Alexandra Braga is Director of Instruction for Short Game Artists Golf Academy at Shoreline Golf Links in Mountain View, CA. A former Symetra Tour player, Alexandra’s instruction includes Player Development for elite and competitive junior golfers. Several her students have gone onto to compete in both Division I and II golf programs.

Alexandra Braga, PGA (right) teaching a lesson.

Many junior golfers have a goal of playing competitively in college. While playing ability is certainly important, maximizing your chances of securing a spot on a college golf team requires an overall strategy. There are some are some important steps you need to take, often beginning before high school.

First, elite junior players need to cultivate their golf skills. Practice, play, take golf lessons, obtain a handicap and attend golf camps to improve. This is a time to build the foundation of a well-rounded and competitive game. In addition to the full swing, junior players should also build a strong short game foundation early.

Next, begin playing in local and state tournaments to gain experience and confidence. Competing in better tournaments against other good players not only provides a yardstick on playing capabilities, but it also teaches younger players how to compete and win – especially under pressure. When you feel ready to compete nationally, you will want to begin playing in AJGA or IJGT golf events to gain national exposure. You will need to either play in AJGA qualifiers or play in state, regional and national tournaments to earn performance stars to make it into an AJGA field. Fully exempt AJGA players and those with the most performance stars will have the highest priority for admission in AJGA fields. For more info on how to play AJGA, follow this link.

In your freshman year of high school, research college golf programs and craft your tournament schedule. Begin sending introductory emails to coaches, expressing your interest in playing for their team, as well as your tournament schedule. Don’t assume that just because you have won some tournaments that coaches will notice you. Reach out and introduce yourself. Also keep in mind that there are recruiting restrictions for when Division I and Division II coaches can proactively contact you, so even though they are reading your emails they may not respond back.

Creating a tournament schedule that will showcase your abilities is important. It should have a mix of (in order of descending importance): qualifying to play USGA events and national invitationals like Junior World, AJGA and IJGT tours, state golf association tournaments, state and regional junior tours. Once you begin your tournament season, send updates to coaches with tournament finishes.

Proactive communication with coaches is important. They may not always respond but keep them updated with your grades, tournament results and upcoming events on a regular basis. Coaches will also be interested in swing videos, stats from tournaments, strength and conditioning milestones, and launch monitor data. Creating a website, blog or Instagram for your golf videos, stats and tournament updates is also recommended. Don’t forget to maintain your academic eligibility and keep your grades up. Coaches care about your academics, as well as your golf game.

As you narrow down your options, begin visiting prospective colleges. If you are being recruited, you will have official visits where the school can pay some of your expenses. For Division I men’s and women’s golf, official visits can begin after August 1 before your junior year. Rules permit one official visit per school. These official visits with coaches and other players is also a good time to get a feel for what will be the best place for you. It’s ok to ask them some tough questions. Remember: you want to determine if the school is a good fit. It is important that the culture is a match for you and your future goals, whether in or outside of golf.

Playing golf in college requires dedication, commitment, and a balance between academics and athletics. It’s essential to maintain your passion for the sport while excelling academically. While not all talented juniors will be able to play in college, taking a smart, strategic approach will optimize your chances. Perhaps equally important, the effort, discipline and focus juniors learn in competing will serve them well for whatever they do in life.

Written by Short Game Artists Director of Instruction, Alexandra Braga, PGA

Signup for Gift Card Enroll Now