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Should high school golf performance matter more to college coaches?

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Recently, I was at a college, speaking to a coach and asked him a question: How much do you follow high school golf compared to major junior golf tours? The coach didn’t hesitate and responded by saying that he really didn’t consider high school golf almost at all while he considered two-day tournaments on major junior tours important.

Not surprising. But is this a good assumption?

To start, I did a survey via Facebook in which I invited college coaches to respond to three questions about high school golf. They were

  • Is high school golf an important part of development for junior golfers?
  • Do you seriously consider high school golf as part of the recruitment process?
  • Will you attend at least one of your high school state tournaments this year?
  • Would you encourage a player, who is not recruited, to participate in high school golf?

In 24 hours, 86 coaches responded to the survey. Here are the results

  • 60 percent of coaches thought that high school golf was an important part of development
  • Only 37 percent of coaches considered high school golf as part of the recruitment process
  • 70 percent of coaches will attend at least one high school state tournament this year
  • 87 percent of coaches encourage a player, who is not recruited, to participate in high school golf
    Next, with the help of National High School Golf Association (NHSGA), I wated to check out the numbers; what is the REAL quality of high school golf?

After an extensive search and examination of the data between 2016-2018 found:

  • Based on 487 results, 71.2 is the average score for a boy’s high school state champion
  • Based on 342 results, 74.7 is the average score for a girl’s high school golf champion
  • The lowest scoring differential for a boy’s high school event was Logan Mccalister from Oklahoma with -19.5 in 2015/16 when we shot 62,66,66
  • The lowest girl’s scoring differential for a girl’s high school event was Sophia Yoeman from Minnesota with -13.21 (63,66)
  • The lowest single round by a boy was Frankie Capan in 2017/18 – 59 at the par 70, Tucson National from 6,382 yards
  • The lowest single round by a girl was Sophie Yoeman with 63 at Sand Creek in Jordan, MN a par 72 measuring 5,463 yards

When reviewing this information, keep in mind that while the average winning score in AJGA Open events is close to 69 for boys and girls, the average winning scores in AJGA previews for boys was 72.81 from 6,484 and 75.6 from 5,610. Based on this data, it means that the high school state tournament is comparable to somewhere between an AJGA Open and a Preview, with scores better than a Preview but not quite as good as an Open.

For the first time ever this summer, there will be a National High School Invitational. The event, hosted by the National High School Golf Association, will be held June 26-28th at The Disney Golf Resort and Falcon’s Fire Golf Club in Orlando featuring 124 girls and 224 boys.

To receive an invitation to the event, a player or team must win their state championship golf tournament. 2019 will mark the inaugural NHSGA Invitational Tournament.

“It’s exciting to bring together the best high school golfers from across the country for a single tournament. All players in the tournament will represent their state, not their division or their school. Public or private. Large or small. This event will bring together a diverse, talented group of champion caliber golfers and give high school golfers a chance to showcase their talents on a national stage. It’s about time high school golf gets some love!” said Chris Noble from the NHSGA.

Without a doubt, high school golf lacks the sexiness of other organizations. In my experience the rounds are very long, there are no snacks and often the courses are, well not the best. These are three things that certainly make high school golf challenging, however it has one good thing going: it is completely inclusive. High school golf is not perfect, but in my opinion and based on the numbers, I think that junior golfers and college coaches should consider the numbers and ask themselves, is high school golf more important than I previously thought?

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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

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Jason Black

    Nov 5, 2018 at 9:56 am

    What level of coaches responded to this? I would be that NAIA and DIII coaches would look more at high school tournaments then the others or they use a recruiting site.

  2. Ronald Montesano

    Nov 5, 2018 at 5:44 am

    If your intent was to give a data series that doesn’t take into account the camaraderie, maturation, and pride elements of high school golf, you succeeded. All that you listed, is available in Junior Tour events. High school golf is about so much more than the numbers. A valuable study might have included asking college coaches one question: does team coalescence matter in high-stakes college golf? If the answer is year, follow it with this one: do you actively recruit team golfers, or individual star, hoping that one way or another, they will gel? Read Don Crosby’s book “Tiger Woods made me look like a genius,” to get an idea of how the great one impacted, and was impacted by, high school golf. Crosby was Woods’ high school coach.

