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Opinion & Analysis

A new NCAA transfer rule gets passed… and college coaches are NOT happy



New rules just keep on coming from the NCAA; college coaches are not happy about this one.

In a summer of block buster coaching changes, the NCAA has done its best to stay atop the news cycle by making some significant changes, which will impact the recruitment process. In an article two months ago entitled “The effect the NCAA’s new recruiting rules will have on college golf,” I spoke to college coaches about a new rule, which will not allow unofficial or official visits until September 1 of the players Junior Year. To go along with this rule, the NCAA has also put in place a new recruiting calendar which will limit the sum of the days of off campus recruiting between a head and assistant coach to 45 days starting August 1, 2018.

The 45-day rule will have several potential impacts for both recruits and assistant coaches. For recruits, it is likely that after a couple (2-3) evaluations, coaches will make offers and ask for speed responses to ensure they are not missing out on other options. I also think you will see far less assistant coaches recruiting, which ultimately hurts their opportunities to learn the art of recruitment.

The new transfer rule

In the past, players were subject to asking their present institution for either permission to contact other schools regarding transfer, or a full release.

Now, starting October 15, players can simply inform their institution of their intensions to leave and then start contacting other schools to find an opportunity. This is a drastic shift in policy, so I decided to poll college coaches to get their reactions.

The poll was conducted anonymously via Survey Monkey. Participation was optional and included 6 questions:

  1. New NCAA Legislation will allow players to transfer without a release starting October 2018. Do you support this rule change?
  2. Do you believe that this rule will have APR implications?
  3. Who do you think will benefit most from this rule?
  4. What are the benefits of allowing students to transfer without a release? What are the potential harms?
  5. New NCAA Legislation will make December a dead period for recruiting off campus. Do you support this legislation?
  6. What implications do you see for this rule?

In all, 62 Division I golf coaches responded, or about 10 percent of all Division I coaches in Men’s and Women’s Golf. The results show that 81.25 percent of DI coaches said that they do NOT support the rule change for transfers.

Also, 90 percent of coaches polled believe that the rule will have APR implications. APR is Academic Progress Rate which holds institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes through a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term.

The APR is calculated as follows:

  • Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one point for staying in school and one point for being academically eligible.
  • A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by 1,000 to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate.
  • In addition to a team’s current-year APR, its rolling four-year APR is also used to determine accountability.

Teams must earn a four-year average APR of 930 to compete in championships.

While the APR is intended as an incentive-based approach, it does come with a progression of penalties for teams that under-perform academically over time.

The first penalty level limits teams to 16 hours of practice per week over five days (as opposed to 20 over six days), with the lost four hours to be replaced with academic activities.

A second level adds additional practice and competition reductions, either in the traditional or non-championship season, to the first-level penalties. The third level, where teams could remain until their rate improves, includes a menu of possible penalties, including coaching suspensions, financial aid reductions and restricted NCAA membership.

Clearly coaches are not happy about the move and feel that the rule unfairly benefits both the student athletes and major conference schools, who may have a swell of calls around middle of October as Student athletes play great fall golf and look to transfer. Although coaches are unhappy about the new rule, it is very difficult to predict what direct impact the rule will have on teams; coaches are extremely smart and understand recruiting and development within the frame work of college better than anyone can imagine. As a result, I think coaches will react in many ways which are impossible to predict.

The survey also asked, “new NCAA Legislation will make December a dead period for recruiting off campus. Do you support this legislation?” For this, coaches were more divided with 45 percent in favor of the rule, and 55 percent not.

Although coaches supported the legislation, many (41/62) suggested that it would potentially hurt international recruiting at tournaments like Doral and the Orange Bowl and they had, in the past, used December as a time to recruit.

As we move forward with these changes, here are some potential things that recruits, and their families should consider, including consequences of the rules:

  1. With a limit of 45 days and these transfer rules, it is likely that coaches will be doing significantly more investigation into a player’s personalities and family situation to make sure they know what they are getting.
  2. Coaches may also start skipping over better players in favor of kids they think will be a good fit and are likely to stay
  3. Rosters may get bigger, as coaches are trying to have larger numbers to potentially offset transfers

Unfortunately, we enter a new era of rules at the worst time; we have never had a more competent and deep group of college coaches, the clear majority of whom are tremendous stewards of the game. Hopefully this rule will have insignificant effect on the continued growth of college golf but only time will tell.

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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 - Insta - golf.placement.sevices Twitter @BMRGolf



  1. College Golfer

    Nov 29, 2018 at 8:18 am

    I think the new rules are great. Student Athletes at some schools are taken for granted by their coaches. I’ve experienced this. When students are treated without respect perhaps a change is a good thing. Yes, even players who compete in every tournament can be unhappy at their current school. Coaches have made it clear that if you ask to be placed on transfer list, you will have aid money pulled, lose access to practice facility and not compete.

    I think you’ll see better players make moves after the competition schedule is completed in the fall or late spring. If a golfer has a scoring average of 70, has all rounds count for team scores, high tournament finishes but is under compensated in the form of scholarship he should be free to leave without penalty. When coaching changes happen, players should be free to move without threats from the current university. Frankly if a coach signals that he feels one of his best players is average with low scholarship money, then that coach should recognize that he may lose that player.

