As collegiate golf is growing in popularity, the potential of a golf scholarship in college is a possibility to consider. If you’re the parent of a young golfer, you can help your child prepare for a golf scholarship opportunity as they approach their high school years.
Types of Golf Scholarships
Many parents are surprised to discover how many colleges and universities offer golf scholarships. Some schools provide scholarships specifically for your child to play golf. Other schools, however, offer academic scholarships to aspiring golfers, giving them the chance to pursue an education while playing competitive golf.
Schools are grouped by divisions, which dictates the scholarships they offer. D3 programs, for example, do not offer athletic scholarships. Comparatively, D2 schools have limited scholarship opportunities based on the percentage of men and women in the sport. Golf is an equivalency sport, meaning coaches have a set amount of money to split among their athletes. To get as many good golfers as possible, coaches offer smaller scholarships to a larger number of students. Consequently, a full ride scholarship is a rare award. Although a partial scholarship may not cover all your child’s needs, every scholarship is an opportunity.
Your search should start while your child is in early high school. Work with your child to figure out what things he or she needs and wants from a college. Compare available schools against the list to see which ones are the best fit for your child. While it is important to narrow the options, do not be too exclusive. Your child’s chances of getting a scholarship are lower if there are only a few schools to pursue.
Consider all facets of the college experience. Look at the size of the school, and consider its academic programs. Is the coursework rigorous? You should also consider the location. Is it close to home? What is the surrounding community like? Be sure to assess the golf capacity. Is the program competitive? How is the coaching? What are the practice facilities like?
Remember to put less conventional options on your child’s list. There are scholarship opportunities at smaller schools that often get overlooked. In fact, some two-year schools cannot fill all their scholarships, improving your child’s odds.
Your Child’s Potential
Golfing prowess aside, colleges also consider your child’s GPA. Collegiate golfers need to maintain a certain GPA in order to retain athletic eligibility. Overall, academic performance can make your child more appealing to golf coaches at the collegiate level, which is why your child should work as hard as possible on and off the green.
If your junior golfer shows skill and passion for the game, a golf scholarship is an excellent way to help fund their college education. Gauge your child’s interest and start early. Partial scholarships are more common than full rides, but a supplemental scholarship can go a long way in supporting your child’s education and possible sports career.
If your child is interested in advancing their golf skills, participating in a junior golf tournament is a great way for them to feel motivated to improve, meet fellow golfers and have fun. Before the day arrives, work with your child on preparation, beginning with researching the course.
Learn the Course Before the Tournament
Encouraging your child to spend some time on the tournament course ahead of the event can help your child feel more assured and ready for the big event. Understanding the course’s terrain can make a big difference. A special focus should be paid to the course’s bunkers, hazards and trees. You and your child can also research the event online by studying course maps and reading recaps of previous tournaments held at that location.
In the days leading up to the tournament, your child should focus on improving their swing at the nearby driving range. Spending extra time on holes that are similar to those in the tournament can also help your child prepare for the event. Don’t put too much pressure on your child during a practice session, however. At this age, having fun and learning the basics should be the primary goals.
Take a Break the Night Before
Spending too much time fixated on the tournament can impact your child’s mental readiness, potentially affecting their ability to play. On the night before the tournament, spend time as a family doing other hobbies, such as playing a board game together. Sleep is also an important part of preparation; getting enough sleep the night before the tournament can help your child have enough energy and enthusiasm to make the most of the event. Rest is also essential for giving the body time to relax and repair the muscles used in golf.
Dehydration can have many negative effects on the human body, including feeling weak and passing out. Before the tournament begins, encourage your child to drink plenty of water. During the event, your child should keep a bottle of water close at hand. If the weather is particularly warm and sunny, taking along a sports drink packed with electrolytes can help avoid dehydration. Your child should also wear clothes that can help minimize the impact of the sun.
Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
Putting too much pressure on your child to perform in the tournament a certain way can leave them feeling frustrated. If your child doesn’t do well, they may decide to give up golf entirely. Participating in a tournament should be seen as a way to help your child improve their skills and have fun with other golfers their own age. Building the skills and expertise needed to excel in golf tournaments will likely take your child many hours of practice and years of dedication, so each tournament should be seen as a building block towards improvement.