College Bound

Jessica Schall Lake Mary High School ‘10 Ladies Varsity Golf TeamDo you have aspirations of playing golf at the collegiate level? Hard work and notable grades help, but there are several steps you must know to make the process easier. Though there is greater competition because of the game’s growing popularity with young people, scholarships are still attainable. In the NCAA alone, the total number of men’s golf scholarships available is 1,980. For women, the total number is 1,812. Golf coaches, at Division I and Division II schools alike, are always searching for talented junior golfers.

You may have heard someone say, “You just need to play in the right tournaments.” What exactly does this mean? Organizations such as the AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) allow golfers between the ages of 12 and 18 to compete at some of the highest levels.

The AJGA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn golf scholarships to college through competitive junior golf. College coaches from all over the country come to these tournaments to scout players. Seventy-four percent of NCAA Division I champions are AJGA alumni. 

There comes a time when a junior golfer does all he or she can: you’ve had professional instruction, spent seemingly endless hours at the course, kept your stats and stayed fit at the gym. It is at this point when you must turn to the art of marketing yourself. This is arguably the most important part in the college recruiting process. How can a coach know about you if you don’t make yourself known? It is advised that you send an e-mail or letter as early as your freshman year to any college of interest.

Jessica Schall Lake Mary High School ‘10 Ladies Varsity Golf TeamMake sure to address who you are, why you are interested in their school, and in which tournaments you plan on playing. Although colleges are prohibited from contact with a player until September 1st of his or her junior year, coaches will often send out questionnaires to be filled out in the meantime. The amount a player can contact a coach is unlimited. It is vital for the golfer to keep in touch not only so that a coach can plan to watch upcoming events, but so they may also get a sense of the player’s personality. When it comes to recruiting time, it is extremely important to be open and honest with coaches about your true interest, and in turn they will give you the same respect.

Typically, a junior golfer will “verbally commit” to a university before the actual signing date. This is a mutual agreement between the player and college coach agreeing that the player will attend that particular school. This is not a binding promise; however, signing day in November of an athlete’s senior year in high school will officially guarantee the student a spot on the team. Nicole Agnello, of Longwood Florida signed with the University of Virginia in the fall. “I suggest a player visit many schools prior to making a verbal commitment,” says Agnello. “Then you can really know what you do or do not like. When I came to Virginia, I knew immediately that was the school for me. It’s different for every golfer.”

Finding the right university is a process much like a marathon- not a sprint. Familiarizing yourself with the world of recruiting will help tremendously. Patience and trust that things will work out are the final -- and sometimes hardest things for a junior golfer to grasp. After a strenuous effort to become your best, things will fall into place…and your ball into the hole.



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