The Journey to College Golf

Why is Attending a College Tournament as a Junior Player so Important?

In the past two weeks, I have driven over 1,500 miles to an NAIA Men’s tournament in Memphis, Tennessee, an NCAA Men’s DII tournament in St. Louis, Missouri, and an NCAA Men’s and Women’s DI tournament in Little Rock, Arkansas, to watch some of the top teams and players in the country.

Do you want to know what shocked me most about the trip? I did not see a single potential student-athlete out watching any of the tournaments.  

With technology like Golfstat Live Scoring, YouTube, and social media making tournaments easily accessible, attending a college tournament in person may not be a priority. However, there is something to be said for experiencing a tournament firsthand.

For the junior golfers who make time to attend a college tournament:

Things to watch during the practice rounds:

  • What teams are organized and have a routine?
  • How are players interacting with one another? Is there a leader to the group?
  • What sort of strategy and tools are teams using to scout the course and plan for the tournament?
  • How are coaches working with their teams during the practice round? Are they observing at a distance or actively participating?
  • What vibes are you getting from each team, and which suits your personality best?

Things to watch during the tournament:

  • Which teams are highly focused, and which seem more laid back?
  • How are coaches interacting with players during the round? Does their style of coaching fit you?
  • What teams have the best attitude during the round and represent the type of teammates you work with best?
  • What teams have post-round discussions to analyze their play and find ways to help each other improve?
  • How are players on teams acting towards competitors, rules officials, and spectators?

Suggestions for after the tournament:

  • Write notes on what you learned and how you can use it to improve now
  • Start a journal with notes highlighting what you liked and disliked about each team
  • Do more roster research to find out which teams might have more immediate needs
  • Research the coaches who impressed you the most and write down a specific example to use in future conversations
  • Grab a scorecard and keep notes regarding the course setup and conditions during the tournament
  • Analyze tournament scores on Golfstat

In closing, taking the initiative to do what others may not provides opportunities to reference specifics in conversations with coaches and help to manage expectations based on real-time observations. There is no substitute for attending a college tournament. It can benefit your college search and recruiting process by giving you a front-row view of the action.

Best of luck in your pursuits!

Sincerely,
Albatross Junior Golf

For a complete list of college tournaments,

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