College Coaches Speak: Balancing Tournaments and Camps is the New Ideal Way to Prep Juniors for College Golf
For years, there was a blueprint for the most effective way for college coaches to recruit players to their respective universities: Identify a player, find that player’s tournament schedule, go watch that player compete. While the process is not quite that simple, the point is, that junior golf tournaments and the most prestigious events around the country historically have been where you would find the top college coaches in the country searching for players to fill their rosters.
While that still is the case, college coaches now attend specialized college camps, where talented juniors can showcase their abilities via simulated practice and tournament rounds with coaches on hand to provide real-time feedback. There is also time to visit one-on-one with coaches and sit down and have a meal with them and the player’s family.
College Golf Experience (CGX) is dedicated to connecting college coaches and juniors aspiring to play college golf through these unique events. In the last two years, the CGX team has run nearly 100 camps across the country and CGX is scheduled to run more than 100 in 2024.
“College coaches can be intimidating to junior golfers and parents and add pressure to junior golfers when they scout at junior tournaments,” CGX CEO Joshua Jacobs said. “Engaging with and playing in front of college coaches at camps helps junior golfers get comfortable talking to them on the phone, during recruiting visits, and seeing them at tournaments.”
While the process is valuable for the junior golfer, coaches also reap benefits and enjoy spending time with players in an environment that has not typically been traditional.
“I would advise every young player’s parent to send their kid to at least one camp per summer and then they can also play in a couple of golf tournaments per month,” said University of Washington Men’s Head Coach Alan Murray. “At camps, we as coaches get to see and talk to the players, which is huge for us. I can get to know players and how their brains work. We can understand their personalities and their strengths and weaknesses more than we ever could in tournament conditions alone. The get to ask any questions they like at a camp and take advantage of the collective wisdom of the top-level coaches who attend these camps.”
Said Princeton Women’s Head Coach Erika DeSanty: “The opportunity to learn from the best coaches out there? You can’t put a price tag on it. That’s an amazing experience and that may only happen in that setting. What they learn could change the way they navigate course management or their practice habits moving forward. From a parent’s perspective, from a player’s perspective, they get an unbelievable opportunity to learn from the best in the business and really have interactions that are meaningful.”
The camps are designed for everyone – from the top players in the country to those just beginning to explore the process. Boys and girls ages 12-18 of all abilities aspiring to play in college are urged to register.
“We’re listening to what players and parents want and need,” Jacobs said. “Players and parents want to get in front of and access college coaches. 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. That’s what we provide.”