highly ranked courses, providing excellent challenges and conditions. Both events will be powered by IJGA and BGGA respectively We expect to have course confirmations in early March and look forward to those exciting announcements.

GJG: Both venues are logistically easy to reach and have international airports. At BGGA you fly into Orlando, Florida and for IJGA you fly into Savannah, Georgia. Can you give some insight to which type of player would find a fit in either Academy?

Lee-Anne: Both IJGA and BGGA have unique differentiators, and I encourage all the Global Junior Golf members who plan on travelling to the U.S. in December to play both events and visit both academies. Preferences come down to location, coaching teams, school, if relevant, and other non-core offerings. As far as the core program which encompasses golf training, technology, mental and fitness training, facilities, college preparation and student life, both programs are excellent and offer a great experience to a junior or amateur player wanting to improve their game and compete in the U.S.

GJG: Can players expect that college coaches will attend the events?

Lee-Anne: IJGA and BGGA are premier junior programs, with a strong network of college coach relationships and connections. Coaches are always looking for good student-athletes for their programs and rely on our recommendations to make recruiting decisions. We will be inviting as many college coaches as possible to attend our events to give exposure to the players and showcases their abilities.

GJG: During each event, players and parents will have the chance to attend Lecturing nights about College Golf and Academy life. Can you give some advise on how players should prepare for these educational sessions? Do they need to bring any information with them? And do you have any advice on how to approach college coaches?

Lee-Anne: The college recruitment process is complex and potentially overwhelming. Some students are unable to approach a coach due to NCAA rules, which restrict communication with students under a certain grade. At each academy, we will be conducting in-depth educational sessions to outline the process and provide practical tools to help student and families create their college plan. It would be helpful to bring your golf resume updated with academic scores such as GPA, SAT and TOEFL scores.

GJG: BGGA and IJGA have produced some very successful alumni students. Who are some of your alumni, and from which part of the world do juniors attend your academies?

Lee-Anne: We have students and alumni from all over the world, who have been successful in their collegiate and professional golf careers, as well as many who went on to pursue their passion in a number of other areas. The purpose of BGGA and IJGA is to prepare our students not just for golf, but for life, and give them the tools to be their very best, not matter what their path.

IJGA alumni include Morgan Hoffmann, Shanshan Feng, Song-Hee Kim, Pablo Larrazabal, In-Kyung Kim, Stephanie Meadow to name a few. BGGA has a much shorter history, but is proud of the caliber of player at the academy, such as Julian Perico, a top ranked Peruvian player and Anna Chen, who has won 10 events across different tours.

GJG: Why have you chosen to host the“American tournament swing“ of Global Junior Golf?

Lee-Anne: GJG events are run to a very high standard and all carry WAGR rankings. The IJGT is very pleased to be in partnership with GJG to provide this same high standard of tournaments to IJGT members and academy students. These first two events are just a start and we hope to continue to grow GJG in the States.

GJG: 2018 promises to be a very exciting year. Players will able to start qualifying for the ”American Tournament swing” in Portugal and are also already able to send their application inquiries. How many spots will be max available at each tournament and what will be the qualification criteria

Lee-Anne: We anticipate a maximum of 100 players at each event. Tournament details will be released soon, providing full information on tournament events, housing options, golf course etc.

Lee-Anne, thank you for your time and we are already counting the days fort he “American tournament swing“ from Global Junior Golf, proudly powered by IJGA and BGGA. The season 2018 is on the move and players are looking forward to qualify.

The Best Events to Get Noticed by College Coaches

Stand Out from the Crowd

It is a great time to be a junior golfer with a dream of playing in the college ranks. Scholarship opportunities have increased significantly over the last decade as more schools sponsor varsity level golf teams. This is a very good thing, but the competition for those spots has become tougher too. Getting noticed by college coaches is much like a tournament, so aspiring junior golfers must use the same kind of discipline and skill that helps them do well on the course to succeed.

One of the most important factors in making an impression is playing in quality tournaments to demonstrate your abilities both on and off the field. Fortunately, the number of tournaments for juniors has grown over this time period as well. This provides many more opportunities for young golfers to find the best mix of competitions to enable them to stand out from the crowd.

IJGA Top Finishers

What Are the Best Events to Play?

