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College Placement Timeline

One of the daunting tasks regarding the College Placement process is the timing of everything – knowing when to do what and making sure you are on the right track.

At IJGA, we begin working with our junior golfers in 9th grade. For 20 years, IJGA has placed nearly 100% of our students on college golf teams. With over $51 million golf scholarships awarded, we want to share with you the secret to our success.

Key considerations throughout the College Placement process:

  • Make sure the tournament schedule you set is the best for you to showcase your talents! Students should plan on playing events year round to stay in the best competitive state!
  • Research, Research, Research— Too often families have preconceived notions about DI vs. DII or small school versus large school – research will help you make sure you see all options available!
  • Answer every questionnaire you receive and every correspondence you receive from coaches, even if it is from a school you are not sure you are interested in.Communication is a must and you never know what school may work best for you!
  • Keep your GPA the highest you can — it may not seem important in 9thgrade, but a strong GPA shows college coaches you can balance academics and athletics! Just think of your competition. If you were competing with another student athlete for a scholarship, you both were equally great golfers, but your GPA was higher, it may just push you to the top!

We don’t want you to miss any key dates or tasks you should be completing.

Here is a sneak peak and some key thoughts for students and parents as they work through the college placement process:

9th Grade – Freshman

  • Understanding the importance of a solid GPA.
  • Research and start to understand what College Golf is all about. IJGA has a lot of resources here.

10th Grade – Sophomore

  • Begin SAT/ACT prep and/or TOEFL prep.
  • Make sure your classes are on track and following the NCAA guidelines. Check them out here.

Related Article: Check out where the IJGA Class of 2016 started their college golf careers.

11th Grade – Junior

Take the SAT/ACT and/or TOEFL

September 1st is a big date for the junior class, Coaches can begin to email prospective student athletes.

Register for the NCAA Eligibility Center

Visit college to get a feel for what is the best fit for you

12th Grade – Senior

July 1st coach can call prospective student athletes

Take official visits (5 allowed under NCAA regulations)

Evaluate your options and make a decision

Graduate! Congratulations, you are now a college bound student athlete!

Learn more about the IJGA College Placement Process.

The College Placement process, if managed correctly, should be a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun! It is a great feeling to accomplish your goal at the end and move onto College!

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 FUN Will Get You to College and Beyond

Why Fun? Why not scores or some type of performance based assessment? Why not beating your competition to a pulp? Why not mastering technical prowess and increasing your sport specific IQ? While some may call it ludacris, a major factor in deciding whether an activity will be sustained is the enjoyment of that activity. This takes many forms within different skill levels, but is uniform across sport and performance.

The cliche saying of “if you give a person a fish” (vs.) “if you teach a person to fish” is one that compares the idea of giving someone what they want versus teaching them to be able to earn what they would like. The real skill is being able to teach someone to be self-reliant, as this creates a sense of confidence, higher self-esteem, it mitigates helplessness, and helps create a growth mindset.

Let’s take, for example, a high school golfer with average scores and a goal to improve to play college golf. If this golfer is exclusively trained with on-range drills, then the transfer of that skill into competitive settings will be more challenged and less consistent. While the technique is a key to consistency, too much understanding can create friction points. Try thinking about it like this, in professional car racing there are mechanics and drivers. The mechanics are mainly responsible for tuning and building the car while the driver is mainly responsible for testing and pushing the performance of the car to its potential. They must both operate with communication and applied testing to prime themselves for each competition. In the case of our high school golfer, too much of a focus on technique without the understanding and confidence in how to perform with what they have can create frustration and be discouraging.

In life we refer to the ability of embracing challenge and adversity as resilience; The same stands true in golf. At IJGA, while we do spend time on the range crafting the swing, we also use applied exercises to help transfer those skills into on-course and applied competitive settings. However, what we have been able to understand in our time developing golfers, more clearly than anything else, is the process of incorporating FUN into training. In training, we create opportunities to learn how to enjoy the process of being challenged, which in turn serves to develop life skills, which transfer into the future of each student we work with.

