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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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