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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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Opinion & Analysis

Skateboarding legend Steve Caballero on why golf is cool (Bonus: must-watch golf trick)

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GolfWRX recently spent time in Los Angeles, California where we investigated skate culture, and why so many skateboarders are starting to play golf. There is much, much more content that we will release in the coming weeks from this journey, but we thought this was an interesting place to start.

Spear-headed by Bert Lamar of Iliac Golf, who grew up skateboarding and snowboarding (ever heard of Lamar Snowboards? that’s him), we spoke with skateboarding legends Steve Caballero and Tony Hawk about the golf-skateboarding relationship.

Steve spoke with Bert about his recent introduction into the world of golf, what’s drawing him in, and how skateboarding is similar to golf. Enjoy a transcription of that conversation below (edited for brevity), and check out our trick golf shot with him at the bottom of the story!

Fun fact: Steve Cab is the inspiration behind the Vans Half Cab shoe (“half-Cab” was a trick that he invented, and he also advised Vans to make a mid-height shoe that was given the same name).

Skating, music, art and… golf?

I’m traveling a lot around the world. Skating, I do a lot of artwork these days. So I’ve been traveling to Japan, and I’m going to France in two weeks, to ride motorcycles, skate, do art, play some music… I’m kind of all over the board when it comes to being creative, and just kind of expanding my capabilities and possibilities of things, and now golf has become a new challenge for me. My oldest brother used to play golf with my dad, and that’s something that they shared together, and my brother’s been trying to get me to play golf for probably around 10 years. And I’ve just always said “no, no, no, I’m too busy”… I ride dirt bikes, I mountain bike, I skate for a living. [I started playing golf] to please my brother. I was like, “you know what, ok”…. We went out and hit some balls, [at] the range, and I definitely got a feel for what it takes to hit the ball and try to focus on what you’re doing and it really, really struck me; it is very challenging, and it kind of reminds me of skating in little ways.

How is skateboarding similar to golf?

Just technique, body position, repetition. I know golf is a very difficult sport, and I just knew if I indulge myself into it… I like challenges so anything that I get into I’m gonna focus on and that’s all I’m gonna do; I’m gonna eat, breathe and sleep golf… I know that golf is a little bit more safer than skateboarding in terms of bodily injury and getting hurt; breaking a wrist or your leg or concussion.

What makes golf cool?

I think what makes golf cool is the fact that you need to put work in and just to be good at it. You have to put a lot of time and focus into it. And I think what it is, you have to have that personality of wanting to challenge yourself at something. It’s something you can do on your own, something you can do with a group. That’s kinda why it reminds me of skating because it’s kind of the same thing, like, one day I’ll be able to do an “air” three-feet out, the next day, I can’t even grab my board…

Are you a natural at golf?

It’s a thing where I get into arguments with my older brother; I don’t believe in natural talent, everything is learned.

So, how about that trick shot, huh?

Our own editor Andrew Tursky and legend Steve Caballero collaborated on a golf trick shot during the interview session. Actually, this only took a couple tries. It turns out Steve is a good putter when using the wheel of his skateboard.

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Podcasts

Gear Dive: Mizuno’s Chris Voshall speaks on Brooks Koepka’s U.S. Open-winning irons

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Mizuno’s Chief Engineer Chris Voshall speaks on how Brooks Koepka was the one that almost got away, and why Mizuno irons are still secretly the most popular on Tour. Also, a couple of Tiger/Rory nuggets that may surprise a few people. It’s an hour geek-out with one of the true gems in the club biz. Enjoy!

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

Listen to the full podcast below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Opinion & Analysis

Hear It, Feel It, Believe It: A Better Bunker Method

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The following is an excerpt from Mike Dowd‘s upcoming novel, “Coming Home.” 

After picking the last of the balls on the driving range, Tyler cornered Mack as he hit a few shots from the old practice bunker to wind down at the end of the day. Mack was hitting one after another, alternating between the three flags on the practice green and tossing them up about as softly as if he was actually lobbing them each up there underhanded.

Tyler just stood there, mesmerized at first by the mindless ease with which Mack executed the shot. Bunker shots, Tyler silently lamented, were likely the biggest hole in his game, and so after Mack had holed his third ball in a couple of dozen, Tyler finally decided he had to ask him a question.

“What are you thinking about on that shot, Mack?” Tyler interrupted him suddenly.

