Expert Coaches Weigh in on the Smart Path to Playing on the Next Level
When we speak to junior golfers and their parents about the recruiting process and the path to playing college golf, they often tell us, “We don’t know what we don’t know about the process, but we’re willing to learn.”
Fortunately, we recently helped assemble an extraordinary brain trust of men’s and women’s college coaches at the first-ever CGX Top100 Camp and asked many of them what juniors can do to pursue a path that leads to the ideal fit in the college golf program where they can best thrive.
Across the board, these elite Division I coaches had sterling advice and a thoughtful range of helpful tactics for getting on their radars. Here’s a sample:
IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO NETWORK
So many junior athletes think they have to wait until June 15 after their sophomore year of high school to start building relationships with coaches, but through camps, that process – and the realistic path to college golf – can begin much sooner.
“If you’re willing to work, you can find a place to play college golf and have an amazing experience, no matter what level. You just have to be open minded about the places that you consider and what you want to study. Then, just get after it. Make sure that you’re in front of these coaches when the time comes and when you have opportunities to go to a camp like this,” Former UCLA Women’s Head Golf Coach Carrie Forsyth says. “It’s an amazing chance to get your name out, to get us knowing you. We know so many of the other college coaches, too. Even if maybe you’re not a fit for UCLA, I know a lot of coaches and maybe I can help you or guide you to a program that I think might be a great fit for you as a player.”
UNDERSTAND WHAT COACHES LOOK FOR IN A RECRUIT
It’s easy to assume college coaches chase the highest-ranked players they can get on campus and that scoring averages trump all other metrics. The coaches we spoke to, though, stressed the value of cultural fits, preserving team chemistry, and connecting with players who show growth potential.
“Anyone we’re recruiting, we have to weigh the impact of what it means to bring this guy into our program and how it affects the group dynamic,” says University of Washington Head Men’s Golf Coach Alan Murray. “We work hard to create positive energy and a can-do spirit amongst our group for my team to be able to beat the caliber of teams we face. We can’t afford to miss on the right fits in recruiting. Our recruits have to be guys who make our team better. Maybe not in Year One, but when he gets into the program and around the guys, it should be clear he’s the best fit for our ongoing success and team chemistry.”
Coach after coach at the CGX Top100 Camp advised against putting too much stock in rankings and scoring averages, while understanding that coaches value players who are good to be around, fit their personality, and will contribute to the overall team dynamic.
IN OUR NEXT FINDING YOUR FIT ARTICLE … Coach Forsyth and Stanford University Men’s Assistant Golf Coach Cole Buck Talk Candidly about ‘The Dream School Trap’ … STAY TUNED!