Are There Benefits to Playing on a High School Golf Team?

Playing high school golf has a number of benefits and can add to your overall high school experience.

Throughout my seven years as a Division I college golf coach and now 9.5 years as a college golf consultant, I’ve been continually asked by parents and junior golfers, “Does high school golf matter in my son’s/daughter’s quest to play college golf?” Surely you’d get varying opinions and perspectives on this topic from junior golfers and parents. I can’t speak for all college coaches, but I will provide my opinions on the topic and tell you what I share with my own clients regarding high school golf. Ultimately, each individual must decide for himself what is the best decision for his particular high school experience.

Personally, I have great memories of my high school golf team experience and will fondly remember my teammates, the van rides, matches against our rivals and other players (Dave Stockton, Jr., OD Vincent, Brandi Burton), my coach’s (rest in peace, Coach Sage) stories, and the bond that we all shared during my four years on the team. My coach was not an advanced golfer, but he loved the game and wanted us to have a great experience. My high school experience only enhanced my golf journey, and like anything in life, it is what you choose to make it. That three- to four-month period each spring in high school was a time I looked forward to and remember distinctly. The high school golf season length still provided me ample opportunities to complement my junior tournament schedule with outside junior/amateur events that would allow me to compete and gain the necessary experience against a more regional and/or national field. There is no arguing that competitive junior golfers need to complement their high school golf experience with junior tournaments and, for some, amateur events. It’s important and essential that college coaches are able to evaluate you in multiple-day tournaments and competitive fields outside of high school golf. However, as a former college coach, I viewed high school golf as a positive for junior golfers and wanted to share some of my reasons.

  • The high school golfer learns the value and aspects of being on a team. Although golf is an individual sport, a golfer’s performance will impact the team score. In college, a golfer is one of approximately ten teammates, so each player has a role that can greatly affect the team. There are a myriad of activities that include and require teamwork and cooperation (team competitions, team building, community outreach, fitness trainings and practice, alumni/donor functions, etc.) in college. These are traits that can be well established through a high school golf team experience and better prepare a junior golfer for all aspects of college athletics.
  • High school golfers have the opportunity to represent their schools and communities, participate in team rivalries against other high schools, and manage the responsibilities of being high school student-athletes representing something bigger than the individual. This experience is also a great prelude to what being a college student-athlete is all about, and it’s fun to play for your school, teammates, and community.
  • There is an opportunity to learn from a varying number of mentors, administrators, teachers, and coaches through a high school golf team experience.
  • The high school golfer learns how to coexist and communicate with other personalities on the team, as well as with the coach. It’s also an opportunity to learn leadership skills and set an example for the next class of players. This same hierarchy is seen in the college team environment as well.
  • In college, a player is not always going to be able to practice, train, and rest on his own schedule. The coach will dictate these activities, much like the high school golf experience. In most cases, the coach determines when a player trains; hence, a player learns how to make the most out of the practice time required by the coach and how to utilize his practice time when the opportunity is available to practice on his own.
  • Playing high school golf simulates the balance of having school in the morning and golf practice/matches in the afternoon. This time management skill is one of the most important aspects of being a successful college student-athlete. Learning and practicing the balance between academics, athletics, and social activities in the high school environment can be used as a positive foundation to what is required as a college student-athlete.

High school golf can provide a plethora of benefits to a young junior golfer and, if approached with the correct mindset, a lasting and memorable experience. As established, it is essential that a junior golfer aspiring to play college golf compete in junior events outside of the high school season. However, competing on a high school golf team will not be looked at negatively in the eyes of a college coach. Instead, playing high school golf will provide an opportunity to learn how to become a team player in an individual sport.

Happy Holidays!

Ted Gleason

Road to College Golf


Coaches Finding & Evaluating Players
    When Should Junior Golf Prospects Expect to Receive Offers from College Coaches?
    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? *Recently Updated*
    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 College Golf Scores Compare to Junior Golf Scores?
    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? *Recently Updated*
    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? *Recently Updated*
    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
    Repeating a Grade in High School or Pursuing a Post-Grad Year – Part Two
    Repeating a Grade in High School or Pursuing a Post-Grad Year – Part One
    Are College Golfers Expected to Take Part in a Conditioning Program?
    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
    Are There Benefits to Playing on a High School Golf Team?
    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? *Recently Updated*
    When and How Should I Initiate a Phone Call to a College Coach? *Recently Updated*
    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? *Recently Updated*
    What Should Recruits Say When Coaches Call Them?
    College Recruitment Timeline - Part 2 *Recently Updated*
    College Recruitment Timeline - Part 1 *Recently Updated*

Recruiting & Scholarships
    How Should I Respond When a Coach Makes an Offer?
    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? *Recently Updated*
    What Questions Should I Be Prepared to Answer During a Campus Visit?
    What Are the Most Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Scholarships? *Recently Updated*
    How do I know if a School is Really Interested in Recruiting Me? *Recently Updated*
    How do Players Verbally Commit to Schools so Early in the Process? *Recently Updated*
    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? *Recently Updated*
    What is a Full Scholarship? *Recently Updated*