Mack hit one more that just lipped out of the closest hole, paused a few seconds, and then looked up at his protégé in what Tyler could only interpret as a look of confusion.

“What am I thinking about?” he finally replied. “I don’t know, Tyler… I’d hate to think how I’d be hittin’ ‘em if I actually started thinking.”

Tyler gave Mack a slightly exasperated look and put his hands on his hips as he shook his head. “You know what I mean. Your technique. I guess I should have said what exactly are you doing there from a mechanics standpoint? How do you get it to just land so softly and roll out without checking?”

Mack seemed to be genuinely considering Tyler’s more elaborately articulated question, and after a moment began, more slowly this time, as if he was simplifying his response for the benefit of a slightly thick-headed young student who wasn’t getting his point.

“You can’t think about technique, Tyler… at least not while you’re playing,” Mack replied. “There’s no quicker path back to your father’s garage than to start thinking while you’re swinging, especially thinking about technique. That’s my job.”

“Mack,” Tyler insisted, “How am I supposed to learn to hit that shot without understanding the technique? I’ve got to do something different than what I’m doing now. I’m putting too much spin on my shots, and I can’t always tell when it’s going to check and when it’s going to release a little. How do I fix that?”

“Well, not by thinking, certainly,” Mack fired right back as if it was the most ridiculous line of inquiry he’d ever heard. “A good bunker shot can be heard, Tyler, and felt, but you can’t do either of those if you’re focused on your technique. You feel it inside of you before you even think about actually hitting it. Watch, and listen.”

With that Mack swung down at the sand and made a thump sound as his club went through the soft upper layer of sand and bounced on the firmer sand below.

“You hear that?” Mack asked. “That’s what a good bunker shot sounds like. If you can hear it, then you can feel it. If you can feel it, then you can make it, but you can’t make that sound until you hear it first. Your body takes care o’ the rest. You don’t have to actually tell it what to do.”

Tyler still looked puzzled, but, knowing Mack as he did, this was the kind of explanation he knew he should have expected. Coach Pohl would have gone into an eight-part dissertation on grip, stance, club path, release points, weight transfer, and so forth, and Tyler suddenly realized how much he’d come to adopt his college coach’s way of thinking in the past four years. Mack though? He just said you’ve got to hear it.

“Get in here,” Mack said suddenly, gesturing to the bunker and offering the wedge to Tyler. “Now close your eyes.”

“What?!” Tyler almost protested.

“Just do it, will ya’?” Mack insisted.

“Okay, okay,” Tyler replied, humoring his coach.

“Can you hear it?” Mack asked.

“Hear what?” Tyler answered. “All I hear is you.”

“Hear that sound, that thump.” It was Mack’s turn to be exasperated now. “It was only moments ago when I made it for you. Can’t you still hear it?”

“Oh, remember it you mean,” Tyler said. “Okay, I know what you mean now. I remember it.”

“No, you obviously don’t know what I mean,” Mack replied. “I wanted to know if you can hear it, in your mind, hear the actual sound. Not remember that I’d made it. There’s a big difference.”

Tyler suddenly did feel kind of dumb. He wasn’t picking up what Mack was getting at, at least not exactly how he wanted him to get it, and so he sat there with his eyes closed and gripped the club like he was going to hit a shot, waggled it a bit as if he was getting ready, and then opened his eyes again.

“Okay,” he said suddenly. “I think I can hear it now.”

“Don’t open your eyes,” Mack almost hissed. “Now make it, make that sound. Make that thump.”

Tyler swung down sharply and buried the head of the wedge into the sand where it almost stopped before exiting.

“That’s not a thump,” Mack said shaking his head. “That’s a thud. You can’t even get the ball out with that pitiful effort. Give me that!”

He took the wedge back from Tyler and said, “Now watch and listen.”

Mack made a handful of swings at the sand, each one resulting in a soft thump as the club bottomed out and then deposited a handful of sand out of the bunker. Tyler watched each time as the head of the club came up sharply, went down again, hit the sand, and came back up abruptly in a slightly abbreviated elliptical arc. Each time Tyler listened to the sound, embedding it as he studied how the club entered and exited the sand. Mack stopped suddenly and handed the club back to Tyler.

“Now you make that sound,” he said, “and as you do remember how it feels in your hands, your forearms, your chest, and most importantly in your head.”

“What?” Tyler asked, looking back up at Mack, confused at his last comment.