While there are a bounty of ways to develop this into training, two suggestions we have are to focus on creativity and embrace challenge. When working to transfer skills from the range to the course, we will set up challenges that allow students to rapidly apply their skill but also activate their creativity.

One example of creativity would be to set up three stations, one where you are attempting to hit a bottle off of an alignment stick 10pts for a hit, one where you have to use one club and hit a set number of different shots (we recommend 7) to a target 2pts for each successful shot, and another where the task is to hit a specific target (30-50 yards) with the least number of shots possible (subtract number of shots taken from your total points). Once you have your score, students can then take a break before going through the cycle again and see if they can improve it.

In focusing on embracing challenge, we will have students play in competitive formats and where they are unable to complete a task we will make it a bit more difficult. Take, for instance, a player who continually will leave putts short, we will have that player play a match where each time they leave a putt short they will have to pull that putt back one club length from where it stops before they can take their next stroke. This element of creating conditions in training that are tougher than in competition allows students to enjoy competition more and become more comfortable in competitive environments.

These are just a few ideas of many, feel free to reach out and share your best ideas or ask us more about our training.

-Skylar Jewell,

IJGA Mental Conditioning Coach

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.

College Prep 101

With the spring semester in full swing, reality begins to set in and the whisper of graduation and college starts to become a scream for seniors. It’s impossible to ignore the future, and not being prepared for what lies beyond high school can be alarming. Many seniors in their final semester of high school begin to have what is affectionately called ‘senioritis’. Assignments become more difficult and reality begins to set in. Choosing and committing to a college is an exhausting process that involves lots of paperwork and long conversations, and when you find one that clicks it can feel like things are looking up.
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Before a student-athlete gets to that last semester of the senior year, underclass students will set up unofficial college visit after talking with a school/coach as the next step for learning more about the university and the golf program. Once a coach has recruited a student to be a part of their team it is an important decision to verbally commit and sign a letter of a intent that balances the student’s goals and priorities.

Fortunately, being a part of IJGA gives student-athletes many advantages when it comes to finding a college that fits golf and academic goals. The College Placement Team at IJGA works around the clock to help students turn the daunting process of looking for a college into something exciting. When looking for a college, it is important to have different options and to not be discouraged. Communication is vital during this process and keeping up with your emails from prospective colleges and coaches has never been more important. Along the way there may be bumps in the road but remembering the student’s goals and being realistic about the options available within golf and academic development.

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<strong>Useful Tips:</strong>
<ul>
<li><strong>Don’t go at it alone!</strong> There are always going to be people by your side willing to help with the college process. Make yourself responsibility, but don’t feel like you have to do everything by yourself.</li>
<li><strong>Ask lots of questions.</strong> When meeting with a college coach or advisor, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you can. Find out what is important for you in a school, and make sure you don’t leave the campus wishing you would have asked more questions.</li>
<li><strong>Research colleges</strong>, as well as the location, how the campus looks and feels is important in choosing a school, but so is the surrounding community. Many colleges encourage their students to become a part of the community during your four years, so you want it to have things that are appealing to you!</li>
<li><strong>Make grades and your golf score a priority during high school.</strong> It’s easy to get distracted when a class mate is doing better, or some in not being nice to you today, take on that challenge to focus on positive character and goals, making your college resume and search appealing to college coaches. Your hard work and determination in high school will improve your college search.</li>
<li><strong>Take advantage of college prep courses, workshops, and good advice from others.</strong></li>
<li><strong>Be Organized</strong>. Keep your schedule, and work environment organized. This will reflect how you plan your approach to the game of golf as well as you college search. If you start early, it will become second nature and you will be grateful that you are organized and not frantic. During the college process you will receive lots of information and important paperwork, and it is important to know how to work through the application process just as much as it is for course management and reading greens.</li>
<li><strong>Be Challenged. </strong>As your advisors and guidance counselors are here to assist you, as well as deadlines. Challenge yourself to give these tasks priority as much as you would to your new swing and that big project due for class.</li>
</ul>