The college golf recruiting process is a daunting one, which is why we want to answer all your frequently asked questions and clarify NCAA regulations and timelines. While Junior Golf Hub is an app that will help connect you with the right college golf coaches, we’re also a resource for all your golf recruiting needs.
Whether you’re looking to play college golf or are a parent or legal guardian helping a soon-to-be college golfer, we’re here to guide you every step of the way. It’s never too early to start thinking about recruiting, so we recommend kicking off this fun adventure your freshman or sophomore year of high school; even though communication with golf coaches starts the summer before your junior year, golf coaches are already looking at you starting freshman year (or earlier!).
The formula for men’s and women’s college golf recruiting is very similar, so all the tips below are applicable.
How to Get Recruited for College Golf
From when you realize you want to play college golf to the day you sign your National Letter of Intent, you have quite a few steps to follow. However, don’t let the college recruiting process discourage you; the Junior Golf Hub app streamlines this process in an easy-to-follow format.
Finding the Right College for You
Determining where you want to go to college extends beyond golf scores. It’s important to decide on your priorities in the athletic and academic space. Are you looking to play college golf at the top level, or do you want the opportunity to compete while focusing on your major? There’s no right answer here – it can be both, or you can fall on either end of the spectrum.
If you are looking to pursue a career in the golf industry after your competitive playing days, there are golf colleges that offer the PGA Golf Management University Program. You can play on these college teams while paving the way to a teaching or management career in the golf space. Junior Golf Hub will show you which universities offer this program as a major.
Another factor to consider is school size. Do you want to be part of a community that’s 50,000+ people with large lecture halls, or are you looking for a smaller school that has smaller class sizes?
Lastly, where in the country do you want to go to college? Location plays a role in your golf season. If you want to go to school in Florida, for example, you’ll be able to play year-round; however, if you go to school in New Hampshire, your spring season may not start till April, and your offseason training will take place mostly indoors.
You can also think of this question in terms of atmosphere. Do you want to be in a city, where golf course access may be more of a commute, or do you want to be in a rural space, which may provide your college with several choices of golf courses for practice? Again, there is no wrong answer because the college experience is what you make of it – golf can fit in anywhere.
Once you have an idea of what your ideal college experience would look like, don’t be afraid to take physical or virtual tours of the campus. The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel when choosing your college.
Finding the Right College Golf Program for You
The next step is aligning college golf programs with your game and your preferred college experience. Junior Golf Hub really steps in here and helps you find colleges looking for your scoring average, among other data points. With college golf coaches on the app, this is an easy way to get noticed.
Setting up your player profile is a crucial step towards attracting college coaches’ attention. You can include your tournament schedule and history, junior golf ranking, golf swing videos and academic transcripts. The more highlights you share on your page for coaches to see, the better idea they’ll have of your game, personality and potential.
Another way to preview the life of a college golfer while also building connections with the coaches is to sign up for college golf camps. This experience gives you the opportunity to show off your game in person, usually in front of several different colleges while also giving you more time to get to know each coach. College camps can be found on the schools’ websites, and you may get a few brochures in the mail.
How to Be Part of the Junior Golf Rankings
Junior golf rankings, usually on platforms like Junior Golf Scoreboard, are an easy way for college coaches to determine your playing level. Rankings aren’t everything when you’re working to get on a college golf team, but they certainly help.
To get your name listed on Junior Golf Scoreboard, you must play in at least four ranked events. Over 2,000 tournaments are recognized by Junior Golf Scoreboard each year, so if you’re playing at least 36 holes with more than 5 competitors in the field, there’s a good chance that tournament will qualify as one of your four.
Popular junior golf tours include the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), Future Collegians World Tour (FCWT), Southeast Junior Golf Tour (SJGT) and the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HJGT). You can browse tournaments in Junior Golf Scoreboard to see if your event qualifies.
Junior golf rankings are an easy way to be noticed by college coaches, though they aren’t the end-all, be-all if it’s difficult to compete in several tournaments.
College Golf Training Programs at Academies
One route some players and parents decide to go is attending a golf academy. The college golf training programs at boarding schools like Achieve Golf Academy give you the opportunity to dial in your golf game while still excelling in academics.