“Just do it,” Mack said. “Hear it, feel it, then do it, but don’t do it before you can hear it and feel it. Now close your eyes.”

Tyler did as he was told, closing his eyes and then settling his feet in as he tried to picture in his mind what Mack had been doing. At first, he just stood there waggling the club until he could see the image in his mind of Mack hitting the sand repeatedly, and then he could hear the soft thump as the club hit the sand. He started to swing but was interrupted by Mack’s voice.

“Can you feel it?” Mack said. “Don’t go until you can feel it.”

“Well, at first I could see the image in my mind of you hitting that shot over and over again,” Tyler said, opening his eyes and looking at Mack, “and then I could hear it. It sort of followed right in behind it.”

“Ah, the image is a good starting point, but you can’t just see it and hear it, you need to feel it,” Mack replied, pointing to his head. “Feel it in here, and then you can feel it here,” he continued, putting his hands together like he was gripping a club. “Now close your eyes again.”

“Okay,” Tyler said, not sure he was getting it, but finally bought in. He settled in again and began waggling the club until he could see Mack swinging and hear the subtle thump of the sand. He let it just loop in his mind, over and over again, until suddenly he could feel it like he was the one doing it, and then he swung.

Thump came the sound as the flange of his wedge hit the sand. It was his swing, but it was different, maybe not to the naked eye, but in the speed, the level of tension, and the release. He opened his eyes again, almost tentatively, and looked at Mack with a combination of curiosity and amazement.

“I felt it that time,” Tyler said in a voice that seemed to resonate within from somewhere in the past. It almost sounded like Jackie’s in its exuberance.

“Yes… good,” Mack replied patiently. “Now close your eyes and do it again, but make sure you can feel it before you pull the trigger.”

Tyler settled in again, waited until, like the last time, he could see it, hear it, and then finally feel it… Thump… Something was slightly different this time, though, and Tyler opened his eyes to notice Mack kneeling down next to him. He had quietly deposited a ball into the place where Tyler had swung. Tyler looked up in the direction of the green and the target flag he had been aiming toward just in time to see a ball slow to a gentle stop about four inches from the flag.

“How’d you do that?” Tyler said, almost in wonder now.

“I didn’t,” Mack replied. “You did. You just had to stop thinking. See it, hear it, and feel it. Once you feel it, you can believe it. Anything more is more than we need. Any questions?”

As Mack turned to walk up out of the bunker, Tyler just stood there shaking his head a moment, looking at the spot in the sand, and then back up at the green as if to confirm the ball he’d seen roll to stop was still there. “I guess I’ve still got a lot to learn.”

“Well… yes and no,” Mack said cryptically as he turned back to look at him. “You pretty much know how to hit all the shots, Tyler. You’ve hit every one of them at one time or another. You’ve just got to learn how to empty your head of all those instructions so you can focus on finding the shot you need when you need it. It’s in there somewhere.”

“It’s hard to explain,” Tyler said, “but a lot of times I walk up and think I somehow just instinctively know what shot to hit without even thinking about it. I just kind of see it and feel it. It’s when I start to analyze things a bit more closely, factoring in all the things I know are important to consider like the wind, keeping away from the short side, where I want to putt from, and the best trajectory or shot shape for the situation, that I often start to second guess that feeling.”

“Ever heard the saying paralysis from analysis?” Mack asked. “It pretty much describes those moments.”

“Yeah, I get it,” Tyler replied, “but all that information is important. You have to consider everything and not just make a rash decision.”

“Sure, information is important, but you can’t get lost in it,” Mack countered. “Whether it’s golf, or just about anything else in life, Tyler, you need to learn to trust your gut. You’ve hit hundreds of thousands of shots in your life, Tyler. All those shots leave a mark. They leave an indelible little mark that gets filed away in your brain subconsciously, getting stacked one on top of the other. And after years of playing the game, those stacks and stacks of shots create an instinctive reaction to each situation. It’s like gravity. It pulls you in a certain direction so much that most of the time you almost know what club you should hit before you even know the yardage. Trust that, Tyler. Go with it, and know that first instinct comes from experience. There’s more wisdom in those gut reactions than just about anything else.”

“Thank you,” Tyler said after considering it a moment. “I think that’ll really help.”

“You’re welcome,” Mack replied. “Now rake that bunker for me and clean the balls off the green. I want to get things closed up before dark.”

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