When I took the Men’s Golf Coach job at Caldwell College in December 2006, I knew there would be many opportunities and challenges ahead of me. One of the more difficult challenges was to build a team that only had two returning players from the previous year where Caldwell had not such a shiny finish in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.
The Athletic Director stressed the importance of recruiting, and that was one of the areas where he wanted to see improvement right away. Navigating my way through the NCAA Compliance information was an education in itself. After many reviews of the rules, I was ready to plan my strategy of how and where to see recruits.
There are few things that I noticed right from the start in the recruiting process for perspective student athletes. These are some great tips.
Get your grades in order. Starting August 1, 2013 all incoming students will have to increase the number of core courses required for initial eligibility from 14 courses, which it is currently, to 16 courses. You must achieve a minimum grade point average of 2.0 and score at least 820 on your math/verbal SAT or 68 on the ACT. All three areas must be accomplished in order for you to practice, compete and receive aid if you compete at a NCAA Div. II level.
Clean up your internet social media profile. One way I check up on my recruits was to look online at YouTube and Facebook. What you post will tell me plenty that you did not offer in our other meetings or conversations.
Play in as many junior events as you can. State, Regional events and Junior tours will offer you some great competition, and allow you to see other courses and get exposure to different geographic areas. A varied tournament schedule of 18, 36 or 54 hole events on your playing resume lets the college coach know you are serious about taking your game to the next level.
Get a copy of your swing in a format that you can email to potential colleges. Your local PGA Golf Professional can help you capture your best full swing, bunker shot or eight foot putt for a good presentation when the coach asks for it.
Get into the NCAA Eligibility Center as soon as possible. You cannot practice or compete at the collegiate level until you are cleared through the NCAA. That process can take some time. Begin the registration process your junior year in high school.
Choosing a college to attend takes hard work and plenty of preparation for a high school student athlete and their family. Check out other schools’ websites and see how their golf team’s performed during the fall and spring seasons. Can you realistically compete with the current players on the roster? How good is the rest of the conference they play in? Realize there is plenty of great competition at all three NCAA Division levels, NAIA and Junior College programs. Investigate all the opportunities. Once you have these things figured out your search should lead you in a direction where you can be successful playing golf at the collegiate level.
Mike Andrusin is in his second season as the Caldwell College Golf Coach. Caldwell College is an NCAA Div II program that competes in the CACC. Mike is also a member of the NJPGA and teaches golf with the Morris County Park Commission.