As a collegiate golfer, finding the best way to manage your time and responsibilities can be challenging. Whether you are a high school golfer looking to land a spot on the team at your dream school, or a current freshman wanting to get a grip on your studies, it is extremely important to balance your golf training with other aspects of your education so that you can continue to excel both on the course and in the classroom. Preparation, organization, and execution are all skills that you develop in golf that translate to your education at the college level. By understanding the rigorous nature of life as a student-athlete, as well as keeping up with all of your training and coursework, you will be able to remain eligible to compete and not get bogged down by having to complete everything at the last minute. For those not yet in college, a complete approach to schoolwork and training will show prospective coaches that you have what it takes to perform on a team.
Prepare Yourself for the Rigors of College
How do you know that you are ready to play golf for a college team? One of the main factors that will determine whether or not you will land a spot on a team at the next level is academics. While your scores on the course might be better than other collegiate golfers out there, the simple truth is that without the grades you will find yourself with a difficult uphill battle. For prospective Division I student-athletes enrolling before August 1, 2016, the NCAA requires that you have a cumulative 2.000 GPA across 16 core courses.
These courses include four years of English, three years of math at the Algebra I level or higher, two years of natural/physical science, and an additional year of English, math, or science. To complete the requirement, students must also have two years of a social science and four total years of additional courses from any previously mentioned area or a foreign language. If you will enroll in college for the first time after August 1, 2016, the GPA requirement climbs to a minimum of 2.300.
Meet early and often with your guidance counselor to make sure you stay on top of your work in high school so that you can impress college coaches that show an interest. By demonstrating that you take schoolwork seriously and will not be a hindrance to the team due to your grades, you will find that more opportunities will be available to you at higher levels. When it comes to reaching out to contacting college coaches, it is important to be upfront about your golfing ability and academic success. 1001 Recruit Tips encourages high school golfers to reach out to colleges individually to make a more personal connection with a coach.
Once you have enrolled in college and have a spot on a team, you need to be able to maintain your eligibility so you are able to compete. Remember, the most important thing about college is putting yourself in a position to earn your degree so that you have something to excel in once your golfing days are done. This is why it is important to meet with professors and tutors each week to take advantage of the resources available to you. Understanding that academics play a vital role in collegiate golf will allow you to give more time to your training and development so you can play better on the course. If you have any golf training experience in an academy setting, you know the time commitment and tools needed to be the best you can in both areas.
Improve Organizational Skills
One of the best ways to learn how to manage both your studies and your golf program is to live a day in the life of a student-athlete. It is important to recognize just how big a time commitment it is to play for a college team, and there is no better way than by connecting with current college players. By knowing the typical schedule of a golf player in college, you will be able to block out portions of your day to complete all of your tasks – from training to homework – so that you also have time to socialize and unwind from a long day of work. For a college golfer, a typical day might consist of the following routine:
- 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. – Team Practice
- 1:25 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Class on Campus
- 4:00 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. – Individual Cardio or Strength Workout
- 5:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. – Class on Campus
As you can see, there are some pockets during the day to study for exams or grab lunch with teammates and friends, but much of the day is devoted to either training or schoolwork. While the schedule may vary from day to day, also consider the time you need to stay on top of your assignments, meet with tutors and advisors, and prepare for your upcoming tournament.
In order to do this, it is a good idea to work on your organizational skills now. Make a checklist of everything that needs to get done for the week, and do your best to be able to cross off all of the items by the end of the week. Invest in a monthly calendar that you can hang by your bed at home now, and at your dorm when you go to college, and write in all of the important dates you have coming up, including exams, travel days, and tournaments. This way you will be able to establish workable deadlines for when you can complete all of your tasks.
Remember, golf training while playing at the college level does not need to be a source of stress for you. Your coach understands the pressure you are under, and he or she can be an excellent source of support, especially as you make your transition from the high school or academy level to college. Whether you are playing in the NAIA, or are on the 18th green going for an NCAA Division I National Championship, mastering time management and organization will set you up for success no matter what situation comes your way.
You can learn more about setting yourself up for athletic and academic success at the next level by contacting and working with the team at the International Junior Golf Academy. Get in touch with the IJGA today to discuss academy programs by calling (888) 452-6642.