Coaches at Achieve Golf Academy will not only help you with your game, physical fitness, sports psychology and nutrition, but they will also help you optimize player profiles for the college recruiting process and have a full tournament schedule for you to participate in to gain your junior golf ranking.
NCAA Golf Rules on Recruiting: Contact with College Coaches
The college golf recruiting process can sometimes be a web of NCAA rules and regulations. Junior Golf Hub breaks down the basic rules as well as how to interact with college coaches when the time is right.
Standard NCAA Golf Recruiting Rules
NCAA golf regulations are the same for men and women but differ slightly by school division. When planning campus visits, beware of dead periods where no contact is allowed with coaches, typically around holidays. In order to be considered for college play, you also must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, which reviews your amateur status and high school transcripts.
For both men and women looking into Division 1 schools, you’ll see the following regulations:
- Freshman and sophomore year of high school, you can have no communication with college golf coaches or the athletic department until June 15th after your sophomore year. Beforehand, you may receive college golf camp and recruiting brochures, and you can make unofficial visits to college campuses as long as you don’t speak with anyone from the athletic department, tour the athletic department or accept free tickets to home games until August 1st before your junior year.
- Communication after June 15th after your sophomore year includes unlimited calls, emails, texts and more forms of electronic messaging. You can initiate the phone calls, and golf coaches can call you.
- After August 1st before your junior year, you can also meet with coaches off campus, usually at golf tournaments. You can also start your official visits, where you can visit up to five schools, one time each. Unofficial visits are still unlimited. You may receive a verbal offer during this period.
- Senior year is largely the same as the period after August 1st before your junior year, though off-campus contact and evaluations are limited until you sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI), another written commitment or you put a financial deposit down on the college.
For both men and women interested in Division 2 schools, you’ll notice the following differences:
- You can take unofficial visits at any point in your recruiting journey.
- After June 15th after your sophomore year, you have unlimited official visits to Division 2 schools, though there is still a cap on one official visit per college.
For both men and women interested in Division 3 and NAIA schools, you’ll notice the following differences:
- College coaches can begin contact with you at any time during high school, and you can go on unlimited unofficial visits during that time.
- You can have off-campus contact with college coaches after your sophomore year.
- After January 1st of your junior year, you can start going on official visits. Official visits to Division 3 schools are unlimited, though there is still a cap on one official visit per college.
Talking to College Golf Coaches
Now that you know your timeline, you can follow the college golf recruiting rules and make the most out of your connections. Here are a few frequently asked questions that will help guide those coach conversations.
How do you contact college coaches?
Once you’ve hit certain dates, you can contact college golf coaches through phone calls, emails, texts and direct messages. You can also have in-person contact at golf tournaments and on unofficial and official visits when the time is right. Don’t forget, the Junior Golf Hub app is a great way for coaches to notice and reach out to you.
How do you call a college coach?
What you say to a college coach on the phone can go a long way in hooking his or her interest. Take a deep breath, be yourself and think of this call as an opportunity to talk about your love of golf and whatever else may interest you at this institution. Make sure you have your profile link, swing videos and upcoming tournament schedule handy if you haven’t shared them already. You should also take the time to research the college, golf program and coach and come prepared with a couple of questions to ask.
The phone call is a great way for coaches to catch a glimpse of your personality and determine if they should make a trip to one of your tournaments to see you play.
How do you tell a college golf coach you are interested?
One of the most exciting moments during the college golf recruiting process is when you feel like you, a college and a coach have clicked. Being direct is the best way to convey your interest and get clear feedback on what you need to do to become an official member on the roster.
College Recruiting Sites
Finding the best college golf recruiting service will take a ton of pressure off your plate. While the recruitment process can be stressful at times, it’s an exciting opportunity to play golf at the next level.
Apps and sites like Junior Golf Hub can consolidate your player profile, golf swing videos, tournament history, coach communications and more into one place. You can focus on your golf game and figuring out what you want your college experience to look like; you will still have to make an effort to reach out to college golf coaches, but we make it easy and fun.
Now that you are armed with all the knowledge you need to crush the college golf recruiting, go out and enjoy the process. Junior Golf Hub is here to help however you need.