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What Should Junior Golfers Do Before Their High School Years To Start Pursuing College Golf?

Get a head start on the college placement process by acting on these key steps.

If your child is still a year or more away from high school, college is likely a distant thought. Kids grow up quickly though, and the challenges of finding the right college to attend will begin soon enough. Perhaps the biggest challenge will be finding a school that provides the proper setting—one that will support your child as a student and as a golfer.

Fortunately, the difficulties presented by the search for a “best-fit” college can be reduced. Getting a head start on several key action items during your son’s or daughter’s middle school years will allow you to effectively guide your junior golfer toward a fulfilling college golf future. Have a look below.

    1. Assemble a strong support team to create a game development plan and an initial strategy to pursue college golf. This team could include a swing and short game instructor, fitness trainer, mental skills coach, college golf advisor, or others.

    2. Build a golf resume by exposing your child to tournaments that match his/her skills, physical development, and experience level. Gradually taking on competitions like AJGA Junior-All Star tournaments or other major championships will allow your son or daughter to get acclimated to the highest levels of junior golf. Plus, playing tournaments like these will provide exposure to college coaches so they can see your child’s skills (e.g., swing technique, short game savvy, athleticism, attitude, and more). Note, using the AJGA Performance Based Entry (PBE) Map. can help you target quality tournaments that offer PBE Status, and earning PBE Status (or stars) through high finishes in these select competitions increases your child’s chances of acceptance for AJGA events.

    3. Read the Going To College column on Junior Golf Scoreboard. This collection of 60+ articles provides valuable information about the most relevant topics pertaining to navigating junior golf and college placement.

    4. Use online resources to begin researching colleges/universities and golf programs: Ping American College Golf Guide, Golfstat , Junior Golf Scoreboard, AJGA, and Golfweek. Additionally, specific websites for college golf teams and academic institutions will provide important details to help you begin to understand the differences among available options in the college landscape.

    5. Review the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete, which can be found on the The NCAA Eligibility Center website. This document will help you gain an awareness of the basic recruiting rules and initial eligibility requirements that become relevant once your child begins 9th grade.

    6. Attend college tournaments in your home area. This is a great way to learn more about what it takes to succeed at the next level. Basically, seeing college events first-hand will help your child become more informed about the college golf environment (i.e., team talent levels, coaching styles, etc.) and it will likely be motivating as well. Golfstat offers a comprehensive listing of fall and spring college golf schedules for your review. (See Schedules & Results tab.)

    7. Begin visiting college campuses. Visiting schools will help you and your child learn more about what he’s looking for in a college set-up. Taking simple campus tours can be an appropriate first step. Eventually, arranging meetings with college golf coaches will set the stage for making a personal introduction and learning more about each coach's golf program.

With the college recruiting environment becoming more and more competitive, it is wise to do your homework sooner than later. Now is the right time to begin thinking about where your child may want to attend college and what to look for in the search. The seven key suggestions provided will definitely start your child down the right path toward college golf.

To your future success,

nicky goetze


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    Repeating a Grade in High School or Pursuing a Post-Grad Year – Part One
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Playing Junior Golf
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Promoting Yourself – Being Visible
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PING College Golf Guide