month, Coach John Brooks will answer your questions
regarding the college recruiting process. To
submit a question, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The College Mailbag column will be posted monthly on
more information on Coach Brooks please see his Web
Coach Brooks also authors a "Going to College"
column on the Junior
Golf Scoreboard and is a contributing writer for
the Titleist Performance Institute Web site.
on below for the February installment of College Mailbag!
a sophomore, what steps should a junior golfer make
toward a future in college golf in terms of contacting
coaches, etc.? Along those lines, it is said that if
you are a good enough player, the coaches will find
you. Do you believe in this statement, or should the
player initiate their interest in the school?
The critical 18-month window for college recruiting
occurs from May of your sophomore year until November
of your senior year. With this in mind, it is very important
that you plan these two competitive summers to include
as many national (or at least regional) tournaments
as possible. This will maximize your exposure among
college coaches. During the fall of your junior year,
correspondence with college coaches should occur. E-mailing
8-10 coaches your summer results, academic profile and
interest in their school and golf program would be appropriate.
Coaches can e-mail and write you at that time as well.
While the top players in the nation are discovered by
coaches, it never hurts for you to let coaches know
you are interested in their program first. The key is
to make sure the school you are contacting is a good
fit for you academically, athletically, financially,
geographically and socially.
have a junior that I would like to see go to a local
community college for at least one year. I would then
like to see him go to a college or university that is
around 5000 students or less. Wading through the numerous
colleges is staggering. How do we go about finding a
small college where he can hopefully play golf year
round and has a better chance of getting playing time
and building his game?
Junior College is an excellent option for certain student-athletes.
It affords them the opportunity to continue maturing
before they matriculate into a regular university. To
search for a school that best fits a student’s
needs after attending junior college, consider the PING
American College Golf Guide, found online at www.collegegolf.com,
and also included with the AJGA CBS membership package.
are the top four or five tools that a college coach
will use to find, track and evaluate talent? What are
some other qualities a college coach looks for during
the recruiting process?
There is no substitute for watching junior golfers play
if a coach wants to evaluate talent. Most Division I
coaches will attend 8-10 tournaments per year for this
purpose. Additionally, coaches use the internet to find,
track and evaluate talent. The AJGA, the Junior Golf
Scoreboard and Golfweek have excellent Web sites to
assist in this evaluation process.
much of the recruiting is based on who you know or the
coach learning about a player from someone they know?
Coaches know that the main difference between being
good and being great is in the quality of the athletes
they recruit. At the collegiate level, golf coaches
discover great athletes several different ways throughout
the recruiting process. Sometimes discovery takes place
at junior tournaments where coaches see players for
the first time. In other cases, talented players initiate
contact with coaches through letters, phone calls or
e-mails. Discovery also occurs when a third party (alumnus,
golf professional, parent, etc.) recommends a prospect
to a coach.
Most college coaches have extensive relationships in
the golf industry. They network with other coaches,
golf professionals, school alumni, golf manufacturers
and various other members from the golf industry. Junior
golfers who have similar contacts should exercise these
relationships to help them gain exposure among coaches.
Phone calls and letters of recommendations are helpful
tools for coaches to rely on in order to make sound
recruiting decisions. In many cases, who you know can
make the difference in recruiting.
How much do college coaches rely upon Junior
It is a fact that most college coaches use the Junior
Golf Scoreboard on a regular basis as a means to identify
quality prospects for their golf programs. The Junior
Golf Scoreboard, like the AJGA, offers a profile service
for its members that can lead to exposure among coaches.
Additionally, coaches can log onto the Scoreboard and
search for results for any junior golfer they are interested
in. This is an extremely helpful tool in the recruiting
process. Rankings are also helpful in terms of tracking
players in a particular class or geographical region.
strength of schedule more important than wins at weaker
To most coaches, the ability to win matters greatly.
Throughout their development, players need to learn
how to win at the local, regional and national levels.
Coaches pay very close attention to this on a player’s
resume. Strength of schedule matters as well. Competing
against the best players in a region gives coaches a
more objective system to compare and contrast multiple
players they are interested in. All players should strive
to play against the strongest field they can and ultimately
learn how to win in these settings.
How much should the player seek out coaches
from schools they have interest in playing at? How proactive
should a player be in the recruiting process?
Most players need to be proactive. The top players in
the nation will be recruited without ever having to
send information to coaches. For those prospects that
make the initial contact with coaches, make sure you
do your homework first. The most important thing is
to contact schools that are potential good fits academically,
athletically, socially, financially and geographically.
Be honest with yourself (in terms of your ability) and
with the coach. This will help everyone throughout the
college placement process.
At what grade should a high school student
start looking at different schools?
During 9th and 10th grades, high school students should
begin formulating ideas as to what type of college they
would someday like to attend. For junior golfers who
travel to tournaments, unofficial visits should be planned
with each junior golf tournament. The more campuses
a prospect can visit, the better informed they will
become throughout the college selection process. In
11th grade, this process becomes more intense for student-athletes.
Having already seen several campuses will make the decision
much easier at that time.
is the key information and time lines on when and how
to locate college scholarships for a junior in high
school this year?
Each college has its own unique offerings for academic
and community-service scholarships. I suggest you research
the “financial aid” section for each specific
school you are interested in attending to determine
what is available. As far as golf scholarships are concerned,
Men’s NCAA Division I coaches are allowed to award
4.5 scholarships per year while Women’s NCAA Division
I programs are allowed 6.0. Division II is slightly
less and Division III awards no athletic scholarships.
The NAIA and the NJCAA also award limited golf scholarships.
Coaches, based on their recruiting evaluations, will
offer scholarships to prospects as early as their junior
year in high school. Most golf scholarships are awarded,
however, while the prospect is a senior in high school.
For girls, what yardage should they be
playing from on their home course to get ready for college
Most NCAA Division I women’s competitions are
played on golf courses in the 6,200-6,400 yard range.
In practice, juniors should play golf courses that are
at least as long and difficult as they will face in