    College golf requires greater expenses then just tuition, room and board. First they need a car to get back and forth to
    Practice, that means expenses for gas, insurance, maintenance and parking. Many campuses don’t have parking for freshmen and sophomores so off campus housing is required (at greater expense), add time demands of meeting with donors, academic requirements, fitness training, practice and travel the lifestyle can be tough. If I’m getting 50% COA on a team with 9 players, mathematically that means coaches think I’m average. If I play all events, all my scores count and another player is at 100% and he doesn’t play and scores don’t always count why not leave if coaches don’t consider my requests for more $.

    The reality is that for a dedicated college golfer it costs about 50% more than COA to attend. Then add off season amateur events between semesters and over summer and that’s easily another $12-15,000.

    The challenge for top players is selecting their time to get on the new transfer list. I think spring after conference, regionals and NCAA will see the better players making moves.

  2. Golf Mom

    Jun 29, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Thank goodness someone is finally looking out for these young people. From a parents perspective, my experience kids are used as pawns. Rather harsh but honest! There is definitely a lack of integrity and transparency. Hopefully this will allow young people that have worked so hard to have a voice in planning their future.

  3. Jeremy Ellis

    Jun 23, 2018 at 9:36 am

    If coaches could switch schools without a waiver, then players should have the same opportunity. If a player does switch, do you have to sit out a year or is that only in D1 football?

  4. Doug Gordin

    Jun 22, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    As the old indian saying says, do not judge until you have walked a mile in my moccasins…Until you have coached college teams you can’t understand. This rule gives all the authority to the athletes, they can now come and go as they please. One little thing going wrong and they will want to move on or as I call it, give up. It is reflective of our society today. Very rare for a kid to buck up and tough it out. Not being taught that at home anymore and this new rule just encourages that attitude. The Coaches will now be basically powerless over the players, only thing they have control of now is playing time. Not a good move at all in my opinion.

    • Fred

      Jun 23, 2018 at 9:33 pm

      AMEN to that, Doug!

    • Commoner

      Jun 25, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      Boo hoo!!! Get real Buster! Imagine the temerity of the indentured servant seeking blessed permission to ‘run his own life.’

  5. Coaches are hypocrites

    Jun 22, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Until there is restrictions on coaches quitting and taking new jobs while the players they signed are still in school I will have no sympathy for them.

    Oh that cannot happen because there’s restrictions on how to treat employees? Fine, realize the student athletes are employees too and are compensated with tuition and they are free to leave like the coaches.

  6. Retired Mizuno Rep

    Jun 22, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    The scholarship athlete should have some skin in the game and not be allowed to pick up and leave without any recourse.
    He is getting a paid for education .
    Put a price on that .

    • Richard Douglas

      Jun 23, 2018 at 3:01 am

      YOU are allowed to “pick up and leave without any recourse” in your job, right? You’re getting paid, right? You can put a price on that, right?

      How are student athletes any different?

      Let’s stop treating athletes like chattel and instead treat them like people. Let’s protect their rights and let them make an income, too. If they want to change schools, fine, it should be their right to do so. If another school wants to compete for their services, fine, let them.

      Finally, don’t over-estimate the value of a scholarship. First, it’s an “at will” situation; a scholarship can be withdrawn for any reason without recourse. Second, it hardly constitutes a “paid for” experience–student athletes often face huge expenses with little ability to accept other assistance in meeting them. Finally, a great number of athletes put in so much time towards athletics that they cannot fully leverage their scholarships–nor defer them to a later date when they’re done competing.

      • Commoner

        Jun 25, 2018 at 7:12 pm

        Excellent comment. Many people have been persuaded (conned) by the carnival barker only to be disappointed (crushed) once inside the tent. Suggested remedies?

  7. Steve

    Jun 22, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    “Clearly coaches are not happy about the move and feel that the rule unfairly benefits both the student athletes and major conference schools”

    Oh no. How dare those student athletes. Why should they benefit from the rules? Don’t they know the rules were designed to take advantage of them?

  8. JJVas

    Jun 22, 2018 at 11:58 am

    The new rules are a great first step. I understand that this complicates recruiting, but guess what? Coaches also need to MAINTAIN good relationships with their players, not just lock them up. Since eligibility works like a clock, one bad move can effectively end a college playing career. Coaches are also willing and able to move on to different schools, and those players should never be bound to a school in that instance.

  9. Zi1ian

    Jun 22, 2018 at 11:05 am

    81.25% of D1 coaches care less about their unpaid student-athletes and more about their career and professional legacy.

  10. regripped

    Jun 22, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Who cares what coaches think? Colleges are there to benefit the students and the NCAA has for too long restricted student-athletes and this is a first good step to treating them like human beings rather than property of an institution.

  11. Brooky03

    Jun 22, 2018 at 10:52 am

    The rule change was necessary and the right move to benefit the student-athletes. There are only APR concerns if a player doesn’t finish the semester. Since most transfers occur between semesters, the APR impact should be minimal. If a kid transfers at the end of the Fall semester, the Spring semester doesn’t count against the team.

