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Opinion & Analysis

The numbers you need to get a college golf scholarship

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One of the most perplexing issues for junior golfers and their families is understanding where to look and how much scholarship (if any) they should expect. In this article, I want to introduce you to the coach’s perspective in recruiting, explain their thought process and then help you understand where to look and approximately how much to expect.

As a college student I was blessed to work a lot of college golf camps with a ton of great coaches. These coaches quickly taught me a lot, including a key rule when recruiting; when you first watch a player, image you can make four more copies. Then imagine with a team of five of them, where would you be ranked? Would you make regionals? Nationals? Match Play? Win it all?

Obviously at each level these numbers are different. So, let’s start by looking at some numbers:

In Division I Men’s Golf, the No. 1 team in Golfstat Cup finished with a scoring average of 69.99. The last team to make regionals (Michigan State) had an average score for their top four of 72.86. The 125th team at the end of the year last year was UC Riverside. The best player on the team averaged 73.93 for the year, while the fourth player averaged 77.51. Dartmouth was the 200th team had three players average better than 75 with the fourth player averaging 76.74.

In Division I Women’s, the No. 1 team in Golfstat Cup was Alabama which boasted an average of 70.93 among their top four. The last team to make regionals on the women’s side was Missouri. For the season, Missouri had a stroke average of 295.4. The 100th best team was Georgetown, with a scoring average of 303.64 (75.91 per player). The 200th best team in women’s golf was Appalachian State women’s golf. They had a team average of 312 (78 per player).

In DII Golf, West Florida Men were the best regular season team with a scoring average among their top four of 70.75. For Women, the best team, as well as eventual National Champions, was Indianapolis with a scoring average of 73.45 among their top four. The 25th team in DII Men’s Golf had an average among their top four of 73.47 and for women the number was 77.03. The 50th ranked team for Men averaged 294.7 as a team (73.675 per player), while the 50th women’s team averaged 322.3 (80.5 per player).

For DIII, the best men’s team was Methodist. Their top four averaged 73, while the top four for the best women’s team averaged 75.32. The 25th best men’s team top four averaged 74.96 and the top four for the 25th ranked women’s team averaged 81.37. The 50th ranked men’s team averaged 302.4 as a team (75.6 per player).

In the NAIA, the best men’s team top four averaged 71.64, while in women’s golf the number was 75.32. The 25th best men’s team averaged 73.13, while the 25th best women’s number was 78.53.

Now, let’s consider where you fit. Many students reading this article will have a ranking on Junior Golf Scoreboard. One aspect of the ranking is your scoring differential. Look that number up. Once you have it, add approximately one shot. Why one? For lots of reasons, including: college golf is likely harder, for many reasons not limited to having to balance school and golf, courses are less familiar, there can be more travel and you are often playing 72 holes in three grueling days.

Based on the competitive nature of college golf, most teams ranked within the top 30 percent of DI, 20 percent of DII and  five percent of DIII and NAIA will likely require a scoring differential of one or better to even become a candidate since the data suggests that they need players who in college can average 73 or better (at worst). When considering allotting their scholarships, coaches are going to strongly consider your ability to contribute “countable rounds”; what is the likelihood and how often will your score count. When coaches think you will count at least 75 percent of the time is when they are most likely to make substantial offers.

Obviously, not everyone reading this article has a scoring differential of one or better. This does not mean that you cannot play college golf, nor does it mean that you cannot get a scholarship. The data suggests that as schools move towards the mean, they become less interested in pure golf results and more interested in the player’s “fit;” that is how they will represent the school and preform academically, as well as shoot scores which can contribute to the team’s ability to finish within the top three at their conference tournament.

Players with higher scoring differentials should certainly be concerned about their golf, but it is likely that the most appealing thing they can do is earn good grades and high test scores. Since approximately 50 percent of programs at every level don’t have full scholarship allotments, they often rely on academic money to package intriguing financial packages to attract prospective student athletes.

For girls, the range is much greater. Likely girls with scoring differentials of four or better are going to get significant attention, but it is likely that anyone with a scoring differential of six or better has a chance to not only get a large scholarship but likely that will come at the Division I level. Again, for female perspective student athletes with scoring differentials above six, don’t worry, there are lots of opportunities, however, like your male counterparts, make sure to get the best grades and test scores possible. They are likely to help and save you thousands of dollars!

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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

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Walter

    Oct 24, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    I am a 48 year old with eligibility left. (2.0 handicap) LOL. What is the average yardage and course rating these players play?