Success in elite junior golf tournaments will help capture the attention of college coaches, but all tournaments matter to those evaluating your potential. Build your competitive golf resume wisely – and steadily. Choose events in which you can perform well and seek to step up your competitive level only when you are ready. It is inevitable that you will have a poor first round score somewhere and feel like you should withdraw from the tournament. Resist this urge because many college golf coaches look for juniors who try to manage their rankings this way and frown on the practice. Make the best of the situation and post the best possible score you can. Coaches will be impressed by a player who demonstrates they can handle adversity and bounce back after a bad round.

Things to Look for when Choosing Tournaments to Play

An established tour that chooses collegiate or professional tour venues for their tournaments. A well run organization will also actively pursue and coordinate having coaches attend events. They will also be good at making information about players in the field easily available.

Quality of course and difficulty. The course should be set up like a collegiate event and pin placements should be like those in a collegiate competition. Boys 15-19 division should play 6,800-7,100 yards when possible and girls 15-19 should play around 6,100.

Quality of players in the field. This is perhaps the strongest indicator of the tournament’s quality. But, more than that, high level competition will bring out your best and help you grow and improve as a golfer. Coaches will also take note when you shine amongst other bright lights. They know better than anyone else that quality of performance is more than just the number you write on your card.

Highly ranked players may also want to participate in amateur or professional qualifiers to further demonstrate their abilities to college coaches. Events of this kind would include the U.S. Amateur Qualifier, the U.S. Open Local Qualifier and state amateur championships.

Know What Coaches Will Be There

Most college coaches will spend a full month every season on the road recruiting. In this time they will usually attend 10 to 12 junior tournaments as they are the ideal platform to evaluate young talent. Keep in mind, though, that coaches are at an event to look over current prospects, not necessarily find unknown players. Just hoping to be noticed randomly probably is not the best strategy. If you are thinking in terms of college recruitment, you should already have a proper golf resume and information kit assembled. Once you have this, do your homework and decide which schools you think fit well and will have available spots on the team. From there, find out which events these coaches will attend so that you can make the most of your showcase tournament performances. If you have not already made contact with a particular coach, send your resume and an informative but to-the-point letter expressing your interest and to let them know you will be competing at the event they will be attending. A thoughtful and well done presentation and letter of introduction will impress a coach; hopefully enough for them to take an interest in you.

Know What Coaches Will Be Looking For

Experienced coaches can evaluate your golf game in ten minutes. But success in competitive golf requires more than just a sweet swing. Coaches will be looking to determine both the quality of your athleticism and the quality of your character. As a coach follows prospects around the course he or she will evaluate how they present themselves, how they deal with distractions, how they react to bad breaks and how they interact with other players. A young athlete who shows resiliency when things become difficult and shows discipline and maturity will distinguish themselves in a very positive way. With this in mind, be sure to behave in a professional manner and always be courteous to everyone you encounter. Relax, play your best game and stay steady. Most importantly, be yourself and enjoy the experience.

At IJGA, we have many years of experience helping junior golfers navigate the difficult and competitive process of college recruitment. Whether you are thinking about signing your junior up for his or her first golf tournament or your child is already active on the circuit, know that tournaments provide experience and lasting memories. You can learn more about the benefits of juniors competing in tournaments, as well as tips on how to improve junior golf training by contacting the International Junior Golf Academy today at (843) 686-1500.

You may also request more information by clicking here. »

IJGA to Professional Golf: A Road Map

Dreams do Come True

But it takes a lot of work. A lot of work. The quest to play golf at the professional level is one that requires a lifetime of commitment, dedication and sacrifice that few can muster. It is a journey that is more complicated than it seems on the surface, and some simple insights into the process can serve as a valuable road map that may help outline the best route to a successful career. For most junior golfers, the best way to that goal is a measured, thoughtful approach that enables steady growth into full potential.

Junior Golf: Academies Pave the Way

Whether your junior golfer has been playing for many years or is relatively new to the game, attending an elite golf boarding school will dramatically increase both the chance of playing college golf and the quality of schools available. For those who pass through the halls of the International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA), the dream of a professional career becomes more real, and the road somewhat easier. Nearly all of our students receive scholarships to the top collegiate golf programs in the United States.

IJGA functions much like a college program with its elite academics, world-class golf training and relentless pursuit of excellence. Emphasizing both intensive athletic training and scholastic achievement through the nationally accredited Heritage Academy, IJGA has produced some of the finest young athletes playing golf today. IJGA’s Stewart Hagestad made golf history at this year’s Masters Tournament, becoming the only Mid-Amateur champion to ever make the cut and then went on to earn the coveted Silver Cup awarded the low amateur.

