For many student-athletes and their families, golf recruiting can be a daunting and frustrating process. While you’ll likely have 100 questions, take a few minutes to go over the answers to those we hear most often…
How Many Golf Scholarships Can A College Team Offer?
The NCAA has designated men’s and women’s golf an equivalency sport. That means, rather than each player receiving a full scholarship, as is most common with football or basketball, golf teams have a limited number of scholarships. While some student-athletes do earn full-ride golf scholarships, it is far more common for a coach to award partial scholarships to more players. The total amount of those scholarships must be equivalent to the limit established by the NCAA.
For example, in NCAA Division I men’s golf, each team is allowed the equivalent of 4.5 scholarships. However, most DI golf teams have 10 players on the roster. If a coach chooses to award partial scholarships to every player on the team evenly, then each player could receive a scholarship covering 45% of his tuition and expenses.
Ultimately, the actual number of scholarships a golf coach can offer depends on how he or she divides the scholarship budget allotted to each team. As mentioned above, in Division I men’s golf, each team is limited to the equivalent of 4.5 scholarships. For Division II men, the limit is 3.6 scholarships. For women, Division I golf teams can offer the equivalent of six scholarships while DII women’s teams are limited to 5.4. Given the higher number of available scholarships, many more women are awarded full-ride golf scholarships compared to men.
Beyond the NCAA, NAIA schools can offer a maximum of five equivalent scholarships to both their men’s and women’s golfers. However, junior college golf programs are allowed to offer eight full-ride scholarships for both men’s and women’s golf.
All of the scholarship limits above assume a golf program is fully funded. Actual scholarships may vary at each school.
How Important Are My Grades?
Simply put, the higher your grades, GPA, and standardized entrance exam scores are, the more attractive you’ll be to college coaches. Yes, low scores on the course will carry plenty of weight, but higher grades in the classroom show coaches you’ll be able to score well in college classes too. Plus, with higher grades, you’re also eligible for more academic scholarships. And that will make you more attractive as a golf recruit since it could allow a college coach to stretch his or her scholarship budget further.
Remember too that, while NCAA Division III schools offer plenty of opportunities to play college golf, DIII athletic programs don’t offer athletic scholarships. However, most DIII schools offer ample academic and financial aid opportunities. In fact, your good grades could earn you an academic scholarship to a DIII school that could cover more of your college costs than a partial athletic scholarship at a DI or DII program.
What Kind Of Tournament Experience Should I Have?
The more, higher-level tournaments you can play in, the better. Start with state tournaments then look for Junior Golf Scoreboard-verified tournaments, American Junior Golf Association events, national golf tours, and the United States Golf Association (USGA) championships.
Many coaches recruit from the same areas and tournaments every year. So, if you’re interested in a particular program, look at the current roster for patterns in the tournaments they’ve played or the particular state or region they hail from. If you see some patterns and want to raise your profile with that team’s coach, enter those same tournaments or play in events in those same areas. To refine your search, you might even reach out to a coach and let him or her know you’re entered in a particular tournament.
How Involved Should My Parents Be In My Recruiting?
While it’s natural for your parents to want to be involved in the recruiting process, remember that coaches are recruiting you for their team. That’s why it’s important for you to build a relationship with a coach, not your parents. A coach wants to get to know your attitude, desire, and personality to see if you’ll be a good fit with this or her team. You should get to know a coach to determine if his or her coaching style and philosophy mesh with your game and desires. A college golf coach will certainly want to meet your parents, but ultimately you’re the one being recruited.
While parents should certainly have a role in golf recruiting – especially when it comes to figuring how to cover college expenses that scholarships won’t – the best thing a parent can do is let you chart your own course. You should always seek your parent’s advice and guidance if needed, but remember that your choice comes down to finding the school and college golf opportunity that fits you best.
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