    • Austin

      Nov 13, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      I play college golf for a high level division II team… I would say the average course we play is about 7,000-7,200 yards and has a course rating of around 74.5. In 4 rounds of qualifying, it typically takes a final score around Even (or roughly 288) to make the starting 5.

  2. Nuno

    Oct 24, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Do you have any college preparation coaches recommendations in Northern California for a 13 year old with a tournament play 1.3 handicap?

  3. Ryan Michael

    Oct 24, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    So simply break 80 and you’ll have numerous schools knocking at your doorstep. Yawn.

    • Adkskibum

      Oct 24, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Data analysis is not your strong suit is it?

    • Left Hand Down

      Dec 7, 2018 at 9:42 am

      Did you even read the article?

  4. Jamie

    Oct 24, 2018 at 11:08 am

    2 things:

    1. Makes no mention of the difference in course difficulty between DI and DIII and NAIA. Yes, there is a difference.
    2. Next time make a table and don’t bury the information in useless verbage.

    • Nancy

      Mar 2, 2019 at 12:58 pm

      Not 100% sure on your comment about course difficulty based on D1 vs NAIA.
      My NAIA school played , this Fall, PGA National West Palm, Doral Red Tiger and Blue Monster, Kinderlou plus Innisbrooke.

  5. mel

    Oct 24, 2018 at 10:30 am

    went through this whole scenario with my female junior player.
    i like to think that i was realistic about the possibility of scholarships.
    small D1 schools did not even reply to emails, resumes, phone calls, school
    visit to meet the coach. even though a few D1 schools offered scholarship ,ended up getting a partial scholarship to a small D2 program. she just did not like the campus and went with her gut feeling.
    in the end, i think it’s best for the student-athlete to happy with school and academics first.
    then golf would most likely be easier.

  6. Dan

    Oct 23, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    I was offered scholarships in 1994. I would’ve been laughed at today.

  7. AKaufman

    Oct 23, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Its tough, I graduated in 2005. Had a -0.5 under par average in high school.
    won some local amateur stuff.
    Was living in CA, best full ride offers I was getting was East coast D1’s not the big time programs. Most big western schools invited me to walk on and try out.

    • Adkskibum

      Oct 24, 2018 at 7:33 pm

      So, what did you do? did you take the East Coast offer? If so, how’d it work out?

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Opinion & Analysis

A different perspective

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A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to play a round with two of the greens keepers at a local golf course and it was a fascinating experience. It gave me a chance to get a behind-the-scenes view of what it takes to make a golf course great.

Many of us play at public courses, and sometimes its luck of the draw if the course we are at is in good condition. In my case, if I find a course that is well maintained and taken care of, I make it a regular stop. In this case, I was at Ridgeview Ranch in Plano Texas and it is a great public course and I play here at least once a month.

The two guys I played with were Tony Arellano and Jose Marguez. Both were great guys to share a round with. Tony shared what it’s like to make sure that all the greens are maintained properly and watered correctly. He showed me where there were some issues with one of the greens that I would never have noticed. We talked about how the invasion of Poa annua grass forces his guys to pull it out by hand with a tool that is smaller than a divot repair tool. It became clear to me that as a golf community, we need to lift up the people that do this labor-intensive work and thank them for all they do. Ridgeview Ranch is without a doubt one of the better public courses in my area, and it is because of the hard work these men do that keeps it this way.

As we watched the Masters tournament a few weeks ago we were awestruck by the awesome beauty of Augusta National and in my case I believe that is what heaven looks like. I think we take that kind of beauty for granted and forget the massive amount of time and hard work that go into making a golf course look good. These people have to deal with all of the different factors that Mother Nature throws at them and be prepared for anything. In addition to that, they also have to make sure the watering system is maintained as well as all of their equipment.

I have played at other courses in the DFW area that have a terrible staff and a superintendent that either don’t care about the course or don’t know how to stop it from falling apart. The course won’t spend the money to go get the right people that will take pride in their work. Some of these places will charge you more than $80 per round, and when you get to the first green that has dry spots that are without any grass you feel like you have been ripped off.

We all love this game not because it’s easy but because it’s a challenge and being good at it takes a ton of effort. We also love it because it gives us a chance to hang out with friends and family and enjoy time outside in the sun– hopefully without cell phone interruptions and other distractions of our modern day. We spend a ton of money on green fees, equipment and sometimes travel. We want to get what we pay for and we want to have a great course to spend the day at.

