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

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.

Tips for Teens on Balancing School, Sport and Life

When it comes to balancing school and life, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Add playing golf or any sport on a regular basis to the mix, and things get even more complicated. Balancing all of these takes practice, commitment and hard work. With the confidence of the people you surround yourself with, as well as confidence in yourself, you may find that succeeding in all of these categories isn’t as tough as it sounds.

I think everyone can agree when I say that school is tough. Not only is it the numerous tests on a regular basis or the nightly three hours of homework, but social interactions and expectations can also cause stress. For most students – school work and homework is tedious and overwhelming. The most important thing to remember is to take one thing at a time. Instead of focusing on each assignment you have due for every single class, pick one subject and one assignment and dedicate your next 30 minutes of focus to completing it. Even reward yourself after every assignment completed with a 5-minute break or some old Halloween candy (we won’t judge). After taking one assignment at a time, fully completing it and moving on to the next thing – school work can seem less daunting and feel like something you have power over versus the other way around. Pro Tip: do your weekend homework on Friday nights. It may not be the most fun evening you will ever have, but you will feel so much better when you wake up on Saturday morning knowing you don’t have any work to do over the weekend. Best.Feeling.Ever.

Golf, like school, is tedious and takes lots of concentration. After a long day, it may seem impossible to go and play18 holes and shoot multiple birdies, but it is very possible. This is where time management skills come in handy. When you are playing golf, it is important to have a clear mind and not be thinking about much else other than what you are doing right in that moment. Thinking about an upcoming test or project can only stress you and make your head be elsewhere, when it needs to be on the course. I’m sure many of the professionals will tell you that when they are about to shoot, they don’t think about much other than the next 10 seconds. Because in that moment, that’s what matters. If you manage your time successfully, then balancing schoolwork and golf will seem less challenging and more rewarding.

Social interactions are incredibly important in this life, and finding the time and energy to do so is not easy. Being social and unwinding does not mean having to sacrifice your grades or your golf game. In fact, they can go hand-in-hand. Being social in school is important. Those people can be the ones to lift you up, and you can do the same for them. If you and a friend are struggling in one certain subject, studying together and encouraging each other can be what it takes to bring those grades up. Same goes with golf. If you notice a friend who may not be shooting their best, perhaps find ways to compliment them on the things they are doing right, and offer friendly insight and suggestions for things that could use a little work. Outside of school and golf, it is important to remember to relax and enjoy the place you are in. Relaxing and recovering your body is just as important as hard work. Time for some Netflix!

Contrary to popular belief, you can succeed in all of these categories, without letting anything fall to the wayside. Pushing yourself and knowing your limits is important, and it is never a bad thing to ask for help. Organization is essential to balancing everything in your life, so don’t be afraid to buy a planner (and actually use it!). Write down all of your assignments so you don’t miss anything and set personal goals constantly. Most of all, don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things. If you live a healthy, balanced life, the rewards will be amazing. Guaranteed!