Where college students go for golf

How to walk-on to a varsity college golf team

By Kris Hart

Playing golf at your dream school, especially if you are looking to play DI college golf is very difficult. The fact is, over 93% of high school golfers will not play varsity college golf at any level. If you are a senior in high school or current college student trying to walk-on the varsity golf team, playing in competitive tournaments gives you your best chance.

Since playing in tournaments and shooting good scores in the best way to walk-on to a varsity golf team, the next question is which tournaments? Here is a list of the best tournaments you can play in to get noticed:

1) USGA Tournaments – To quote coach John Fields from the University of Texas, “I do all my recruiting personally and do not hold walk-on tryouts. If you want to walk-on my team, make match play in the US Amateur and you will be able to walk on to my team.”

Ian Martin Michigan (1)

2) NCCGA Club Golf – Ian Martin walked on to the University of Michigan’s team. Josh Heinze walked on to the Michigan State squad. Joey Jordan walked on to the Virginia Tech team. Laura Kanouse did it at the University of Florida. All of these students played very well as part of the NCCGA club golf team early in their college career and walked on to varsity teams later in college. If you play well in club golf tournaments, coaches will notice. The good news is these events take place during the academic school year and any college student is eligible to compete and play.


3) State Golf Association Events – The USGA Amateur events are the most difficult events and the strength of field is the highest. If you are looking to go to a college in your home state, many coaches pay attention to the state amateur events, such as the State AM, State Open or State Public Links. Shoot good scores in competitive state events or high-quality amateur tournaments and local coaches will notice.

4) Local club events – Winning your club championship and qualifying for the PGA National Club Championship is certainly an accomplishment. It won’t hurt to share info on winning local club events with college coaches because coaches are trying to put together a winning team!

USGA - United States Golf Association (1)

The fact is, golfers peak at different times. Sometimes a golfer could peak in junior golf, whereas other golfers who were not recruited at the junior level could be amazing when they get to college. College golf coaches want to win and look for winning players. Anyone can say they are a +2 handicap (it’s just numbers). Anyone can shoot even par at their home course.

Since college golf is played on long and mostly unknown courses, being able to compete in tournament golf while under pressure at a new facility is a valued skill. Playing in USGA or state events during the summer or NCCGA club golf tournaments during the academic year is your best chance to walk-on to a varsity college golf team. Good luck!

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