I get calls, all the time, from high school golfers and their families asking if they have what it takes to play college golf. The problem is that there is no way to answer that question without digging deeper. There are over 1100 schools in America that play Men’s Golf and over 600 schools that offer Women’s Golf. That sounds like a large number, considering most schools like to have at least 7 or 8 players on their roster. Numbers can be deceiving, unfortunately. Junior golfers that want to play in college have many variables to think about besides the scores they are putting up.
Every junior golfer that is playing tournament golf dreams of playing college golf and then playing professional golf. There are roughly 2 million junior golfers in America. The pure math shows that less than 1% of those golfers will play college golf. What will it take for them to get the chance to play college golf?
I have asked many college coaches about what attributes they are looking for in recruiting. Below are some of the things that they are looking for in athletes:
Obviously, each Division of college golf has its range of scores that coaches are looking for. Also, coaches want to see scores played at a certain length of golf course.
Academics are a huge factor for recruiting for several reasons including:
1) Making sure an athlete can maintain their grades and handle course loads with staying academically eligible.
2) Academics can help the athlete get more scholarships to offset tuition costs that athletics can’t cover.
Character is extremely important to coaches. Every coach I talk to about a prospect, one of the first questions asked is, “What kind of kid are they?” Character and work ethic means a lot because the coaches do not have time for trouble-makers and athletes that cause drama.
Athleticism is not always something that is associated with golf. But, golfers who are athletic can stay healthy and can maintain their play even if their swing is in need of adjusting. Making adjustments in the middle of the round is one of the most important attributes of any top golfer.
However, when it comes down to starting the recruiting process, the most important quality a coach looks for are the scores that the golfers are shooting. Unfortunately, golf is a game that you cannot fake your ability. You can either shoot the numbers, or you can’t. Below is a breakdown of what coaches are looking for when recruiting golfers. Obviously, the higher the program’s status is in their Division, these numbers get more important. A top level Division II will probably have the same standards as a lower Division I program, etc….
1. NCAA Division I
a. Men’s Scoring Average: Under Par to Low 70s
b. Women’s Scoring Average: Under Par to Mid 70s
2. NCAA Division II
a. Men’s Scoring Average: Par to High 70s
b. Women’s Scoring Average: Mid 70s to Low 80s
3. NCAA Division III (No Athletic Scholarships Available)
a. Men – Golfers must be able to shoot in the Low 80s but also have good academics.
b. Women – DIII schools usually have a very difficult time finding enough golfers to fill their roster. If a female golfer can shoot in the 90s and have good academics, they will have a chance to play in college.
As you can see, there are fewer and fewer players that can actually shoot these scores for DI. Fortunately, there is an amazing number of opportunities for golfers to play DII and DIII. We have not even mentioned NAIA or JuCo programs. NAIA and JuCo programs, typically, have similar requirements as DIII programs.
Getting recruited in golf may sound like a difficult task, but it is NOT if you have the right people helping you through the process. If you can shoot the scores that have been talked about or are on a path to reach those scores by your senior year, you could be a collegiate prospect. Don’t let your lack of knowledge and exposure be the reason that you did NOT get the opportunity to play in college.
Trey Miller is the National Scouting Report Golf, Social Media Director and Scout. For a free assessment of your skills or further recruiting information, please visit us at NSR-inc.com. Also, we invite you to visit and “LIKE” our FACEBOOK page.