Receiving the proper type and quality of instruction at the high school level is critical to future success. Our innovative coaching staff provides programs of instruction tailored to each student’s abilities and needs as opposed to a “one size fits all” style. The team guides every student down a unique path that seeks to create a finely-tuned balance of physical skill, mental acuity and upstanding character.

IJGA prepares junior golfers for all of the aspects of competitive play as well as life beyond the golf course. By the time they graduate, our student-athletes are well prepared to compete in the college and professional ranks.

College Golf: Expressway to Success

Playing golf in college serves two purposes for the ambitious athlete. First is gaining invaluable training and high level tournament experience which is much like the professional ranks without having to go it alone. Those who forego college must manage the financial and strategic requirements of improving enough to qualify for a professional tour on their own. At this stage in the learning process, the costs and logistics can be daunting. In 2017, competing on a developmental tour such as the Web.Com Tour costs at a minimum $75,000 per year and the PGA Tour about $110,000. Add to this the need to organize travel, room and board, hiring a caddy and coaches, tour memberships and tournament qualifying and registrations, and it becomes a massive undertaking for the individual. In college, the young golfer gains quality instruction, physical and mental training, thousands of hours of practice and the afore mentioned competitive experience without the same burdens.

The second positive aspect of playing golf in college is gaining a quality academic degree. This will provide great options for life beyond the golf course and often also helps with the pursuit itself. Many who take the college route earn degrees that help manage the various aspects of making the way to the pro ranks.

Simply said, the college path to professional golf delivers excellent return on investment.

Making it on Tour: Avoiding Potholes

Making the move into the professional world is a learning process just like junior and collegiate golf and it requires patience and mental toughness.

The PGA’s qualifying school, or “Q-School,” used to be a direct path to the premier level, but, since 2013, has become an entryway to the Web.com tour which is the developmental arena for the PGA Tour. IJGA’s Richy Werenski earned his way onto the PGA Tour this way. The LPGA qualifying school is more like the traditional format featuring escalating qualifying tournaments. IJGA alumna Stephanie Meadow won her LPGA Tour card via the Final Qualifying Tournament. The vast majority of golfers will require significant seasoning to be ready for this step.

Obviously the ultimate goal is playing on the PGA or LPGA Tour, but most everyone entering the pro circuit will start in more humble venues. The first professional tier features various mini-tours that host events around the country that require entry fees and offer modest prize money. At this level only the most successful players will win enough to do more than cover their expenses, so the emphasis is on gaining experience and moving up to a higher tour.

As professional golf has continued to expand over the last thirty years, more of these developmental tours have emerged to accommodate the increased demand. Today there are more than twenty professional golf tours, each run by a professional golfer’s association or an independent tour organization which is responsible for arranging events, finding sponsors, and regulating tour play. Competitive play in these venues is tough and finding the right entry-level tour as a road to the top requires some study and self-evaluation as the choice will be different for everyone. Examining past statistics and results of the various tours along with other personal intangibles will help in finding the right place to begin.

Moving into the highest ranks takes years for most players who succeed, so managing the costs of navigating the lower tier tours is an important factor to consider. As mentioned before, the expenses are considerable and it takes time to reach a point where tournament earnings eclipse costs. Taking the college route pays dividends here as opportunities to earn a living outside of tournament golf support the drive to continue playing and moving up the ladder. With some success on the course may come opportunities for sponsorships to aid in defraying expenses and some players even sell shares in their future potential in the manner of a stock offering. Navigating the byways to a successful career in golf benefits from creative thinking.

The road to the world of professional golf is unique for every ambitious individual who aspires to achieve the dream. Careful consideration of the many options available will help make it easier and more attainable. Study the road map carefully to find the right path for you.

Click Here >> to request more information about IJGA and our world-class junior golf instructional programs and college placement services. Dreams begin here.

Why the Mental Game Is Important to College Coaches

Anyone hoping to play golf at the college level needs to know that coaches have a difficult job trying to determine the best young athletes to represent their team, school and community. College golf coaches must evaluate hundreds of potential recruits every year and any edge an athlete can demonstrate is a tremendous advantage. Experienced coaches can get the measure of your golf game in ten minutes. But success in competitive golf requires more than just a sweet swing and a long drive.

Often times athletes with superior physical gifts that should make them a star in their chosen sport somehow fail to realize their full promise. Whether their day-to-day performance never lives up to expectations or they crumble when the game is on the line, something significant is missing from the player’s repertoire.

