So you’ve got a pretty good game, and you want to be a college golfer. Well, in order to get a scholarship to play golf, there’s more to it than just good scoring. The fact is, you may be competing for scholarship money with several other golfers with similar scores to yours. So when a college golf coach shows interest in you, be prepared. Here are just a few of the questions a college coach might ask a potential recruit.
Question #1: Who is helping you make your college decision?
One of the first questions a coach will ask you is about who is going to help you make your college selection decision. For the coaches, this question is based in part upon strategy and determining how they are going to recruit the potential student–athlete. Is your decision-maker a family member, a coach, or perhaps a member of your golf club? A coach will want to know who is going to be influential in helping you make your decision.
Question #2: How are your grades and SAT scores?
Although golf scores and potential are important aspects when hoping to secure a college scholarship, any qualified golf coach will want to know how well a potential recruit performs in the classroom, not just on the greens. Plus, in order to remain eligible, you’ll want to keep your grades in accordance with NCAA eligibility standards.
Question #3: What is most important to you in terms of both academics and your golf game?
This type of question is very common, because golf coaches want to know where your priorities lie. Coaches don’t only need to know if you will stay eligible; they will also want to know your dedication level. Be prepared to be asked about what you are looking for in the next level of your playing career. This question may have several elements to it. Do you expect to be on the active roster your first year? What kind of playing atmosphere do you desire, and how does the school’s location and fan base provide that atmosphere? What are you, as a golf recruit, seeking in terms of academics? Does the school have the programs necessary in order to help you reach your full potential after graduation? Says one Division I coach: “A recruit needs to be open and honest in answering these questions. This is the best way for both parties to determine whether or not the recruit is a good fit for the school.”
Question #4: How many tournaments have you played in, and how did you score?
Although years of experience playing tournament golf is a distinct advantage in terms of preparation for college-level competition, if you've shown quality scores in only a few tournaments, this can also work toward your advantage. Coaches are searching for talent, and if you show potential when you approaching college age, doors will open, so take your tournament play seriously and prepare thoroughly for events you compete in.
Question #5: Would you be willing to walk on for a year and compete for a scholarship?
Even if you are an accomplished player with multiple colleges vying for your services, you'll likely be asked about your feelings about joining the team and playing your way into a scholarship. Asking this question is a best practice for college coaches, who only have so many scholarships to hand out and who see this tactic as insurance to make sure they use their scholarships wisely. If you are considering this route, be sure to ask the coach what the requirements will be for you in order to gain a scholarship. If you don't get a clear answer, ask again. Quality coaches will see persistence as a virtue, and they will be up front in their communication. .
Question #6: What experiences do you have as a member of a team, and what non-golf activities do you participate in?
Participation in extracurricular activities (other than your sport) and volunteer work are important. Your participation in extracurricular/volunteer activities shows that you’re responsible enough to handle the pressures of school and your sport while still taking part in other activities. Also, in college, a strong team leads to stronger individuals, and if you understand how to be a team player, you will be that much more attractive to a college golf coach.
Question #7: What other colleges have contacted you?
Rest assured, college coaches make it their business to know just how sought after you may be as a player. Coaches only have so many scholarships to offer, and often, they will try to get a promising young golfer to accept half a scholarship or even simply ask you to walk on. The more colleges that show interest, the better the offers you'll get, so it's important to initiate contact with as many potential college coaches you can, and early in the process.
Question #8: How many coaches have you worked with other than your parents?
Coaches may ask this question in order to determine just how willing you are to learn from a new coach. However, having too many coaches in your past can be a turn-off, and so can overbearing parents, so it might be good to keep your answers simple. It’s key to show college coaches that you are an individual who is capable of overcoming potentially negative (or ineffective) influences.
Question #9: What are your practice habits?
Golf coaches will want to know how often you practice and what you work on in order to improve your game. For many coaches, it’s your work on the short game that matters most. “I think at the college level, it’s often not about hitting it better but scoring more,” says Stanford coach Conrad Ray. “And how do you do that? Well, you chip and putt, scramble better, and make your bad days better.”
Note: As a potential competitive college golfer, you will need to promote yourself to golf coaches. You need to provide them with ample opportunity to learn more about you and your game, whether it be with video tapes of your swing or sharing tournament results. Your scoring average will be as important to coaches as your grades. Start the recruiting process as early as possible for the best results. Most college golf coaches recruit very early on, so start early so that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.
Other helpful links:
- University of Miami golf recruit questionnaire
- How to get an athletic scholarship
- Tips for Juniors Who Want to Play College Golf: Scoring Requirements, Preparing a Resumé and Marketing Yourself to Coaches