College Golf Recruiting – Tips and Advice from Division I Coaches
At Nike Junior Golf Camps, we and our camp directors are often asked, “My son or daughter wants to play golf in college. How do we start the recruiting process?” This is a loaded question in the way that there are many strategies for college recruiting. There are many different junior tours, tournaments and recruiting events available and many of them bring in top talent from all corners of the country. It can be difficult to know where to start.
The most important thing to remember is that the NCAA has very strict compliance rules that dictate the ways in which coaches can pursue and communicate with potential recruits. These rules are subject to constant change. Below are some answers to FAQ’s from top college coaches and important key term definitions which will help you better understand the recruiting process and how it pertains to college golf.
Important Key Terms
Contact: A contact is when a college coach says more than hello during an in-person contact with a college-bound athlete or their parents off the college campus.
Contact Period: The period of time when a coach may have face-to-face contact with a college-bound athlete or their parents.
Evaluation Period: The period of time when a coach may observe a prospect during competition, visit their high school, and write or telephone a college-bound athlete or their parents. Coaches cannot have face-to-face contact with college-bound athletes or their parents during this time.
Dead Period: Coaches may only write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during this time. Coaches are not allowed to have face-to-face communication with a prospect or their parents or watch them compete or visit their high school.
Unofficial Visit: Any visit to a college campus paid for by a college-bound student-athlete or their parents is considered an unofficial visit.
Official Visit: Any visit to a college campus by a college-bound student-athlete that is paid for by the college is an official visit.
What are the best college golf events?
College golf camps are a great opportunity for a young golfer to get a first-hand look at campus life and how a collegiate golf program operates. It also affords players the chance to receive instruction from some of the best coaches in the nation and understand what level of play is expected of college golfers. The real beauty of a camp is that it provides a low-stress introduction to collegiate athletics.
*Camps are not purposed for recruiting in any way and NCAA coaches are not permitted to conduct recruitment activities during camp.
What types of tournaments should we sign up for?
The types of tournaments matter less than the results a player shows during competitive play. If a player has a record of low scores that a college program expects of its own players, then that player would have a better chance of getting recruited. If a player is winning high-level tournaments and placing in amateur competitions, this adds to a junior golfer’s likelihood of being scouted.
“There are a tremendous number of junior golf tournaments to play in throughout the country in today’s world,” says Head Coach, Andrew DiBitetto of University of North Carolina. “Prospects should always be trying to qualify for the US Open, the US Amateur, and the US Junior, as well as all of their state championships. Beyond that, my opinion is that young people should just compete. There are so many options out there today for kids and their families that if you are competing, shooting low scores, and beating people coaches will find you.”
When can my child start going on official visits?
As of April 2018, the new NCAA recruiting schedule allows all sports, other than basketball and football, to begin official visits on September 1st of a prospect’s junior year in high school.
Can coaches assist with university admissions?
Coaches who recruit your child to play can help in getting a college-bound student-athlete admitted to their university but the child must still meet NCAA and university GPA minimums. For example, University of California schools have a program called “UC-qualified” which sets a strict 3.0 GPA minimum for California residents (3.4 GPA for non-residents) (2018) for any student to be admitted, including athletes.
What does a college coach look for when recruiting a junior golfer?
Every college coach is different, so we asked some of our most highly regarded junior golf camp directors what they look for when recruiting.
“We look for players that are up for a challenge. Being a Division I student-athlete is HARD work so we look for student-athletes who will embrace the grind, so to speak. Someone who understands they are part of a TEAM and it’s not just about the individual anymore. Someone who is willing and wants to do more than the minimum.”
MaryLou Mulflur - University of Washington Women’s Golf, Head Coach
“The recruiting process is very important. It’s significant to all sports programs and it’s significant to the young people that are making decisions about their future. At UNC, one of the first things we look at is how a young person has achieved academically so far and do we believe they will perform academically at a high level in the future. We obviously look at golf abilities and talent, but we probably spend more time learning about the personality and character of the person we are recruiting. We are always looking for driven, hardworking, competitive people. We are also looking for young people that want to learn, improve, and have tremendous leadership skills.”
Andrew DiBitetto - University of North Carolina Men’s Golf, Head Coach
*Student-athletes and their parents should visit ncaa.org before beginning the recruitment process. They offer up-to-date recruitment calendars by sport which can tell a recruit when a coach is permitted to contact them and in what forms of communication. University requirements can be found on each school’s academic website.
About Nike Junior Golf Camps
Nike Junior Golf Camps is a division of US Sports Camps, Inc (USSC). Headquartered in San Rafael, California, USSC is America’s largest sports camp network and the licensed operator of Nike Sports Camps. The company has offered summer camps in the U.S. since 1975 with the same mission that defines it today: to shape a lifelong enjoyment of athletics through high quality sports education and skill enhancement. Nike Junior Golf Camps offers junior overnight and day camps, as well as advanced player camps at over 130 locations nationwide. Since 1994, more than 200,000 junior golfers have participated in the camps.