What does team practice look like?
It’s no secret that practicing with great players is one of the best ways become a better player yourself. Unlike junior golf or professional golf, college golf provides a unique opportunity to practice alongside great players on a daily basis. College coaches want to take advantage of this, but with only 20 hrs/week allotted by the NCAA for team practice, they have to be deliberate with how they use their time.
Every team is different, but expect some combination of qualifying, play days, and structured practice. This is a good question to ask coaches as you begin your recruiting conversations since it varies so much between programs. That said, it’s safe to assume much of your practice will be “on your own”.
The purpose of qualifying is to simulate tournament pressure and see how players stack up against one another. Qualifying is done differently at almost every program so make sure to ask coaches how they qualify during the recruiting process.
Some teams qualify for every event separately…some qualify for multiple events at once. Some teams qualify for as few as one spot…some qualify for all 5 spots. Some teams have exemptions based on tournament finishes…some don’t.
Each coach will have a good reason for doing qualifying the way they do, but make sure it’s a system that works for you since that will be your path to playing in the lineup.
Play days are when a coach wants to get the team together on the course without the pressure of qualifying. Sometimes this is to play a game with a specific goal (irons only, rough is OB, purposely miss greens, etc.) and sometimes it’s for players to compete more casually with each other.
Structured practice is usually conducted at the practice facility and focuses on skill development. This is the time for players to showcase their ability to hit specific shots as well as to learn new shots (usually around the greens).
While some coaches are happy to be your swing coach, most prefer that you have your own. Generally speaking, college coaches spend a lot more time talking about shot selection and course management than they spend teaching fundamentals.
Golf tournaments are proven way to get noticed by college coaches but they come with a number of limitations. Camps are designed to fill these gaps and provide added value in a variety of other ways.
When you hear “college golf workouts” you probably think stretching, bands, and body weight exercises. While this is true in some cases, most teams go far beyond this.
The terms “committing” and “signing” are often used interchangeably to describe accepting an offer to play for a university, but they are not the same. Each comes with it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages that we think you should know about.
Playing tournaments is not just a great way to become a better player, it’s also the best way to increase your “stock” in the eyes of college golf coaches. The truth is, coaches don’t really care what you shoot in practice rounds or even what your handicap is…they want to see tournament results!
Getting in touch with a college golf coach can be tricky. Not only is their schedule very demanding, but every year they have hundreds of players from each recruiting class vying for their attention. With so much competition, how do you stand out from the crowd?
A college golf resume is your opportunity to make a good first impression and communicate the critical information that coaches are looking for.