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The Gear Dive: TrackMan’s Tour Operations Manager Lance Vinson Part 1 of 2



In this episode of The Gear Dive brought to you by Titleist, Johnny chats with TrackMans Lance Vinson on an all things TrackMan and its presence on Tour. It’s such a deep dive that they needed two shows to cover it all.

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

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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Opinion & Analysis

An open letter to golf



Dear golf,

I know it has been some time since we last spoke, but I need you to know I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you again.

It was just a few months ago I walked crowded isles, stood shoulder to shoulder, and talked endlessly with likeminded individuals about you and your promising future in 2020 at the PGA Show. At that time, the biggest concern in my life was whether I had packed the perfect dress-to-casual pant ratio and enough polos to get through the mayhem of six days in Orlando. Oh, how the times have changed.

On a professional level, what started with the LPGA Tour a few weeks prior progressed quickly at The Players Championship, when you ground to a complete halt within days. As much as it was a tough decision, it was the right decision, and I admire the judgment made by your leaders. Soon after, outside of the professional ranks followed suit and courses everywhere began shutting doors and asked golfers to keep away.

This is the right decision. For now and for the foreseeable future, as much as I don’t like it, I understand how important it is we let experienced health medical professionals make choices and craft policies for the wellbeing of people everywhere. Although, judging by the indoor short game trickery I have witnessed over the last 10 days, handicaps could be dropping when you finally return.

As a game, you are over 200 years old. You have survived pandemics, wars, depression, drought, and everything else that has been thrown at you. Much like the human spirit, you will continue on thanks to the stories and experiences others passed down and enjoyed.

I know you will survive because I also plan on surviving. As long as there are people willing to tend to your grounds and maintain your existence, I will also exist ready to take on your challenge.

When you are able to return in full, I will be here.


Ryan Barath (on behalf of golfers everywhere)


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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Improving your short iron and wedge impact



One of my most appreciated aspects of this nearly 40 years in the golf equipment industry is the practically endless stream of “ah ha” moments that I have experienced. One that I want to share with you today will–I hope–give you a similar “ah ha moment” and help you improve your ball striking with your high lofted short irons and wedges.

As I was growing up, we always heard the phrase, “thin to win” anytime we hit an iron shot a little on the skinny side (not a complete skull, mind you). When you caught that short iron or wedge shot a bit thin, it seemed you always got added distance, a lower trajectory and plenty of spin. It was in a testing session back in the early 2000s when this observation met with some prior learning, hence the “ah ha moment” for me.

I was in Fredericksburg, Virginia, testing some wedge prototypes with a fitter there who was one of the first to have a TrackMan to measure shot data. I had hit about two dozen full pitching wedges for him to get a base of data for me to work from. The average distance was 114 yards, with my typical higher ball flight than I like, generating an average of about 7,000 rpms of spin. What I noticed, however, was those few shots that I hit thin were launching noticeably lower, flying further and had considerably more spin. Hmmm.

So, I then started to intentionally try to pick the ball off the turf, my swing thought being to actually try to almost “blade” the shot. As I began to somewhat “perfect” this, I saw trajectories come down to where I’d really like them, distance increased to 118-120 and spin rates actually increased to about 8,000 rpms! I was taking no divot, or just brushing the grass after impact, but producing outstanding spin. On my very best couple of swings, distance with my pitching wedge was 120-122 with almost 10,000 rpms of spin! And a great trajectory.

So, I began to put two and two together, drawing on the lessons about gear effect that I had learned back in the 1980s when working with Joe Powell in the marketing of his awesome persimmon drivers. You all know that gear effect is what makes a heel hit curve/fade back toward the centerline, and a heel hit curves/draws back as well. The “ah ha” moment was realizing that this gear effect also worked vertically, so shots hit that low on the face “had no choice” but to fly lower, and take on more spin.

I had always noticed that tour players’ and better amateurs’ face wear pattern was much lower on the face than that of recreational golfers I had observed, so this helped explain the quality of ball flight and spin these elite players get with their wedges and short irons.

I share this with you because I know we all often misinterpret the snippets of advice we get from friends and other instructional content that is out there. To me, one of the most damaging is “hit down on the ball”. That is a relative truth, of course, but in my observation it has too many golfers attacking the ball with their short irons and wedges with a very steep angle of attack and gouging huge divots. The facts are that if the club is moving only slightly downward at impact, you will get the spin you want, and if the clubhead is moving on a rather shallow path, you will get a more direct blow to the back of the ball, better trajectory, more distance and improved spin. Besides, shallow divots are easier on the hands and joints.

If this is interesting to you, I suggest you go to the range and actually try to blade some wedge shots until you somewhat groove this shallower path through impact and a lower impact point on your clubface. As you learn to do this, you will be able to zero in on the proper impact that produces a very shallow divot, and a great looking shot.

[TIP: If you will focus on the front edge of the ball – the side closest to the target – it will help you achieve this kind of impact.]

It will take some time, but I believe this little “experiment” will give the same kind of “ah ha moment” it gave me.

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