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What AJGA Seniors can tell us about college recruiting

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With the generous support of the American Junior Golf Association, GolfWRX was able to design a survey given to competitors at the 2019 AJGA Senior Show Case. The goal of the survey was to understand the players’ perspectives on several parts of the recruiting process. In this article, we will outline the findings of the survey.

The first question we asked the 33 participants was what is the best way for a coach to reach you? Participants were given four possible responses: text, phone, email, and social media. 16 of the 33 respondents suggested that the best way to reach them was either text or email, while one of the respondents suggested the best way to reach them was via phone. None of the participants suggested the best way to reach them was via social media.

Sparked by the results, I sent a similar question randomly to 10 different coaches across a spectrum of D1 to NAIA. The mean age of the coaches was 33 years old. 9/10 coaches responded that they would prefer to communicate to recruits via phone.

For prospective student-athletes, this is an extremely relevant finding and demonstrates that in the initial conversation, recruits should expect and be prepared to speak on the phone. While this can be nerve-racking for many young adults, keep in mind that most coaches are extremely gregarious and will carry the conversation with a combination of speaking about the program and their background, as well as asking you questions. In preparation for the conversation, a prospective student-athlete should do some basic research on the school and golf team and be able to talk about their golf and academic records. I would also recommend having a least a couple of questions prepared, as it is likely that coaches will ask if you have any. Finally, if you don’t already; set up the voicemail on your phone.

Please note: one of the most common places a coach tries to find contact information is through the AJGA website. All prospective athletes who are members of the AJGA would be wise to double check these details.

The next question asked participants how far from home would they be willing to go to attend school Participants were given 3 choices; 0-200 miles, 201-800 miles and 801+ miles. 4 of the 33 participants suggested that they would not attend school more than 200 miles away, while 24 of the students suggested that they would be open to going 801+ miles away from home.

The third question we ask participants was who will have the biggest influence on where you attend? Participants were given the option of four response: parent, swing coach, high school coach or friends. Nearly 70 percent of respondents suggested that their parents would have the biggest influence, followed by swing coach (24 percent), friends (6 percent) and high school coach (none).

Next, we asked participants how many coaches they have reached out to in the recruitment process. Of the 33 respondents, the average answer was 20, but 18 of the respondents reported reaching out to 10 or less, while 4 suggested that they had reached out to 50 or more. When reviewing this data, I was a little shocked; we know from previous years that seniors have reported spending about 30 hours communicating with potential schools looking for opportunities. Although we don’t have the exact number of schools, it is likely that people who are successful in the process are doing a good job in their research, casting a wide net and meticulously following up.

The fifth question asked participants: If you have two similar offers, what would be the biggest factor in your decision between coach, team chemistry, academic ranking, scholarship and golf ranking. Nearly 40 percent of respondents suggested the biggest influence would be academic ranking, followed by coach (36 percent), team chemistry (12 percent) and golf ranking and scholarship tied at 6 percent.

The final questions asked female and male players individually what percent scholarship would be a reasonable offer? The mean of the male’s response was 36 percent and the mean of the female responses was 45 percent.

GolfWRX readers, what are your biggest take away from this data? What surprised you or didn’t? Let’s hear your comments below!

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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

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The 19th Hole Episode 170: Grassroots golf and Darius Rucker

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Host Michael Williams talks about the benefits of grassroots golf programs in growing the game. Also features a reboot of his exclusive interview with Hootie and the Blowfish.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Have a ‘Plan B’

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One of the things that I think is very interesting and fun about this game is that there are a number of ways to play every hole you encounter. And sometimes a hole offers “better” ways to play it than you might think. Let me explain with a couple of experiences from my own golf life.

ONE. In my thirties and forties, I played at a club outside of San Antonio – Fair Oaks Ranch. The 18th hole was a tough par 4 with a very small landing area and a gaping bunker at about 175 out. The skinny fairway left of that bunker wasn’t more than 15 yards wide, and there was a little mott of trees on the green side of the bunker that you would have to carry with your mid-iron bunker approach. Tough, to say the least.

That hole drove most of us nuts, and double bogeys were more common than birdies, for sure. Par was always a great score and bogey wasn’t “bad” at all.

So, one day it hit me that if I hit 4-wood off the tee, I would have an elevated fairway look at the green from about 200-210, giving me another soft 4-wood or 3-iron to the green, and the fairway was about 40 yards wide back there. Being a good long club player, I began to play the hole that way. Doubles disappeared entirely, pars became the norm and I even made the occasional birdie. Hmm.

TWO. At my recent club, the ninth hole just didn’t fit my eye or my game. I play a fade off the tee most of the time and turning over a draw was just not reliable for me at the time. That ninth is a dogleg left, with a bunker on the right side of the fairway that runs from about 160-125 from the green, right where the prime driving area is. What makes this hole so tough for me is that the prevailing wind is left to right, and trees just 60-100 yards off the tee keep me from starting the ball out left and letting it ride the breeze. This is another one where birdies are rare for me there, and bogies and doubles way too frequent. So, it dawned on me one day, finally, that I could hit 4-wood right at that bunker and not get to it, leaving me a 5- or 6-iron into the green, rather than the short iron the rare proper drive would leave me. So, that became my new strategy on that hole. I’m a good mid-iron player, so I’m fine with that, and that damn fairway bunker never caught me again.

THREE. My new club puts a premium on accurate wedge play. Most of the shorter holes have the smallest greens I’ve ever seen, so distance control with your wedge approaches is critical. And I find that reasonably full-swing wedges are easier to control distance than those awkward 60- to 80-yard partial swings. So, I’ve learned to put a premium on club selection off the tee on those holes to leave my approach shots in the 85-115 range, so that I can “dial in” my approach shotmaking.

My point in all this is that sometimes a hole gets under your skin or just doesn’t set up well for your game. When that happens, design yourself a Plan ‘B,’ and change the way you play it, at least for a while. Quite often you will find a solution to a problem and your scores and attitude will improve.

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Club Junkie: Mizuno T-22 wedge and Cuater Moneymaker shoes review!

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Mizuno’s new T-22 wedges are forged from the same 1025 carbon steel with boron as the irons, giving them an extremely soft feel. Very versatile, the sole grinds allow for hitting any shot your heart desires.

The Cuater Moneymaker shoes might be some of the most comfortable I have worn in years. Tons of cushioning, exceptional traction all over the course, and they are even waterproof!

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