Tips for Juniors Who Want to Play College Golf

Scoring Requirements, Preparing a Resumé and Marketing Yourself to Coaches

PEBBLE BEACH, CA - SEPTEMBER 27: Junior First Tee player Ian Buchanan hits out of a bunker on the first hole durng the first round of the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach at Pebble Beach Golf Links on September 27, 2013 in Pebble Beach, California.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Playing college golf can be a wonderful experience and is the goal of many junior golfers. The biggest challenge for the average junior golfer is deciding where he or she fits into the college golf picture.

One thing that is consistent for any high school player is the importance of a good golf resumé. Your resumé will give a college coach an accurate account of your golfing and academic record. The following are a few tips on how to put together a strong resumé and how to get that resumé into the hands of college golf coaches. After that, we'll go over the college golf recruiting process.

Preparing Your Resumé for College Golf Coaches

Your resumé begins with the basics. The vital information should include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone
  • Birth date
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Name of High School
  • Month and Year of Graduation
  • Grade Point Average/Class Rank
  • SAT or ACT Scores
  • USGA or State Handicap Index
  • High School Stroke Average
  • List of other sports and extracurricular activities

Next is the most important part. You need to list your tournament results and highlights. These scores are much more important than a handicap from your home club. Remember to list:

  • Event name and location
  • Number of players in the field
  • Your finish
  • Course rating and distance
  • Unusual weather for the event
  • Yardage for the course

This part of the resumé is where you show a college coach how well you play tournament golf. You may want to break this down by year, so coaches can see improvement from year to year.

Along with a cover letter, this resumé will be sent to college coaches.

Many high school players also send video to coaches. Get your full swing, a three-quarters swing, a couple of pitch shots and your putting stroke on video, if at all possible, plus a shot from behind and a swing facing the camera.

What College Golf Coaches Look For When Recruiting

Coach Chris Wilson of McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La., says he looks for the following when he's recruiting:

"First, I look at the player's tournament scoring average. High school events are less important, unless they are at the state championship tournament. I mainly look for summer tournaments and see what kind of competition was in the field. Every once in a while I find a diamond in the rough, who hasn't been able to get in a lot of big junior golf events, but has played well in the ones that he/she was in. Next I look at the player's grades. If the player doesn't have the grades to get in to our school, I don't waste my time. I also look for good athletes. If they play other sports on the varsity level, I'm interested. I can't teach athletic ability and if a see a 2- or 3-sport letterman I know they're an athlete."

What about scoring averages? For boys, a midlevel Division I college is looking for a scoring average of 75 or better. The Top 20 schools are looking for scoring averages around 72. For lower tier Division I schools, as well as Division II, coaches are looking for a tournament scoring average between 75-80. Division III schools will be interested in players with scoring averages from 75 to 85, depending on the program.

The story is very different for girls. If a female golfer in high school has a scoring average of 85-90, she will draw interest from many Division I programs. It's just a matter of where she wants to play.

One last tip from Coach Wilson is to use email. Chris says, "I get most of my resumés by email. If it's in my inbox, I open it. Sometimes regular mail piles up and coaches don't get a chance to get to all the resumés. So email your resumé first, then send it by mail."

Coach Wilson also recommends that you begin to email coaches at the schools you're interested in during your junior year. That way your name is already known when you send your information to them in your senior year.

The College Golf Recruiting Process

The recruiting process for golf is much different than that for other high school sports. Most college golf coaches don't have the budget to travel and recruit the way coaches in other sports often do.

Most college golf coaches rely on players sending in their resumés and video. This leaves it up to the high school player to decide which schools to contact.

The first thing to do is to determine where you want to go to college; in other words, if golf wasn't in the equation, where would you want to attend college? In most cases, playing golf is only the second consideration.

The best resource to use for information on all the colleges that have golf programs is the American College Golf Guide published by Ping ( This book provides information on the size of a school, the cost, what division and conference their golf teams play in, the coaches, coach's email, their scores and records, and other contact information.

The guide also helps with NCAA regulations, financial aid, and tips for parents. Using this book will help junior golfers narrow their lists of colleges and see if their expectations are realistic. It's also helpful to see the cost of each school and determine if financial aid or scholarships are available.

In addition to the efforts that juniors and their parents make, young golfers can also utilize college recruiting services. These services contact the coaches on your behalf and try and get your information to as many schools as possible. These services can't guarantee you a scholarship, but they can help get you noticed.

In the end, there are a few to things to remember:

  • First, you have to have a strong resumé. Coaches look first at tournament experience, so make sure your resumé has all the events in which you've played.
  • Secondly, be realistic about where you send your information. Look honestly at your scores and the scores of the college programs in which you're interested, and see where your game fits.
  • Take your playing ability and academic record into consideration before sending your golf information to a coach. If you can narrow your list of desired schools down to 5-10 realistic choices, you'll save a lot of time and money.

About the Author
Frank Mantua is a Class A PGA Professional and Director of Golf at US Golf Camps. Frank has taught golf to thousands of juniors from more than 25 countries. More than 60 of his students have gone on to play at Division I colleges. Mantua has also published five books and numerous articles on junior golf and junior golf programs. He was one of the founding members of the National Association of Junior Golfers, and is one of the few golf professionals in the country that is also a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Frank also serves as the Junior Golf Specialist on ESPN Radio's "On Par with the Philadelphia PGA."

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