Going to College is devoted to helping junior golfers and their parents better understand the college recruitment process and to providing insight on what qualities are necessary for young players to compete successfully at the collegiate level. Each month, a popular topic will be discussed to offer advice and counsel to interested juniors and their parents.

Going to College Authors

John Brooks

As a former college golf coach and someone who has worked with talented junior and collegiate players for over 25 years, John is well qualified to help families navigate junior golf and manage college placement. For this purpose, he founded Red Numbers Golf® in 2003. [click for picture and bio]

Ted Gleason

Ted Gleason founded Road To College Golf in 2006 to assist junior golfers and their families with the College placement process. Formerly the Head Golf Coach at both the University of Southern California and Southern Methodist University.  [click for picture and bio]

Nicky Goetze

As an independent consultant, Nicky Goetze specializes in providing expert guidance to families as they pursue college Golf. He helps young players and their parents maximize opportunities at the junior golf level and more effectively handle the college placement process.  [click for picture and bio]

How Do I Know Which Schools Are “Best Fits” for Me?

Being mindful of these best-fit list suggestions can keep your pursuit of college golf on track.

The process of assembling a proper best-fit list of schools is crucial for any prospective student-athlete who aspires to play college golf. Developing a list of colleges and universities that matches academic and golf credentials, as well as other selection criteria, establishes the roadmap for finding college golf opportunities. However, if a junior golfer’s list directs him/her toward schools that are not actually best fits, this miscalculation can potentially result in missed opportunity.

So, what contributes to the improper design of a best-fit list of schools? With access to school websites, as well as useful online tools like the Ping American Golf Guide, Golfstat, and Junior Golf Scoreboard, families have a lot of helpful information available to put together a proper list. Still, something is getting in the way. In my work with junior golf families, I often find they tend to overlook a variety of key points while attempting to create an effective best-fit list. To make sure your list is on track, be mindful of the following suggestions.

  • Coaches recruit impact players. College golf coaches of today are usually interested in signing players who can contribute as college freshman. Large team rosters that offer developing players a chance to move up the ranks are less common. This dynamic in the recruiting marketplace emphasizes the need for junior golfers to build a best-fit list of schools with a strong core of target programs that match their golf abilities.
  • The “GOLF-fit” component is very important. To find a more appropriate competitive fit, you should attempt to find programs where you would gain a lot of tournament experience as a freshman. Focusing on this objective as you select schools for your list will accelerate your golf development. Plus, it will help you remain encouraged in a competitive team setting.
  • Assess talent level accurately and establish realistic expectations for improvement. Overestimating a young player’s golf capabilities, academic ability, and the amount of improvement that can be achieved during the recruiting process can result in the pursuit of too many “reach” programs. Consequently, more appropriate college golf opportunities may be missed as precious time is lost focusing on unrealistic options.
  • Junior golf scoring does not equal college golf scoring. To more effectively pinpoint reasonable “target” schools from a golf standpoint, seek golf programs where your average score in top-rated regional and national tournaments (plus approximately two strokes) falls within the top four to five players of the college rosters. This is a great rule of thumb to start you down the proper path in selecting teams that align with your golf talents.
  • Maintain an open mind. The college landscape is full of quality schools (Divisions I, II, and III) that offer great coaching, facilities, academics, and campus settings. Some of these schools may be lesser known, but they can offer great environments for scholastic and golf achievement. Admittedly, the task of assembling a best-fit list of schools can be difficult when facing such a vast universe of college options. Tapping into the knowledge and experience of consulting experts like the AJGA College Golf Advisors can enhance your approach.
  • Your best-fit list may differ from your friends’ lists. Each junior golfer has unique talents, abilities, interests, and preferences. As a result, your school selections (and recruiting plan) will likely be different than those of your peers. This is normal! Sticking to the school list and plan that is best suited for you will maximize the effectiveness of your recruiting efforts.

