Meeting at CGX Camp Makes High School Golfer’s Ivy Dreams a Reality

There wasn’t one “aha” moment for Dartmouth women’s golf coach Alex Kirk, but rather a series of encounters and observations that all led to the same conclusion – that Caroline Chung would be a great fit for his Division I college golf team.

Kirk loved how Chung handled herself when they first met in early 2022 at a College Golf Experience camp in Carlsbad, California, and the relationship grew. Connections like this shine a light on the unique opportunities found at CGX camps and how coaches and players engage in an atmosphere that simply does not exist elsewhere. The quality time spent on the course with coaches and in seminar sessions with parents and attendance lets players and coaches get to know each other in practical and meaningful ways. Seeing how each other works, communicates, and conducts themselves on and off the course can put both parties in a comfort zone to make all-important recruiting decisions.

“Remembering Caroline’s personality that she exhibited at the CGX Camp, more than anything, really resonated with me,” Kirk said. “Watching her hit shots. She’s talented, had good poise, was coachable out on the golf course. Then it drew me to go look at her body of work.

“CGX camps are great because they always knock barriers down. At tournaments, players are on pins and needles. Here they find out that the coaches are just people.”

[Registration is open for the next Ivy Golf Institute Camp – click here]

While Kirk was doing his research on Chung – an 18-year-old from Yorba Linda, California, who is affectionately known as CC to her teammates – she was doing research of her own on Kirk and Dartmouth.

“The biggest takeaway [from camp] was how I got to see the various coaching styles,” Chung said. “Everyone brings their own unique attitude. It was huge. Going into the camp I was considering Ivy Leagues but didn’t have a clear picture. The picture became clearer that week.”

Another thing that was crystal clear to Chung, which she noted in one of her first meetings with Kirk, was that he promised never to make his team wake up early for a workout. It may seem like a small thing, but to young adults trying to find their way on a college campus, while adjusting to life as a student-athlete, it’s a huge thing.

“Sleep is more important,” Kirk said. “I know they’re up studying late. I’d rather them be rested.”

Kirk and Chung remained in touch after that initial camp meeting, but Chung had already made up her mind.

“I knew immediately,” she said. “I was driving home with my dad and said, ‘I really want to go to Dartmouth, that’s my top choice.’ Three months later I visited the campus and I spontaneously showed up. We had a great day looking around, coach showed me the golf facilities and that was it.”

Well, not quite.

When Kirk first saw Chung the morning of her campus visit, he noticed that she was wearing a red sweater, the exact shade as the colors of fellow Ivy League foe Harvard. Kirk made mention of it. When he saw Chung later in the afternoon, her attire had changed.

“She literally went straight to the bookstore,” he said, “and the next time I saw her she was wearing a Dartmouth sweatshirt.”

The decision for Chung has worked out wonderfully. Sure, she was nervous to leave California to attend college in a remote area of New Hampshire, but she has thrived outside her comfort zone. The Big Green played in three events last fall and Chung qualified for all three, twice finishing inside the top 10 individually.

The magic of CGX Camps connecting players and coaches is making a big impact on the landscape of college golf recruiting. “Players and parents want to get in front of and access college coaches,” says CGX Founder and CEO Joshua Jacobs. “They want to learn about college golf and the recruiting process. Parents want to be able to provide opportunities for their kids to fulfill their dreams. That’s what these camps do. We are the connective tissue between junior golf and college golf. It’s our mission to be the leading source of college golf information on the recruiting process and everything from how to communicate with a coach, when to communicate to a coach and how to figure out where you fit.”

Entering college has been a relatively smooth transition for Chung. “You don’t know how people are going to react,” Kirk said. “But Caroline has hit the ground running. She’s really put the effort in and has been a dream.”

Said Chung: “I was really stressed out at first. What if I don’t click with the team? What if they don’t like me? Once I relaxed a little, all my fears were for nothing. People are generally very nice and sweet. I was overthinking the season. I’ve had the most magical experience.”

Jacobs reminds us that Chung’s success story is one of many CGX will share as more and more players find their fit and enroll in college to embark on their realized dreams of playing collegiate golf. “What gets a high school golfer a spot on the team is who they are as a golfer and a person, both on and off the golf course. And that’s what the coaches are looking for. Until CGX came along, there wasn’t an opportunity on a widespread level to bring together players, parents, and college coaches in a camp setting where relationships can be built and knowledge can be bestowed about college golf and the pathway to get there. But now? Buckle up!”

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