Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

How important is playing time in college if a player wants to turn pro?

Published

on

One of the great debates among junior golfers, parents and swing coaches is what is the most crucial factor in making the college decision. My experience tells me that many students would answer this question with a variation of coaching, facilities and of course academics (especially if their parents are present).

I would agree that all three are important, but I wanted to explore the data behind what I think is an often overlooked but critical part of the process; playing time. For this article, I examined players under 25 who made the PGA tour and played college golf to see what percent of events they participated in during their college career. In total I identified 27 players and through a combination of the internet, as well as conversations with their college coaches, here are the numbers which represent my best guess of their playing time in college:

Player Percent of Events

  • Justin Thomas 100%
  • Rickie Folwer 100%
  • Xander Schauffele 100%
  • Bryson DeChambeau 100%
  • Jon Rahm 100%
  • Patrick Reed 91%
  • Jordan Speith 100%
  • Beau Hossler 100%
  • Billy Horschel 100%
  • Aaron Wise 100%
  • Daniel Berger 100%
  • Thomas Pieters 95%
  • Ryan Moore 100%
  • Kevin Tway 98%
  • Scott Langley 95%
  • Russell Hendley 100%
  • Kevin Chappell 96%
  • Harris English 96%
  • JB Holmes 100%
  • Abraham Ancer 97%
  • Kramer Hicock 65%
  • Adam Svensson 100%
  • Sam Burns 100%
  • Cameron Champ 71%
  • Wydham Clark 71%
  • Hank Lebioda 100%
  • Sebastian Munoz 66%

Average: 94%

Please note that further research into the numbers demonstrate that players like Pieters, Munoz, Clark, Reed, Hicock, Langely, Reed and Champ all played virtually all events for their last two years.

This data clearly demonstrates that players likely to make a quick transition (less than 3 years) from college to the PGA tour are likely to play basically all the events in college. Not only are these players getting starts in college, but they are also learning how to win; the list includes 7 individual NCAA champions (Adam Svensson, Aaron Wise, Ryan Moore and Thomas Pieters, Scott Langley, Kevin Chappell, and Bryson DeChambeau), as well 5 NCAA team champion members (Justin Thomas, Jordan Speith, Beau Hossler, Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer and Wydham Clack) and 2 US Amateur Champs (Bryson DeChambeau and Ryan Moore).

As you dig further into the data, you will see something unique; while there are several elite junior golfers on the list, like Speith and Thomas who played in PGA tour events as teenagers, the list also has several players who were not necessarily highly recruited. For example, Abraham Ancer played a year of junior college before spending three years at the University of Oklahoma. Likewise, Aaron Wise, Kramer Hickok and JB Holmes may have been extremely talented and skillful, but they were not necessarily top prospects coming out of high school.

Does this mean that playing time must be a consideration? No, there are for sure players who have matriculated to the PGA Tour who have either not played much in college. However, it is likely that they will make the PGA tour closer to 30 years of age. Although the difference between making the tour at 25 and 30 is only 5 years, I must speculate that the margin for failure grows exponentially as players age, making the difference mathematically extremely significant.

For junior golfers looking at the college decision, I hope this data will help them understand the key role of playing time will have in their development if they want to chase their dream of playing on the PGA Tour. As always, I invite comments about your own experience and the data in this article!

Your Reaction?
  • 56
  • LEGIT13
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB2
  • SHANK10

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

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Hawkeye77

    Dec 9, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    What a superficial bunch of nonsense. No surprise that elite college players play in their schools’ tourneys. Tons of men and women who aren’t the number 1 players play 100% of the college events the school attends by the time they are juniors/seniors and some all the way through. Tons.

    Study the proper sample size for the hypothesis and you’ll see that merely playing events has nothing to do with turning pro – it’s talent that a very tiny % of college golfers have.

    Seems to be a run of “quick hitter”, have to write something, “articles” lately. Site deserves better.

  2. Gun Violent

    Dec 9, 2018 at 1:43 am

    I thought it said “partying time” lmao

  3. Ronald Montesano

    Dec 8, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    I believe that this Column would serve its readers better if it did two things. The first is, list the colleges and universities were each golfer played. Next, take a look at more than just the big names. Hank is a token for me. I would like to see the division three, division to, NAIA and lower-end D1 Golfers that have had success on any of the tours. I like what this writer is doing with statistics, but I’ve felt in the articles that I’ve read, that he gets stuck on the numbers and is unable to cement a final, big picture conclusion.

  4. Ronald Montesano

    Dec 8, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    I believe that this Column would serve its readers better if it did two things. The first is, list the colleges and universities were each golfer played. Next, take a look at more than just the big names. Hank is a token for me. I would like to see the division three, division to, NAIA and lower-end D1 Golfers that have had success on any of the tours. I like what this writer is doing with statistics, but I’ve felt in the articles that I’ve read, that he gets stuck on the numbers and is unable to cement a final, big picture conclusion.

  5. Frankie

    Dec 8, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    You don’t win majors when you’re majoring and attending college, period.

  6. benseattle

    Dec 8, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    In looking at this list of players, I think we can agree that they’re here because they’ve had success on Tour. What’s NOT mentioned is the fact that virtually ALL went to major colleges, true golf powers. This indicates that they were highly skilled long BEFORE going to college and that they thrived at the highest level of collegiate competition. Here’s a better question: where should a talented teenage golfer who is NOT highly recruited go to school? Should he try to walk on at a major power, believing that competing against the best will make to most dramatic improvement to his game? (While likely not playing in many/any matches.) OR…. would he be better served to go to a Division II or III school and play A LOT matches, even it’s against lesser competition? How about a survey of successful professionals who went to smaller schools?

    (I take this survey personally. Years ago I was an enthusiastic but lesser-skilled junior golfer who asked Arizona State Coach Bill Mann if I could try to play my way on to the team. He looked down his roster of All-Americans and said, “Thanks, but I think we’ll go with what we’ve got.” Result was, I hardly played ANY golf in college, focusing on girls, beer and intramurals. Even today, I wonder where my game would be if I had chosen a much smaller school where my still-developing game would have been more welcome.)

  7. Shockergrier

    Dec 8, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Abraham Ancer did not win a national title at OU

  8. Ulf

    Dec 8, 2018 at 9:12 am

    This data shows there is a correlation between success on the PGA tour and playing time in college. The big question is, is there also a causal connection, i.e. does more playing time in college set these guys up for success in their pro careers?

    The other possibility, that the article fails to mention, is that both playing time and success as a pro are the result of the extraordinary talent and dedication of the players, i.e. they don’t get that good because they get so much playing time, they get so much playing time because they are so good.

    This would still mean that looking at playing time in college is a good way to predict success later on the tour, but rather than chosing a college based on where a player things he will get to play more, he should try to get so good he gets to play a lot, wherever he ends up…

    • Yotrepo

      Dec 8, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      Another question to answer is what is missing from those that didn’t make the tour but had similar playing time. Great start to a conversation but presents more questions than it answers. Brendan, would love to see follow on articles!

    • Commoner

      Dec 8, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      This ‘study’ is a fine example of GIGO.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Podcasts

TG2: Knudson’s new driver and boutique vs. big manufacturer clubs

Published

on

New SIM Max driver is finally here and Knudson tosses an old faithful shaft in it. New irons should show up this week and talk about how clubs from “boutique” companies stack up against the big manufacturers.

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. 

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Podcasts

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

Published

on

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. 

Your Reaction?
  • 3
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

An open letter to golf

Published

on

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.

Sincerely,

Ryan Barath (on behalf of golfers everywhere)

 

Your Reaction?
  • 12
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW1
  • LOL3
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK8

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending