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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

GolfWRX Book Review: Phil by Alan Shipnuck

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The most awaited golf book of 2022 is titled “Phil: the Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized) Biography of Golf’s most Colorful Superstar,” featuring a look at Phil Mickelson’s life and times. Alan Shipnuck, long a respected writer in the golf interweb, has produced another long-form contribution to the vast library of golf tomes. Early leaks did nothing but heighten the anticipation of the residents of golfdom for the book’s release. Shipnuck wrote for GOLF Magazine for years, before heading out with other proven and decorated scribes to form The Fire Pit Collective. His place at GM reveals how he was able to get close to Mickelson and his inner circle. Before we continue on with the book review, it’s important to determine how Shipnuck and I have a cosmic bond. It is summed up in two words.

Bob Heppel

Bob Heppel was the guy who stood me up in the fifth grade, swim locker room. I swung and bloodied his nose. I was more stunned than he was, but I retired as a fighter with a debatable record of 1-o. Alan Shipnuck tells a similar story in the introduction to his most recent literary effort. No kindred-spirits malarkey here; the type of coincidence that the cosmos allow on occasion.

How does the book read? Well, it has an element of stream of consciousness, combined with a heavy reliance on anecdotal sequencing. It is necessary to stack story after story, to connect the dots of a sometimes-indecipherable image. That’s Phil, to a T (or a P.)

Back to me for a moment. I received the digital copy of the volume about three weeks before the release date of the paper edition. On Friday the 13th, I finally opened the PDF. As I held the PgDn button on my laptop, stopping intermittently to catch up, a random turn of phrase caught my attention:

a man’s man with big calloused hands and the briny demeanor that came from having been at sea for weeks at a time. 

It takes a special awareness of how language intersects with life to string words like that together. Those words describe one of Phil Mickelson’s grandfathers. Shipnuck gives us so much information on Phil’s ancestor that we forget for a moment, that this is a book about Phil. This is a good thing, because we need to learn about the others that helped to forge the Phil Mickelson from whom we cannot avert our eyes.

The chapter in the book that will most ally you as a Mickelson sympathizer is, predictably, the one about Winged Foot and the 2006 USGA Open. The one that will most distance you from Lefty, is the one that begins around page 150, concerning his gambling habits. The section that will have you question golf administrators in general is the one about the 2014 Ryder Cup. In other words, there are a lot of chapters that expect the reader to suddenly jump up and scream at anyone who will listen, You won’t believe this, but …

At times throughout the reading of this book, you feel like a student in a statistics class. The author presents anecdotal evidence in tens and twenties, and you try to determine if Phil Mickelson is enviable or pitiable; sincere or counterfeit; ultimately, good or bad. And then, Shipnuck delivers a knockout punch in which he melds the detached storyline of wealthy professional golfers with the reality in which the rest of us live. Shipnuck resists the temptation to offer too many of these body blows; the book is, after all, about Phil Mickelson.

At about the midway point of the book, it is revealed that Mickelson might have something of a James Bond complex, a need to put himself at greater risk than before, to determine if he can handle the pressure. This notion explains a purported interest in gambling, or a suggested enthusiasm for abandoning the US PGA tour in favor of mideast money; the latter would be the straw that broke the back of Mickelson’s most loyal sponsors.

Without giving too much away, nor attempting to drive the reader toward any sort of conclusion (which would probably have been impossible, in hindsight) there are two, late-volume sequences that lead us toward an understanding of Phil Mickelson and of Alan Shipnuck’s intent:

even Mickelson’s failings feed his image as an uninhibited thrill-seeker

This is the image that he has cultivated over the course of a lifetime. It is the gift that his parents and his grandparents bequeathed to him.

In his public statement, Mickelson allowed that his comments were “reckless” but couldn’t resist making himself both the victim and the hero of his narrative …

This statement reveals the cleverness of Shipnuck’s efforts. He allows the readers to determine which one Mickelson is. My guess is that the readership will be split down the middle. As if I needed to tell you, go buy this book. You’ll enjoy revisiting the glory days of the southpaw, but be warned: you won’t feel the same about him when you turn the final page.

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Opinion & Analysis

Viktor Hovland can dominate if he addresses this key weakness…and it’s not his chipping

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Ahead of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills, the expectations for star Viktor Hovland are sky high. Hovland is a native of Oslo, Norway but played his college golf at Oklahoma State University before turning professional in 2019.

During Hovland’s time as an amateur, he won the 2018 U.S. Amateur and earned invitations to the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open the following year. He became the first player to win low amateur honors at both the Masters and U.S. Open in the same season since 1998.

As if expectations for the 24-year-old weren’t already lofty enough, he is now returning to Tulsa, Oklahoma, as one of the favorites in a major championship in the state that he played college golf.

There is an argument to be made that Viktor Hovland is the most talented golfer on the PGA Tour. Since he arrived on the scene in 2019, the young phenom has dazzled the golf world with his tee to green excellence. He’s also become a fan favorite due to his abundance of charisma and infectious smile.

Hovland’s career thus far cannot be categorized as a disappointment. He has three regular PGA Tour victories: one at an alternate field event in Puerto Rico, and two at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. He also became the first Norwegian to win on the European Tour (Now DP World Tour) when he won the BMW International Open in June of 2021.

Despite the relative success, it would be hard to argue with the fact that something is missing.

In terms of skill set, one of the most accurate comparisons for Hovland is Rory McIlroy. By the age of 25, McIlroy had four major championships. It would be unfair to compare Hovland to McIlroy in terms of career trajectory, but I find it reasonable to expect more out of him.

Hovland will also draw many comparisons to Collin Morikawa. For better or worse, Viktor Hovland will always be mentioned in the same breath as Morikawa due to the fact that both golfers arrived on Tour at the same time, are within a year of each other in age and rank in the top five in the world.

For all of their similarities, Hovland and Morikawa are in many ways polar opposites. Hovland is a flashy, big hitting, birdie maker. Morikawa is steady, sharp, and has what I believe to be the highest golf IQ since Tiger Woods.

The Norwegian is every bit as talented as his friend and rival, but Morikawa has five PGA Tour victories, including two major championships and a World Golf Championship victory. Hovland is still searching for his first win in a marquee event.

Much has been made in recent months about Viktor Hovland’s troubles around the green. The 24-year-old has lost an average of 1.0 stroke to the field in his career in Strokes Gained: Around the Green. Hovland will be the first to tell you that he has a major weakness in his short game.

“I just suck at chipping,” The Norwegian said after his first career victory at the Puerto Rico Open in February of 2020.

While his chipping undoubtedly needs improvement, it is not his fatal flaw. Poor course management is.

Thus far, course management has been the most consequential detractor to Hovland’s career.

There have been numerous instances where Hovland has had a chance to win or at the very least contend at a tournament that would qualify as a “signature win” on Tour for Hovland. Yes, his short game has been a hindrance, but his poor course management has been a non-negotiable disqualifier.

There are countless examples of this, but in particular, three of them stuck out to me.

Back in February of 2021, Hovland was in the midst of a spectacular second round at the WGC-Concession in Bradenton, Florida. He had seven birdies and no bogeys and found himself two shots back of the lead with one hole to play.

Then disaster struck.

After driving it into the fairway bunker, Viktor put his second over the green and into the palmetto bushes. Instead of taking an unplayable and trying to get up and down for bogey from a decent lie, he decided to try and punch it out of the bush.

After his failed punch out left him in a terrible spot in the greenside bunker, he put his next shot right back into the palmetto bush where he started. He continued to mangle the 18th hole until he finally made his quadruple bogey-8. He went from two back of the lead and possibly in the final pairing to six back of the lead with a slim to none chance of contending.

There’s that infectious smile again.

Back in March, Hovland once again found himself in contention on Sunday with a chance to win the most meaningful victory of his career at The Arnold Palmer Invitational. As he approached the par-3 17th, he was tied for the lead with Scottie Scheffler at -5. The conditions in the final round were very challenging, and the obvious play was to the middle of the green to try and make par. Instead, Hovland went for the pin and came up short, leaving himself a short-sided bunker shot. He went on to make bogey. Scheffler played it to the middle of the green and two-putt for an easy par and went on to win the tournament by one stroke.

Hovland’s course management issues continued to plague him in the first round of The Masters Tournament. After ten holes, he was -1 for his round and three shots off of the lead as he headed to back nine with some birdie holes in front of him. That’s when the lack of proper course management hurt Viktor once again.

The 11th hole at Augusta National is notoriously difficult, and even more so this year as it was lengthened by fifteen yards. With very few exceptions, the entire field played the approach shot into 11 short, not daring to go over the penalty area left with such a long iron shot coming in. At the time, there was only one birdie on the hole all day.

After a beautiful tee shot, Hovland had 221 yards into the green. Inexplicably, he decided once again to attack a pin that he had no business trying to take on. In the late part of the afternoon, there had only been one birdie made there all day, and it was a 35 foot putt. Predictably, his approach shot was left of the target and splashed in the penalty area. After grinding out a very good front nine, he made a double bogey-6 on the hole. As has happened so many times in the past, his poor decision making cost him precious strokes in an event where he can’t afford to give them away.

Hovland has had a good start to his career, but with generational talent comes lofty expectations. He has plenty of time to redirect his career trajectory and accomplish all of the feats his talent should all him to, but first he must address his fatal flaw.

The PGA Championship at Southern Hills would be a good place to start.

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Podcasts

TG2: Max Homa talks about his club changes, JT’s new putter, Jason Day’s WITB

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This week we have a great interview with Max Homa on some recent club changes. Max seems to love gear and is one of the nicest guys in golf. Justin Thomas has a new putter in the bag and we go through Jason Day’s interesting WITB. A few other equipment news stories from the AT&T this week.

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