What is the missing intangible?

Mental toughness.

Elite college programs know the difference between greatness and mediocrity is not that big, but it takes players with something special to bridge the gap.

Mental toughness is the natural or learned psychological ability to cope with the many demands of competitive sport and it is the edge that sets a gifted athlete apart from less committed opponents. A mentally tough junior golfer will remain determined, focused, confident and in control under pressure. They possess a resiliency that keeps them on track when things are going well and especially so when they are not. More than this, though, this mental quality helps young athletes manage the full spectrum of challenges they face on the course, in the classroom and in their personal lives.

When coaches take a closer look at a standout athlete, they will be seeking to determine both the level of a potential recruit’s athleticism and the quality of their character. As a coach follows prospects around the course he or she will evaluate how they present themselves, how they deal with distractions, how they react to bad breaks and how they interact with other players. A young athlete who displays resiliency when things become difficult and shows discipline and maturity will distinguish themselves in a very positive way. A junior golfer who plays with mental toughness will appear head and shoulders above others who might have similar or better stats on the course but lack that intangible, that fire. Coaches want complete packages that they can help grow and who will step up when the chips are down, not someone who needs to be coddled and protected.

Some mistake solid mental toughness and an unshakeable belief in oneself as arrogance. Quite the opposite is true. An elite athlete can set aside their ego and the desire to “prove” something to other people because that is a goal that they can never truly achieve. Real mental rigor is an overwhelmingly positive attribute that enhances a player’s performance but also honors the competition, without whom they would be nothing.

College coaches want well balanced athletes who strive to achieve personal goals and understand that self-improvement is a building process, that success does not come all at once. There will always be ups and downs, but surmounting the problems and feeding off of small victories strengthens morale. This routine of positive reinforcement builds upon itself and encourages one to attempt to repeat the behaviors that provided the positive feedback, creating a self-sustaining cycle of success. We are human beings and confidence is fragile. No one is perfect and no one has everything tightly in hand all the time. Developing mental toughness simply enables the young golfer to trust their own ability and determination and know that they will ultimately prevail.

Winning coaches know that more games are lost than are won, and they value players who give everything of themselves to all of the challenges in their lives. Winning coaches prize players who fight with everything they have.

At IJGA, we have many years of experience helping junior golfers navigate the difficult and competitive process of college recruitment. Click Here >> to request more information about our world-class junior golf training or contact us by phone at (843) 686-1500.

Which Type of College is Best for Me?

How does a junior golfer make a decision on which college program is best for them? When you’re ready to start looking at college programs in earnest, it’s important to consider the university as a whole — not just a place to play golf. After all, it’s going to be home for the next four years, and that means your college should be a place where you feel comfortable and can’t wait to return to after a semester break.

There is a good fit for every competitive golfer depending on their individual development. Whether it be NAIA, NCAA or NJCAA, here are the facts about each program, how they differ and their requirements.

NAIA – National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

– The NAIA association is comprised of 259 member schools, 22 conferences and more than 60,000 student-athletes.

– NAIA is similar to the NCAA in that it is an association for four year institutions, but is divided into Division I and Division II.

– They have golf in every division and conference.

– They also have championship tournaments for golf teams.

– While the association will have fewer scholarships to go around, the requirements of getting onto a team and staying at an NAIA school are less strict.

– To be eligible for athletic scholarship funding from an NAIA school, students must have two of the following three criteria:

– A minimum ACT score of 18 (science, math, reading) and or minimum SAT score of 860

– A minimum 2.0 GPA

– OR have graduated high school in the top half of your graduating class

– There are scholarship opportunities at a Division I and Division II level, however, few NAIA schools will offer full ride scholarships to athletes.

– They are more likely to provide partial scholarships or some financial aid.

– To receive funding and to play on a team, you must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours, which is considered to be full time.

– On average, there are about five scholarships available at NAIA institutions for those athletes playing golf.

– The biggest difference between the NAIA and NCAA are the size of the schools and number of available scholarships.

Helpful Sites:

NAIA Website: http://www.naia.org

NAIA Eligibility: http://www.playnaia.org/index.php

NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I

– There are 340 (approximately 300 golf) schools in Division I which must sponsor at least seven sports for men and seven for women OR eight for women and six for men.

– Some of the largest differences between divisions is the number of sports teams they must sponsor, number of scholarships they can offer, as well as size of the schools. Different divisions do not necessarily have anything to do with being a better golfer.

– There are roughly four-five scholarships available at the Division I level for Men’s golf and six for Women’s golf.

– The academic requirements to be considered eligible by the NCAA are more difficult than other collegiate sports associations.

– The academic requirements to eligible to play and practice with your D1 team, as well as receive a scholarship include:

– must complete 16 core courses including:

– 4 years of English.

– 3 years of mathematics (Algebra I or higher).

– 2 years of natural/physical science (1 year of lab if offered by high school).

– 1 year of additional English, mathematics or natural/physical science.

– 2 years of social science.

– 4 years of additional courses (from any area above, foreign language or comparative religion/philosophy).

– A cumulative 2.3 GPA, using the NCAA required courses.

– 900 SAT (math and verbal) or a 75 ACT (math, science, reading, English).

– Once these requirements are met, you must prove that you are an amateur athlete with the NCAA. This is done by filling out a series of forms and questionnaires.

– There are three possible eligibility statuses, and the NCAA will determine where you fall:

– Qualifier: met the academic requirements, as well as amateur status, therefore you can practice, compete and receive scholarships.

– Partial qualifier: met the more basic requirements (2.0 GPA) and therefore can practice, cannot compete but can receive financial assistance.

– Non-qualifier: did not meet the NCAA academic requirements, or their other athletic requirements therefore cannot play sports with an NCAA school for at least a year.

NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association- Division II

– Division II schools tend to be smaller public universities and many private institutions. There are currently 282 schools in Division II sports.

– Athletic scholarships are offered at most institutions, but with more limits as to the numbers offered in any one sport than at the Division I level.

– Academic requirements to be deemed eligible at a Division II level:

  • – must complete these 16 core courses:

– 3 years of English

– 2 years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)

– 2 years of natural/physical science (1 year of lab if offered high school)

– 3 additional years of English, math, or natural or physical science

– 2 years of social science

– 4 years of additional core courses (from any category above, or foreign language, religion or philosophy);

  • – A 2.0 GPA or better in your NCAA core courses.

– A combined SAT score of 820 or an ACT sum score of 68.

– As with Division I, there are three statuses, the NCAA will determine where you fall:

– Qualifier: met the academic requirements, as well as amateur status therefore you can practice, compete and receive scholarships.

– Partial qualifier: met the GPA requirement OR the SAT/ACT requirement, therefore can practice, cannot compete but can receive financial assistance.

– Non-qualifier: did not meet the NCAA academic requirements, or their other athletic requirements therefore cannot play sports with an NCAA school for at least a year.

– Once these requirements are met, you must prove that you are an amateur athlete with the NCAA. This is done by filling out a series of forms and questionnaires.

NCAA National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III

– There are 449 member institutions (both full and provisional), making it the largest of the three divisions in the NCAA.

-Division III schools are considered some of the best academic schools in the country; therefore, they tend to offer generous academic scholarships to athletes.

– Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships, however, they award financial aid for tuition, books etc.

– There are no academic requirements, as long as you meet the institutions admissions requirements and have graduated high school.

Helpful Websites:

The NCAA: http://www.ncaa.com

The NCAA Eligibility Center: https://web3.ncaa.org/ecwr3/

NJCAA – The National Junior College Athletic Association

– National governing body for two-year college athletics, covering junior college and community colleges nationwide.

– There are 505 member NJCAA schools across the country.

– Divided into 24 regions and follows a Division I, II & III model.

– They have golf at every division, and in every region.

– It is a two year commitment, with the expectation of transferring to a 4 year institution.

– Much like the NCAA, Division I in the NJCAA has the ability to offer full scholarships, whereas Division II can provide financial assistance in terms of books, tuition etc. Division III does not offer any scholarship or financial assistance.

– The only requirement to be an eligible athlete with the NJCAA is that you graduate high school.

– If you choose to play for a school registered with NJCAA, you are committing to a full time school load and have the opportunity to play for two seasons.

There are several reasons why athletes choose to go to a Junior College:

– Poor high school GPA/Test scores so athlete could not reach eligibility for other four year schools.

– Started the recruiting process late.

– Athlete was a late bloomer and needs another year or two of development to open up the doors for other schools.

Helpful Sites:

NJCAA Website: https://www.njcaa.org

Eligibility Center: http://eligibilitycorner.njcaa.org

See our article on Best Small College Golf Programs.