I wanted to write this article to thank all of those men and women that start work in the early hours of the day and work through the hottest stretches of the summer to keep our golf courses in great shape. They are people that never get the credit they deserve and we should always thank them whenever possible. Tony and Jose are just two examples of the people who work so hard for all of us. Ridgeview Ranch is lucky to have these two men who not only work hard but were fantastic representatives of their course. So next time you are out there and you see these people working hard, maybe stop and say thank you let them know what they do really makes a difference.

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Opinion & Analysis

5 most common golf injuries (and how to deal with them)

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You might not think about golf as a physically intensive game, but that doesn’t change the fact it is still a sport. And as with every sport, there’s a possibility you’ll sustain an injury while playing golf. Here’s a list of the five most common injuries you might sustain when playing the game, along with tips on how to deal with them in the best way possible so you heal quickly.

Sunburn

While not directly an injury, it’s paramount to talk about sunburns when talking about golf. A typical golf game is played outside in the open field, and it lasts for around four hours. This makes it extremely likely you’ll get sunburnt, especially if your skin is susceptible to it.

That’s why you should be quite careful when you play golf

Apply sunscreen every hour – since you’re moving around quite a lot on a golf course, sunscreen won’t last as long as it normally does.

Wear a golf hat – aside from making you look like a professional, the hat will provide additional protection for your face.

If you’re extra sensitive to the sun, you should check the weather and plan games when the weather is overcast.

Rotator Cuff Injury

A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that surround the shoulder joint. This group are the main muscles responsible for swing movements in your arms. It’s no surprise then that in golf, where the main activity consists of swinging your arms, there’s a real chance this muscle group might sustain an injury.

To avoid injuries to this group, it’s imperative you practice the correct form of swinging the club. Before playing, you should also consider some stretching.

If you get an injury, however, you can recover faster by following RICE:

Rest: resting is extremely important for recovery. After an injury, the muscles are extremely vulnerable to further injury, and that’s why you should immediately stop playing and try to get some rest.

Ice: applying ice to the injured area during the first day or two can help. It reduces inflammation and relaxes the muscles.

Compress: bandage the rotator cuff group muscle and compress the muscles. This speeds up the muscle healing process.

Elevate: elevate the muscles above your heart to help achieve better circulation of blood and minimize fluids from gathering.

Wrist Injuries

Wrist tendons can sustain injuries when playing golf. Especially if you enjoy playing with a heavy club, it can put some strain on the wrist and cause wrist tendonitis, which is characterized by inflammation and irritation.

You should start by putting your wrist in a splint or a cast – it is necessary to immobilize your wrist to facilitate healing.

Anti-inflammatory medicine can relieve some of the pain and swelling you’ll have to deal with during the healing process. While it might not help your wrist heal much quicker, it’ll increase your comfort.

A professional hand therapist knows about the complexities of the wrist and the hand and can help you heal quicker by inspecting and treating your hands.

Back Pain

A golf game is long, sometimes taking up to 6 hours. This long a period of standing upright, walking, swinging clubs, etc. can put stress on your back, especially in people who aren’t used to a lot of physical activities:

If you feel like you’re not up for it, you should take a break mid-game and then continue after a decent rest. A golf game doesn’t have any particular time constraints, so it should be simple to agree to a short break.

If you don’t, consider renting a golf cart, it makes movement much easier. If that’s not possible, you can always buy a pushcart, which you can easily store all the equipment in. Take a look at golf push cart reviews to know which of them best suits your needs.

Better posture – a good posture distributes physical strain throughout your body and not only on your back, which means a good posture will prevent back pain and help you deal with it better during a game.

Golfer’s Elbow

Medically known as medial epicondylitis, golfer’s elbow occurs due to strain on the tendons connecting the elbow and forearm. It can also occur if you overuse and over-exhaust the muscles in your forearm that allow you to grip and rotate your arm:

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is the way to go to alleviate the most severe symptoms of the injury at the beginning.

Lift the club properly, and if you think there’s a mismatch between your wrist and the weight of the club, you should get a lighter one.

Learn when you’ve reached your limit. Don’t overexert yourself – when you know your elbow is starting to cause you problems, take a short break!

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Podcasts

TG2: Our PGA picks were spot on…and Rob hit a school bus with a golf ball

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Rob picked Brooks to win the PGA and hit the nail on the head, while Knudson’s DJ pick was pretty close. Rob hit a school bus with a golf ball and we talk about some new clubs that are going to be tested in the next couple days.

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

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