Can your daughter get a scholarship for golf? The short answer is YES!
Only a handful of players will find their way to a golf scholarship at the most elite NCAA Division 1 universities. But here’s the great news as stated in the Ping American College Golf Guide – the official scoring program for college golf:
“The talent levels among college golfers span the spectrum. The best players frequently post sub-par rounds; however, there are thousands of men playing on college golf teams whose average score is in the 80s or higher and thousands of women playing college golf who shoot in the 90s or 100s.
You do not need to be a scratch golfer to play or earn a golf or non-golf scholarship. All you need is a strong desire to attend college and play golf while you are there.”
Thousands of women playing college golf who shoot in the 90s or 100s! With that said, there’s likely to be an opportunity for your junior to become a collegiate golfer if she strives to do so.
If Interest Is There…
- Start Early: If you’re interested in playing golf on a college scholarship, it’s never to early to begin preparing.
- Make a Wish List: During your first two years of high school, start creating an evolving list containing ‘needs and wants’ for your college experience.
- Pay Attention to These Three “Pre-College Musts”: Graham suggests thinking of your preparation for college golf as falling into three important categories. To give yourself the best opportunity to get a scholarship at the college of your choice, focus on the following:
- Grades and entrance exams: Aim for at least a 3.0 GPA all the way through high school. Make sure you are taking all courses necessary for college entrance. Take time to prepare for your college entrance exams (SAT and ACT).
- Keep building your (golf) skills: Playing on your high school team is great for gaining experience and developing competition skills. To really build, it’s a good idea to also compete on one or more of the junior golf tours such as AJGA or U.S. Kids Golf Tour. This will provide you with additional exposure to coaches.
- Stay on top of applications and recruiting: During the junior and senior years of high school, it’s time to start communicating with coaches at colleges on your wish list. Likewise, this is the time to begin making unofficial visits to these colleges.
- Stay Realistic But Optimistic: Even with all of the scholarship opportunities out there, Graham (2017) reminds us that there are far more great golfers than there are available scholarships. However, being proactive and following the steps listed here can greatly increase your odds of winning a college golf scholarship. Remember that half, partial, full and even book scholarships are valuable!
So, the opportunities are available. Yes, your daughter can get a scholarship for golf. We can see it’s all about preparation! As noted above, stroke averages and tournament wins are not the only factors taken into consideration by coaches.
Now Is The Time.
To be certain that your junior golfer is prepared, now is the time to develop an understanding of how she can continue her golf career at the collegiate level. As a coach of several female junior golfers, I encourage parents to do the following:
- Inquire. Does your junior golfer have serious interest in playing collegiate golf? If she’s (remotely) interested, then share with her as much information as possible so that she can make an informed decision.
- Communicate. If your junior golfer is eyeing the possibility of earning a golf scholarship, discuss this with her coach/teaching professional. This will allow for the development of a plan for her high school career to ensure appropriate preparation for college golf.
- Focus. While golf skills and experience matter, remember to keep the focus on academics! A solid academic track record will serve her well beyond efforts to earn a scholarship, after all. Moreover, a high GPA gives the best opportunity to attend one’s college of choice and get at least a partial scholarship (Graham, 2017).
Remember that each situation is unique, and the information contained here can serve as a primer for those taking steps to learn more about golf scholarships. Good luck!