More than 160 Middle and High School golfers from around the Middle Atlantic area attended the 9th Annual MAPGA College Golf Seminar presented by Second Nine Consulting, Saturday, February 2 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.
This year the seminar was broken up into three breakout session with expert panelist consisting of college golf coaches and industry professionals who offered insight regarding college recruitment, finding the right school, financing tuition costs and the life and expectations of a student athlete.
“In its ninth year, the MAPGA College Golf Seminar has grown into a great resource for young golfers and their families,” Will Martindale, Junior Golf Director said. “Our goal every year at this event is for juniors and parents to walk away from it with a better understanding of where they are, what they need to do next to best prepare themselves, and what college golf experience will be best for them.”
According to Martindale, the day proved to be a huge success because of the commitment and care shown by the expert panelist.
Second Nine Consulting Representatives Rich Brazeau and Brian Watts gave insight to junior golfers about the importance of their continued education and what it means to be a college golfer. They started with the importance of what it means to gain a coaches trust by upholding their character and demeanor.
“It all starts with how you conduct yourself at home and at school,” Brazeau said. “Do you respect your parents? The relationship between you and your parent through adversity is what makes a junior golfer stand out to golf coaches. Also, having a mindset for success inside the classroom is contingent to great athletic performance in and outside the classroom.”
Brazeau emphasized to juniors how academics and the ability to learn can be used as a stepping stool to help with college opportunities and scholarships. He states, “Academics matter; your athletic ability will help you get recruited for college, but your academic skills are what gets you accepted into college.”
As MAPGA Member Billy Dillon and Director of University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s PGM Program added,” The best way to get in school for free—is by being a good student.”
Virginia Tech Head Men’s Golf Coach, Jay Hardwick, PGA also emphasized the importance of reputation.
He said, just as we all are a reflection of the logos we wear, we all have an important logo to uphold and those are our reputations. “You will carry around your reputation for the rest of your life,” Hardwicks said.
According to Watts, it is important that the juniors understand that their opportunity is different from the juniors’ sitting next to them.
“Don’t limit yourself when communicating with coaches; cast your net and expose yourself to different junior golfers and tournaments that are right for your choice of school,” Watts said.
Marc Thayer of Virginia Junior Golf Scoreboard also spoke with the students about finding the right fit when it comes to searching for college golf programs and gave a list of questions they need to ask themselves before reaching out to coaches.
- What do you shoot?
- What programs/organizations do you play in?
- Are you going to camps/networking with coaches?
- What do your academics look like?
- How far do you want to live from home?
- Can you afford the tuition?
- What does the university’s roster look like? What do they shoot?
Watts added it is vital for juniors to be both assertive and respectful when seeking a coaches time and attention.
Note: Golfers may not schedule an official or unofficial visit with a golf coach until September 1, of their junior year.
According to Thayer, the college golf recruiting process is highly competitive and if the student does not know their range it will be extremely difficult for the student to compete in college. Many of the speakers admitted their universities have competitive acceptance rates.
This is especially true for Division I and II schools. And Division III schools often do not have athletic scholarships.
High School Junior and MAPGA Junior Golfer, Branden Nguyen came into the seminar knowing how competitive the recruitment process is. He learned that only the top 50-100 junior golfers around the world will receive full rides to a university.
However, these numbers did not phase his dedication to work towards competing in college.
“I got keep grinding and working hard,” Nguyen said.
MAPGA Member and Towson Men’s Golf Coach, Mike Larkin said, coaches can be looking at anywhere between 8-10 golfers at a time, just to fill three spots. “Be selfish, be productive and keep reaching out to these coaches,” Larkin said. “Show them that you care.”
Shannon Briggs, Head Women’s Coach at Longwood said, if a player cannot show they can recover or maintain their composure coaches often will move on to the next potential recruit.
However proving you can play, maintain your character and keep up with your academics is half the battle; financing college is still the most crucial part of college recruiting. It is a reality that many students will not receive a full ride scholarship to play golf so finding other alternatives can be beneficial.
Towson financial aid officer, Terry Porter guided many students through the intricacies of obtaining military, athletic and non-academic scholarships. As well as, gave a detailed breakdown of financial aid awards to help juniors understand the types of scholarships and the amount offered per team.
“It will surprise you how many people and organizations are offering scholarships,” Porter said “Sometimes you will be the only one applying”$50 or $1,000 it all adds up.”
Porter said, “it is as simple as going on Google.”
He also encouraged students to seek advice from their high school resources counselor in making sure they understand the guidelines, expectations, and level of presentation needed when resumes are reviewed by University Admissions teams.
Congressional Country Club also proved to be an accommodating host for the event once again.
Congressional Junior Golf Director, Stacy Miller-Arndt, PGA, said she was happy her facility could host another successful seminar.
“The Seminar is always a great day of learning and continues to open everyone’s eyes about the recruiting process.” she said. “Every year the college golf seminar has taught me something to help our juniors navigate the recruiting process. This seminar is a must for all golf professionals.”
While some junior golfers may go on to play college golf and others may go on to simply pursue higher academic learning, one thing is assured, the impact these coaches made on the students will last a lifetime.