Golf not only offers lifelong opportunities for fitness and fun, it also offers college and career prospects for talented, disciplined golfers. While obtaining a college golf scholarship may seem like an improbable prospect to many, with the right mentoring and golf training, students with the right skills and focus can earn valuable college scholarships while playing a sport they love.
As declining state support and other factors put pressure on colleges to increase tuition, the cost of college and student indebtedness after college continues to increase. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average student exiting college with student loan debt will leave school owing about $33,000. Nearly 70 percent of all college students will graduate owing some student loan debt to the U.S. government or to private lenders. Private loan debt can be financially crippling to students, as the interest rates are higher and there are often fewer flexible repayment options available.
Getting scholarships can reduce the amount of money students must borrow to attend school, putting them in better financial shape as they leave college and pursue careers. For talented athletes, golf scholarships can play an important role in funding their education.
According to the NCAA, more than 1,300 colleges and universities in the U.S. sponsored varsity-level golf teams in 2013. More than 12,000 men and about 6,400 women at these schools played golf for those schools that year, and only a handful on each team received a scholarship.
The average scholarship award for a male was $13,747 at an NCAA division I school. For females, the average was $14,833. At NCAA division II schools, the average award for men was $5,711, while the average award for women was $7,007. At the junior college level, the average NJCAA award for male students was $1,746 while the average award for female students was $2,048.
There’s no doubt that even getting on a college team in the first place can be tough. There are about 153,000 male high school golfers and 71,000 female high school golfers. Only about 8 percent of male high school golfers and 9 percent of female high school golfers go on to compete in college. High school golf athletes who work hard at academics and golf training stand a much better chance of getting on a college team and obtaining scholarships, and that’s where the International Junior Golf Academy can help.
The International Junior Golf Academy
The International Junior Golf Academy is a Hilton Head Island school founded in 1995 by Ray Travagilone. This innovative golf academy offers residential, summer, gap year, and weekend programs for students, including ESL programs for non-English speakers.
The International Junior Golf Academy is unique in that it focuses on improving both academic and golf skills with an eye toward maximizing a student’s chances of obtaining a golf scholarship. The golf academy has a diverse campus. Students from 28 countries attend school at the International Junior Golf Academy. The golf academy’s total full-time population is made up of more than 140 students.
Faculty help students improve their chances of being recruited by a college by:
- Explaining the recruiting process to students
- Giving students an accurate assessment of their academic and golf abilities and what they need to do to improve
- Guiding them to NCAA and NAIA eligibility centers
- Helping students develop an individualized plan for optimizing their chances
- Keeping students up-to-date with timetables for recruiting, financial aid, testing, and college admissions
- Allowing students to build their golfing and academic resumes
Students at the golf academy will participate in International Junior Golf Tour events throughout the year, and will also participate in other junior tour events. Students will work with their golf instructors to set up a tour schedule that best fits their individual needs.
The International Junior Golf Academy has an impressive track record of success, with about 90 percent of students receiving golf scholarships. International Junior Golf Academy alumni play golf for several top institutions, including the University of Georgia, University of Southern California, University of Alabama, University of Oklahoma, and more.
Preparing for College
While attending a golf academy like the International Junior Golf Academy will help students to compete for golf scholarships, students also need to work on their own to meet academic and athletic standards. Below we’ve listed a few things students can do on their own to prepare for college athletics.
- Build a golf resume – A student’s golf resume can give coaches a way to quickly evaluate students. A resume may be the only chance students get to impress a coach, so resumes need to be informative and to-the-point. In addition to all the basics – name, school attended, GPA, etc. – students need to provide information about their high school golf career. Students need to list the events they’ve played, their finish, and other pertinent details. Students will want to break down tournament results by year to show improvement.
- Stay academically focused – Good golf scores aren’t the only thing coaches are focused on. Students need to keep their eye on the ball in the classroom to ensure that they meet the college’s admission requirements and requirements for other scholarships. Students should work on their game, but they also need to take the time to hit the books as well.
- Keep the stats in mind – In general, division I colleges are looking for scoring averages of 75 or better for men. Top 20 schools want an average of about 72. For lower tier schools, the target scoring average is between 75 and 80. For women, a scoring average between 80-85 is desirable at many division I programs.
By committing to achieving academic and athletic success – and with the help of a great golf academy like the International Junior Golf Academy – athletes can improve their chances of making the golf team and earning scholarship dollars to pay for their education. Students and parents interested in this opportunity should contact the International Junior Golf Academy and schedule a visit.