10 steps to college golf

These steps are designed for the junior golfer who wishes to pursue a playing career at the collegiate level. Please refer to the following tips and resources as a guide for college preparation.

1. GPA and Tests Scores

A great academic record will be more important to your recruitment than any golf tournament finish or national golf ranking. A college coach will be reluctant to recruit any player who may have issues regarding eligibility or acceptance into the university. A high GPA will help you stand out from your peers, so put as much, if not more, effort into your grades than your golf game.  Below you will find links to important standardized tests that all college-bound students will take. Start taking these tests sophomore year, so come recruitment time you will have tests scores to include in your resume.

2. Competing in Nationally Ranked Tournaments

By competing in high level national tournaments, you are giving yourself the best chance for exposure, while competing against some of the best competition in the country. The USGA, AJGA, and other national golf associations offer some of the highest level junior golf tournaments in the country. Although these events can be expensive, they usually boast some of the best fields in the country, and college coaches often attend these events. Select a tournament schedule that both fits your budget, while also giving you the best opportunity to be recruited. For tournament details and schedules, follow the links below.

3. National Rankings

Coaches now more than ever rely on outside resources to recruit players. With hundreds of tournaments and thousands of great players competing, coaches rely on sites such as Golfweek, Golfstat, and the Junior Golf Scoreboard to get up to the minute rankings and stats. To view information on how rankings work, and how points are distributed, follow the links below.

4. Register With The NCAA Eligibility Center

After your Junior Year, all Division One and Two athletic recruits must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. The NCAA eligibility center will review the player's grades, standardized test scores, and amateur status to confirm eligibility to play collegiately. The NCAA recommends students register with the eligibility center at the beginning of their Junior Year.

5. Contact Coaches

Before your sophomore year, compose a list of schools that you would be interested in attending (at least 15). In this list include schools of different sizes, locations, difficulty of acceptance, golf program success and ability level. Create an introductory letter and a golf resume to distribute to coaches. Coaches will be unable to officially begin the recruiting process until the summer before your junior year, but it is never too early to reach out and make a connection with a coach on your own time. Refer to the following tips when reaching out to college coaches.

  • Contact coaches through email, phone calls, or letters explaining your interest in their program.  Ask the coach to follow your progress, and periodically reach out to the coach to mention your progress or if you have any outstanding finishes.
  • Letter of introduction: Introduce yourself; explain why you are interested in attending their school.
  • Golf Resume: Include tournament results, grades, and goals in school. 
  • Short Video: Upload a short video (5 minutes), include shots with driver, long irons, and wedges.
  • Thank you letter: Thank the coach for taking time to review your game, tell them you will follow up later in your high school career.

6. Campus Visits

There are two types of college visits a player can take during the recruiting process, an official and unofficial visit.

Official Visit

  • College pays for the majority of the expenses (transportation, rooms and meals, and reasonable entertainment).
  • Player is limited to five (5) official visits, with a maximum of one (1) per school.
  • First Opportunity for a player to take an official visit is after the first day of classes of the players senior year of high school.
  • College must receive the following documents before an official visit:
    • Valid Standardized tests scores (PSAT, SAT, ACT)
    • High School Transcript
    • Verification that the player registered with the NCAA eligibility center 
  • An Official Visit cannot exceed 48 hours; the 48 hour window begins when the player arrives on campus.

Unofficial Visit

  • The player is responsible for all expenses incurred during the visit
  • A player may take an unlimited number of unofficial visits
  • Unofficial visits may take place at any time (except during a dead period: verify with university when this occurs)
  • No documentation is required before taking an unofficial visit.
  • There is no time limit for an unofficial visit.

College visits may be the most important step in your college selection. Visits give you a chance to see the campus, the students, and meet with the coaches and players. A coach will want to meet you, show you around, and see if your personality will mesh with the team. Don't be afraid to ask questions, show excitement, and look at all the benefits the university offers. This is where you will be spending the majority of your life for the next four years, so really take your time and do your research when taking college visits.

7. National Letter of Intent

Once you have selected a college to attend, it is recommended, but not required, that you sign a National Letter of Intent. This letter is a one year binding agreement between you and the university stating that you will be attending that particular school, and that the university will provide you with athletic financial aid for at least one year. Once a NLI is signed, all other recruitment from schools will stop. National Letters of Intent are usually signed at the D1 or D2 level, but may also be signed at the D3 level as well. For information on the National Letter of Intent, please reference the following link.

Note: If a player does not fulfill their National Letter of Intent, they will be required to fulfill their next National Letter of Intent, and the player will lose one year of athletic eligibility in all sports.

8. Financial Aid

College can be very expensive, especially if you attend an out-of-state school. Coaches will have a limited number of scholarships they can distribute to their team.  Don't assume or rely on athletic scholarship money to pay your way through school. Apply to any and all outside scholarship opportunities, grants, and if necessary, loans. Meet with the institutions' financial aid officers for additional information regarding scholarships, grants, and loans. All players will be required to complete a FASFA form prior to receiving any government funded financial aid. Please refer to the following links for additional financial aid information.

9. Additional Resources

Below you will find popular outside resources to help ease the college preparation process.

10. Keeping Your Eligibility

As a junior player, there will be countless opportunities for you to lose your NCAA eligibility and Amateur Status as a golfer. "Professional Golfers", anyone who competes with the purpose to accept prize money, are not NCAA eligible. As a general rule of thumb, a junior player should not accept a cash prize at any event, and all gift certificates earned must remain under $750.00. Also, tournament entry fees and travel/lodging expenses should not be paid by anyone other than the player's family or themselves. Please refer to the following links for eligibility and Amateur Status information.


Source: FSGA