  3. Red Wing for Life!!

    Nov 4, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Love that Sophie and Frankie are from MN. Way to represent the north! I went to high school with Sophie and she is an awesome person and player.

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Podcasts

Mondays Off: Tipping Dos and Don’ts, Does Jordan Spieth really have the yips?

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Steve and Knudson talk about a PGA Tour pro allegedly tipping his caddie only $3,000 after winning a tournament. Steve gives Knudson a lesson on who he should tip and when during a visit to a private club. Finally, Steve then tells us why Jordan Spieth doesn’t have the yips and what you can do to help with the yips if you have them!

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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Hidden Gem of the Day: George Dunne National in Oak Forest, Illinois

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member DeeBee30, who takes us to George Dunne National in Oak Forest, Illinois. The course is a part of the Illinois Forest Preserve golf system, and in DeeBee30’s description of the course, the challenge provided is underlined as just one of the highlights of the course.

“Really fun tree-lined parkland layout with some interesting holes that cover rolling terrain that you don’t find in many Chicago-area golf courses.  Coming in at 7262 yards and 75.4/142 from the tips, Dunne offers four sets of tees that will provide a good test for most golfers.  The course gets a lot of play, but it’s always in great condition.”

According to George Dunne National’s website, 18 holes during the week will cost in the region of $40, while the rate rises to $75 should you want to play on the weekend.

@ThomasRWitt1963

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Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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Opinion & Analysis

NCAA Transfer Portal: What the data says so far

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As reported, in September 2018 the NCAA made major changes to the rules by introducing new legislation which allowed players to transfer without a release and be signed up for a website which provided their information for all coaches. The idea was to make the process of transferring easier on the student athlete. three months into the process, we wanted to look at the numbers and see what, if anything we could learn from transfers so far…

When looking at these numbers, keep in mind that since September sixty-four (64) players in Division I and Division II have signed up for the portal and here are the transfers that I am aware of

  • Birgir Bjorn Magnusson from Bethany (NAIA) to Southern Illinois
  • Laken Hinton from Augusta State to Ohio State
  • Colin Bowles from Ohio State to Georgia Southern
  • Brandon Gillis from Wake Forrest to Rhode Island
  • Drew Powell from Brown University to Duke University
  • Jeff Doty from North Florida to Kansas

When looking at the transfers, keep in mind that Birgir at the time of the transfer was ranked No. 3 in NAIA golf with a stroke average of 72.09 and four top 10s in the fall. His WAGR has also significantly improve to a very solid current ranking of 473, which would put him among the top third of college players in the WAGR.

It is also important to remember that my data demonstrates that only about 6/64 player where immediately able to get deals to transfer. That means that 90 percent of players (58/64), got nothing. Not very good odds, but honestly not surprising since even with the portal, transferring is still going to be a major issue because of two reasons

  • Transfer Credits: most schools at best are going to take 2 years of credits, this means anyone past their sophomore year, who is unhappy, is likely going to have to do a full extra year of school to graduate. However, this is not to say that all schools will take all credits; it is more likely that only very generally 100 level classes will transfer.
  • Anchoring Heuristic: a single question survey of 10 coaches demonstrates that all 10 have at least some reservations about transfers; what’s wrong with this player? Why did it not work the first time? Why is the second time going to be any better?

In creating the portal, the NCAA has not dealt with the real issue; most young athletes have no idea what really to expect at the college level. The fact is that if you sign up to play golf at Auburn University, although you may get a scholarship, you have likely spent close to 100k on golf clubs, balls, lessons, memberships, trips and tournaments. Your reward? A grueling beat down of class responsibilities, tutoring and endless competition with the best golfers in the world. It’s hard and golfers who excel in college golf posses’ resilience, adaptability, coachability and grit.

There will be some golfers reading this article who are considering transferring, for those, I offer this advice: it’s not going to get any easier. Life is a curial, hard place and if you have any big aspirations for yourself, you will need to learn to be tough, fight through adversity and believe in yourself. Don’t let these questions stop you, instead let them motivate you and use your college coach, swing coach and family to figure out ways to become better.

With the NCAA reporting a transfer rate of approximately eight percent across all of college sport, it is likely that as player come closer to March, we will see a surge in players on the portal. The question is, what will happen to these players? My guess is, in the longer term we will see a lot more losers than winners.

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