I feel confident the insights I’ve shared can be instrumental in creating the right best-fit list of schools for you. Following a realistic and informed approach in selecting schools that are true matches will position you for a much more successful recruiting process.

Coach Goetze


Recruiting & Scholarships
    How Do the NCAA’s Recent Rules Changes Affect You?
    Is the College Recruiting Process Putting Too Much Pressure on You?
    When Should I Apply to Colleges?
    What is the Purpose of the NCAA Eligibility Center?
    What Is a Parent’s Role During a Campus Visit?
    Can Facebook or a Social Network Site Affect How I am Recruited?
    What Should I Do if I Didn’t Sign a National Letter of Intent in the Early Signing Period?
    What Questions Should I Be Prepared to Answer During a Campus Visit?
    What Are the Most Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Scholarships?
    How do I know if a School is Really Interested in Recruiting Me?
    How do Players Verbally Commit to Schools so Early in the Process?
    As a Rising Senior Is It Too Late To Be Recruited?
    What is a Parent's Role in the Recruiting Process?
    When Should Junior Golfers Sign the NLI?
    What is a Full Scholarship?

Coaches Finding & Evaluating Players
    Should I Communicate a Poor Performance to a College Coach?
    Are You Waiting for Tournament Success Before Contacting College Golf Coaches?
    Who Should Speak When Meeting with Coaches – Parents or the Student-Athlete?
    Do College Coaches Use Swing Videos To Evaluate Recruits?
    Do Coaches Really Care About Academics?
    Do You Have the Game to Play College Golf?
    How Do College Coaches Work Junior Tournaments?
    How Do College Golf Coaches Discover Talent?

Finding the Right School - Your "Best Fit"
    How Do I Know Which Schools Are “Best Fits” for Me?
    How Do I Remain Proactive in Identifying My “Best Fit”?
    Is a Walk-On Opportunity the “Best Fit” for Me?
    What Are the Real Keys to a Successful College Golf Recruiting Experience?
    What Useful Information Can I Research on a Golf Team's Website?
    When Should Junior Golfers Begin Visiting and Researching Colleges?
    What’s the Story on Division II and Division III Golf Programs?
    Are Unofficial Visits to College Campuses Necessary?
    Should Junior Golfers Attend Collegiate Tournaments?
    Just How Big is College Golf?
    What questions should I ask a college coach during a campus visit?
    Where Should I Attend College to Study and Play Golf?

Playing in College
    What’s the Story on Club Golf?
    What Is Your Ideal Time Commitment for Playing Golf in College?
    What Can You Expect From a College Golf Tournament?
    Are You Practicing to Play the Odds?
    Am I good enough to play Division I golf?
    What does it mean to "redshirt"?
    How Do I Prepare for my Freshman Year in College?
    How Important Is Time Management for Student-Athletes at the Collegiate Level?
    What Is a Typical Week Like in the Life of a College Golfer?
    Is College Golf an Individual Sport?
    What are the main differences between junior golf and college golf?
    What Commitment Level is Necessary for Junior Golfers to Become Successful Collegiate Student-Athletes?

Playing Junior Golf
    Is playing a practice round important?
    Is There More to Golf Than a Score?
    You Have Completed the College Placement Process—Now What?
    Is It a Good Idea To Withdraw After a Poor Round?
    How Can a Junior Golfer Improve His Practice Sessions?

Promoting Yourself – Being Visible
    How Can Golf Recruits Maximize Visibility Among College Coaches?
    When and How Should I Initiate a Phone Call to a College Coach?
    Is Your Written Communication to Coaches Sending the Right Message?
    What Information Should Prospects Send to College Golf Coaches?
    Will Playing AJGA Events Increase My Chances of Earning a College Scholarship?
    What Should Recruits Say When Coaches Call Them?
    College Recruitment Timeline - Part 2
    College Recruitment Timeline - Part 1

Red Numbers Golf
Chris Smeal Golf Schools