The IJGA strives for many things, but most of all, to help our students reach their full potential, playing at the collegiate and professional levels later in life. Our alumni include PGA Tour golfer Morgan Hoffman, LPGA Tour golfers Stephanie Meadow and I.K. Kim as well as Web.com Tour golfer and Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL competitor, Richy Werenski. However, one thing the IJGA offers that other programs do not, which really prepares students for college can be explained in one word: diversity.
Recently, Lance Ringler of Golfweek discussed where NCAA golfers come from in an article here. His findings showed that collegiate golf programs have become increasingly international over the past few years with approximately 22% of Division I collegiate golfers coming from outside the lines of the United States of America. At the IJGA, our students come from 22 different countries and every corner of the United States bridging friendships across oceanic gaps and making memories with people they otherwise would never meet.
Of those who signed in the early signing period last fall, international and domestic students were all well represented. From Chomchana Phochanbanchob of Chiang Mai, Thailand, who signed with Cal State Northridge to Kelly Whaley of Farmington, Conn., who made her commitment to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, IJGA students who are serious about playing at the next level get every chance to prepare for their futures together making them more complete players.
The game of golf itself has become more global than ever. With the re-introduction of golf to the Olympics in 2016, this trend will continue, and have a positive influence on the level of play in the NCAA. Students from all over the world come to IJGA to play and train with the best golfers and coaches in order to increase the level of their own play. At the IJGA, our students embrace the challenge of competition and use it to get better. There will be a similar effect for NCAA golf with the increasing influx of international students in years to come.
This trend is not limited to golf or even sports. In the American collegiate system, according to U.S. News and World Report, the number of students from outside of the U.S. can account for as much as 40% of an undergraduate population, depending on the institution. Our junior golfers learn how to work alongside students from different countries in the classroom and on the course. They live with people from other cultures and create lasting friendships. The IJGA is committed to preparing our golf students not only for competition, but also for life after competition.