You may or may not have notice that I used the word “person” instead of “player” in the title. That was intentional and I hope you realize the significance of it. When a college coach is recruiting you and decides to come watch you play, chances are they have already been following your scores for a while and are not there just to watch you play golf. They know you can play already
A college golf team is more than just a congregation of good players wearing the same logo. It is a family, a group of like-minded individuals motivating each other towards a common goal. Teammates support each other on and off the course, help each other whenever they can, and have each other’s backs in the best and worst times. A college coach is looking for people that fit their team’s specific mold to this concept when they come watch you.
When a coach comes to watch you play in a tournament, they are more interested in the way you carry yourself than the way you play golf. That team atmosphere can be a fragile thing when a volatile player comes in to the program. In my own experience, there have been players that divided the team and lowered overall morale, which resulted in the whole team underperforming.
There are a lot of things that can either impress a coach, or send him looking for other players the rest of the day that are totally within your control.
No coach will ever pass judgment on you for hitting a bad shot. But they will if you react to that bad shot by cussing, yelling, or throwing and slamming your clubs, or even slumping your shoulders and walking with you head down. These may seem like extreme reactions to some, but they are things that I saw all too often in junior golf. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a coach might be very impressed if you calmly watch your drive sail into the right trees, walk to your next shot with a little laugh, and focus all your energy on recovering and making the best score possible from the position you put yourself into.
A big part of the persona that coaches want to see is the way you treat other people. Making sure to stay quiet and out of the way when a fellow competitor is hitting, taking care of the course so the groups behind you get to play the same conditions as you, and going out of your way to thank volunteers for their time are all things that will make you stand out.
Even the way you conduct yourself after the round can make a big difference. After a bad day, don’t go storming off to get lunch and then to the range for a half focused practice session. Shake the hands of the people in the scoring tent, and carry yourself with pride. Golf is hard and bad days happen to everybody. It’s the players who can maintain a positive outlook and a clear focus on what needs to improve that have a chance to bounce back tomorrow.
On this same idea, if you have an exceptional day, don’t go spouting about it to everyone you see. Sure, you’re excited and you want to talk about it. Some of your friends will ask, and you can tell them all about your round. But there will also be people who had a rough day, and you telling them about how well you played doesn’t reflect well on you. Always stay humble and considerate of others.
Coaches recruit on way more than just score. Give yourself the best chance of finding your college golf home by carrying yourself as if your every action reflects on you and your future school, because at the end of the day that’s exactly what it does.