I want to switch gears for this next series during what is a busy time in the recruiting process for juniors and seniors as they are making their decisions to play college golf, whether it’s a verbal commitment in the coming months or signing their NLIs to make it official.
This specific topic sparked my interest after a conversation I had with Coach Holly Clark at UNCC, who I absolutely love chatting with about all things college and junior golf. If you didn’t know, UNCC Women’s Golf is currently ranked 28th in just their 3rd season as a program!
But something I have discussed with many coaches who have voiced this as a frustration in their recruiting and coaching approach is trying to distinguish between girls who are playing golf to get better and which ones are playing to earn a scholarship. So I wanted to spark some thoughts for the girls to consider as they are tackling this process to determine what is going to be the best fit.
Stop for a few seconds and ask yourself this question, are you playing golf because you really want to get better at golf or because you want to get a scholarship to play in college?
I know that is a very loaded question and to most, it probably seems like an easy answer – I want both! Which for many of you that is the case and the two scenarios just happen to go hand in hand. But you might be surprised at how many never really consider the difference until they get to college and face the reality of college golf and a coach with high expectations of their commitment.
Maybe you are mostly playing golf because you know it’s a great avenue for getting a scholarship to play in college. Or maybe not necessarily for the scholarship but you want help with the admissions process by being a recruited athlete. Or maybe you just want the opportunity to play golf in college bc it sounds like fun. Don’t get me wrong, these are all valid and understandable reasons and they have a place in the college golf world in the right settings.
But if you don’t really consider what your motivation for playing golf is, then you are taking the chance that your college golf experience will not be a good one. If you want to play at a higher level or for a coach with very high expectations, then you probably need to have an internal driving factor of playing golf because you want to work hard and you want to get better.
It is a completely different atmosphere when you are playing and practicing once you actually get in college, as opposed to playing and practicing as a junior golfer when you are trying to earn a scholarship. Once that external driving factor disappears and you have that scholarship or spot on the team, are you still going to be willing to make sacrifices, put in the effort, grind it out, go above and beyond, and step up your game? Or will you settle into being comfortable with your scholarship or spot on the team and just enjoy the ride?
There is a fit for both types of players when you consider all divisions of college golf and expectations of the coach, but you have to be honest with yourself and with potential coaches during the process to determine what that fit is going to be.
If you are near the end of the process or just getting started and seeking guidance then please don’t hesitate to reach out and we can find a session or service that fits your needs to ensure you get that support. You can check out those options HERE but keep in mind we will make something work that is the best fit for you!
Hi! I am Brandi Jackson, a college recruiting consultant for my companies Brandi Jackson Golf and This Girl Loves Golf and as a partner of the PKB Girls Tour. Through these avenues, I provide the guidance, resources, connections, and solutions for female golfers all over the world to help them find the right college golf fit. I am a Furman University golf alum and former LPGA player, and I have been working in the college recruiting world for over 9 years.