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Opinion & Analysis

Stop Bothering Me! Why NCAA golf coaches already get too many emails

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This article was written in collaboration between Brendan Ryan and Estefania Acosta. To research more on the subject of college golf from these authors, please check out their book, The College Golf Almanac, that is now for sale on Amazon for $19.99.

Are you a future college golfer or parent who is stressed out about the process of finding a school? Tired of sending emails and not getting a response? Unsure what to do next?

Good news, in this article we are going to show you why proper research and the subject of your email are the keys to you playing college golf!

To help parents, coaches and junior golfers in the process, I did a survey of 100+ college coaches trying to understand the recruiting process from their perspective. To help, I asked them, via an online survey on Facebook their thoughts on the following questions:

  1. What level of golf do you coach?
    2. What gender do you coach?
    3. How many incoming emails do you get per day?
    4. What percent of emails come from recruiting companies?
    5. What percent of emails from recruits are of interest to you?
    6. What is the most important thing you look for on a resume?

What Coaches told Us

Of the coaches who responded, we had 76 percent from Division I institutions, 15 percent from Division II institutions, 4 percent from Division III institutions, 2 percent from NJCAA institutions and 3 percent from NAIA institutions. Also, 74 percent of the respondents coached men’s college golf and 26 percent of the respondents coached women’s college golf.

Of these coaches…

  • 22 percent got up to 3650 emails per year
  • 15 percent got between 3650-5475 emails per year
  • 16 percent got between 5840-7300 emails per year
  • 4 percent got between 7665-9125 emails per year
  • 24 percent got between 9490-18250 emails per year
  • 19 percent got over 18615 emails per year

Among Division I coaches, 87 percent of respondents noted that less than 10 percent of the emails they received interested them, with higher-ranked schools moving closer to 1 percent or not at all. So, for the coach getting 3650 emails per year, about 360 of them are getting responses, however a response is not necessarily
going to lead to a spot. Those getting responses need to understand that beyond those students who are sending emails, the coach is probably chasing another 200-300 students. This means the odds of converting the email into a scholarship opportunity is probably close to 1 in 300+.

In the data collection, we also asked college coaches what percent of the emails are coming from “recruiting services,” and 27 percent of coaches are getting less than 10 percent from recruiting services, while 38 percent of coaches are getting up to 25 percent, 23 percent are getting up to 50 percent, and 12 percent are getting more than 50 percent of their emails from recruiting services.

The last question we asked coaches, is “what are you looking for on a resume?” This is maybe the most important question since, if you’re one of the 43 percent of coaches getting approximately 10,000 emails or more, you’re probably not looking at the resume very long. Not surprisingly, 92 percent of coaches listed scores, with 23 percent of schools also listing academics.

What the Data Tells Us

Parents, coaches and student athletes need to use resources available including our previous articles on GolfWRX, as well as research on school’s websites. The process of looking at schools should include:

1. Going on the team’s website to see how many players will graduate
2. Check the scoring average of the best 3 players. Average it. If you are at that or better, then you have a chance. If not, consider other schools.
3. Check the NJGS rankings of their players from the previous year, do you fall within 10 percent of them? How does your scoring differential compare to theirs?
4. Ask yourself, are you at least at the average SAT of the school?
5. Ask yourself, can you afford at least 60 percent of the cost of attendance (for boys) of the school?

If you answer yes to all the questions, you have a fit and should email the school with your information, including your NJGS ranking and SAT in the subject line. If you don’t have a yes to these, then start over until you do, as these are the schools that are highly likely to respond.

The data collected in this survey shows that up to 90 percent of people are not looking in the right place which points to a combination of lack of information, poor feedback and in some cases pure narcissism. The fact is that there are 300 Division I teams, each are going to take about 2 players per year, that means you need to be in the top 600 players in the world.

The fact is that today’s college players, especially at major conference schools are ridiculously good. Don’t believe me? Well the University of Arkansas women’s golf team is a combined 57-under par for their first two events and the University of Florida men’s team boast 4 current players or recruits within the top 52 players in the WAGR (Tosti, Axelson, Hong and Zhang), as well as the No. 1 player from NJGS in 2017 (Lee).

The results also demonstrate that 35 percent of coaches are getting significant amounts of emails from “recruiting services.” If you are signing up for these services, BEWARE; some coaches are getting up to 2000 emails per year from these services. I will let you figure out the odds this will turn into an opportunity for you (Hint: it rhymes with hero).

Concluding Thoughts

When considering college sport, it is important to see the value of the experience; playing sport keeps young people engaged and allows them to build valuable developmental assets like time management and leadership. It also gives them the opportunity to get up to 50+ tournaments of experience, which can prove transformational. In my opinion these opportunities are a fantastic reason to choose college sport over other opportunities.

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Brendan is the owner of Golf Placement Services, a boutique business which aims to apply his background in golf and higher education to help educate players, their families and coaches about the process! Website - www.golfplacementservices.com Insta - golf.placement.sevices Twitter @BMRGolf

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. KCCO

    Oct 25, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    I know it’s kind of apples to oranges, but I played baseball at a very (I guess you would call it) a highly regarded baseball high school, among others in surrounding area. I think colleges, and major league scouts were way ahead of who they were looking at as if you are that good, you are already on everyone’s list. We had kids giving their word and getting partial contracts their junior year. Some made it, some didn’t. The same goes for colleges. They knew who was good enough as there is such a small percentage. Again it’s not golf, but being it’s a smaller sample as baseball is more dominant they know who they are looking at. Not saying it’s not worth trying, but if your in top 500 in the country, they are aware. Top 100 your already being spoken too. Just my .02

  2. emb

    Oct 23, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I doubt Coaches getting that many emails just from jr golfers. That many emails total maybe, but only a small percentage of the total from jr golfers. I played D1 golf and I agree with the 5 recommendations the author gives on which schools you email, but dont be afraid to shoot high. Once you have a good template created you can fire off dozens of emails in a short period of time and it doesn’t cost anything to send an email, the worst thing that can happen is they don’t respond. In which case, most people aren’t getting responses so don’t worry. In the end, practicing hard and getting the best results possible matters more than sending a good email. Play good golf and the rest will sort itself out.

  3. alexdub

    Oct 21, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Maybe they are counting their spam emails too?

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Podcasts

Mondays Off (Ep. 3): “Where does Tiger’s 2018 Tour Champ win rank among his 80 career wins?”

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Was Tiger Woods’ win at the 2018 Tour Championship one of the best victories of his career? Did this win complete the greatest comeback in sports history? Is Tiger definitely going to win another major? Can he still catch Jack Nicklaus? Club pro Steve Westphal and GolfWRX Editor Andrew Tursky cover everything Tiger Woods and more on this episode of the newly named “Mondays Off” podcast.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Opinion & Analysis

Tiger Woods completes arguably the greatest comeback story in sports history

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Sports have an uncanny way of teaching us about life. And there’s no greater life lesson than the athlete and the man who goes by Tiger Woods.

I first fell in love with golf while watching Tiger play the 1997 Masters with my father. Tiger is the reason that I, like millions of golfers throughout the world, including some of his professional contemporaries today, started playing and loving the game.

For basically his entire life, from the moment he appeared on The Mike Douglas Show at 2-years-old, until his world came infamously crashing down on Thanksgiving 2009, he was “perfect.” He was dominant, impactful, charismatic and invincible — what the world uncovered, however, was that his persona was a carefully crafted facade.

While he continued to play great golf despite injuries and surgeries through 2014, his Superman cape was tarnished, and his respect as a man was all but diminished.

From 2014 until 2017, the world watched Tiger Woods the athlete decay. He’d make minor comebacks after major back surgeries, but the letters “WD” replaced the number “1” next to Tiger’s name on leaderboards for years. And he also developed what was either the chipping yips, or an utter breakdown in his once-superior chipping technique. To all observers, aside from Tiger apologists, it seemed his golf career was likely over.

What was tragic for Tiger the athlete looked as though it’d turn into a tragedy for Tiger the man after his very public DUI in 2017 following his spine fusion surgery earlier that year. Tiger was completely vulnerable, and seemingly, completely broken. He was whatever the opposite is of his former self. Had he faded into oblivion after that, it would have been understandable, if not recommended.

But that’s not what happened. Despite every talking head in sports media saying Tiger was done (not that I didn’t agree at the time), Tiger waited for his back to heal upon doctors orders, then began his comeback to golf. It started with videos on social media of him chipping, then hitting irons, then his patented stinger.

In December of 2017, Tiger finished T9 in the 18-player field at his Hero World Challenge… a respectable finish considering what he had been through. As the season continued, he pieced together 4 consecutive rounds on many occasions, actually giving himself a few chances to win tournaments (the Valspar, Arnold Palmer, Quicken Loans and the Open come to mind). But his late-tournament confidence was clearly shaken; he was struggling to close the deal.

At the 2018 PGA Championship, Tiger had the attention of the entire sporting world when it looked that he had a serious chance to win his 15th major. But ultimately, he finished runner-up to a superior golfer that week in Brooks Koepka. All things considered, the week was a win for Tiger and his confidence… but it wasn’t a win.

The questions changed after the PGA Championship from “Can Tiger win again?” to “When will Tiger win again?”

Well, that question has been answered. Tiger Woods won the 2018 Tour Championship. Is it a major? No, it’s not. Some say the event itself is essentially just a money grab for the best 30 players of the season. But that’s the thing; the tournament hosts the best 30 players of the season all competing for big money. And you can bet it matters to the players on top of the leaderboard.

Tiger’s Tour Championship victory doesn’t mean he’s going to beat Jack’s record. Because he probably won’t. And maybe he won’t even win another major, although he’ll surely be the betting favorite at the 2019 Masters now. But, to me at least, his win marks the completion of the greatest comeback story in all of sports. And not only that, the conclusion to an important life lesson — don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

No athlete has been written off more than Tiger Woods, especially in the era of social media that gives every critic in the world a microphone. No athlete has reached a higher high, and a relatively lower low than Tiger Woods. He went through it all — a broken marriage, public shaming, legal issues, a deteriorated skill set, surgeries, injuries, and arguably most impactful of all, humanization.

Tiger Woods came back from not just a 28-3 deficit on the scoreboard (Patriots-Falcons reference), and he didn’t score eight points in 9 seconds (Reggie Miller reference, sorry Knicks fans and sorry Dad), and he didn’t get hit by a bus (Ben Hogan), but he got hit hard by the bus of life, and he now stands tall in the winner’s circle.

Maybe that’s why sports teaches us so much about life; because sports is life. Not in the way that nothing else matters except sports, but in the way that sports is played by imperfect humans. When the ball goes in the air, or onto to the tee, or the starting bell rings, nothing is certain and nothing is given. And when things are looking bad, like really really bad, it’s how you respond that truly matters. Isn’t that what life is?

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Courses

Ari’s Course Reviews: Sand Hills Golf Club in Nebraska

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There are so many fantastic golf courses throughout the world, and it’s all of the incredibly varied fields of play that make the game so great to me. The most random places in the world can be home to some of the best golf courses. When deciding which course to write about next, it seemed natural to write about my personal favorite course in the world., which happens to be in a very unexpected place.

If you told me I could go anywhere in the world for a round of golf tomorrow, I would be blazing a trail to the area just south of Mullen, Nebraska and playing Sand Hills Golf Club. Sand Hills opened for play on June 23, 1995 and is one of the most natural golf courses you can find anywhere in the world. There was very little dirt moved and most of the money spent building the course was spent on installing irrigation. The course is built entirely on sand, and was designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Bill Coore speaks on the design here.

For a bit more background, here’s an old CBS Sunday Morning segment on Sand Hills…

The course lies in the middle of the Sand Hills region of Nebraska, which makes up about one-third of the state. The area has huge, natural dunes everywhere that are much more reminiscent of Scotland or Ireland than the flat part of Nebraska along I-80 that most people associate with the state. Because of the firm, mostly fescue, sand-based fairways at Sand Hills, and the ever-present wind, the course plays like a links course though the bent grass greens rival any top country club for speed and purity. In fact, the fastest greens I have ever seen in person were at Sand Hills in late September.

The course has a tasteful amount of variety and challenge. The three par 5s are of the best sets in the world and include 1) a fantastic mid-length par 5 starting hole that is one of the best starting holes in golf, 2) a very reachable but exacting hole in the 14th, and 3) in my opinion, the best long par 5 in golf, the 613 yard 16th.

The par 4s vary from the long uphill 485-yard monster 18th, to the 7th, which at less than 300 yards still sees a lot more 5s and 6s than 3s. The par 3s are masterful starting with the 3rd playing a little over 200 yards downhill to a sprawling side hill green where you can hit driver one day and 7 iron the next. The 6th is 185 yards slightly downhill to maybe my favorite green on the course with definitely my favorite hole location in the front left of the green to a semi-blind spot in a little bowl.  The 13th is a 215-yard uphill monster that can be the hardest hole in relation to par on the course. Lastly the 17th is a 150-yard work of art to a little triangle shaped green and is definitely in the discussion for best short par 3 in the world.

Aside from a great variety in distance of the holes, the topography also presents an amazing amount of variety on the ground. Due to the random nature of the bounce of the ball, the undulating and random fairway contours, and the wind that can blow in literally any direction, the course never plays the same twice. There are just so many great holes out there that I really wouldn’t argue with any of the 18 holes being someone’s favorite. Personally, I can’t name a favorite as it seems to change every time I think about it. The routing is fantastic with both 9s returning to Ben’s Porch, which serves as the home base for the course where people eat lunch, have a post-round drink and generally enjoy one of the best views in all of golf. The course has a good amount of elevation change but is a dream to walk with very short green to tee transitions. It simply is as close to perfect as you can get in my mind.

While the focus of my reviews are on the golf course and not the amenities, I would be remiss if I did not mention the down-to-earth, welcoming people that make up the staff at Sand Hills. Any time I’ve been lucky enough to be at the club I have felt more like I was visiting family and friends than a golf club. When you combine the welcoming and friendly atmosphere of the club, some of the best food in the world and my personal favorite golf course to play anywhere in the world, you have an experience so special its hard to put into words.

Enjoy the collection of photos below from Dan Moore, and make sure to check out my other reviews in the links at the bottom of the page!

Hole No. 1

Hole No. 2

Hole No. 4

Hole No. 8

Hole No. 9

Hole No. 13

Hole No. 14

Hole No. 16

Hole No. 18

Ari’s Other Course Reviews

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