Former D1 Golf Coach Offers 8 Keys to a College Scholarship

A former college golf coach and administrator with more than 20 years of experience in college athletics addresses the frequently asked question: “What piece of advice can you give us to help get my son/daughter earn a college golf scholarship?”

I’ve seen and experienced virtually everything, and here’s my top 8: 

1. Download the
RecruitMe App

Finally, a recruiting app has been created to incorporate the needs of both coaches and athletes all in one place. Download the app, build your profile with stats, videos, test scores, schedules and more. Send your profile directly to a college coach via RecruitMe’s directory of over 25,000 coaches. The RecruitMe app is very best way to organize and streamline the recruiting process.

2. Start Early

If you wait to start the college recruiting process the summer after your junior year in high school, it’s too late. It’s never too early to start thinking about where you would like to play, and which colleges are the most appropriate for you. In today’s competitive recruiting environment, athletes are committing to colleges earlier and earlier every year. Don’t wait until the senior year to get started.

3. Grades Matter

So many parents and students don’t understand the importance of academics in the college recruiting process and the emphasis that college athletic programs place on grades.  Good grades and high standardized test scores make a student much more attractive to a college coach. Work as hard in the classroom as you do in the weightroom!

4. Be Realistic

In my opinion, contacting the wrong schools is by far the greatest source of frustration for recruits and their parents. There is nothing worse than sending multiple emails to numerous coaches and receiving no responses. If you’re going to contact unrealistic colleges, you might as well just wait and hope the colleges contact you.

The first step to identifying the right colleges is to understand which level colleges match your athletic abilities. To do that, have a candid conversation with your current swing coach or instructor. Just ask for an honest opinion on how you stack up with other players.

The second step is to make sure you qualify academically. If you don’t qualify academically for a college, then an athletic scholarship is not in the cards. A little research on NCAA eligibility and on each school should answer this question quickly.  Once you’ve completed these two steps, creating a list of appropriate opportunities will be much more fruitful.

5. Create a great video

A recruiting video is going to give you a competitive advantage against every recruit that doesn’t have one. There are so many college coaches that may not have the budget to come see you play, so let’s bring it to them! I highly suggest that you invest the time and energy into creating a video of your skills that you can be proud of. Consider your recruiting video as an introduction to any college program in the country. You can even save it in the app!

6. Ask for help

Your high school guidance counselor, your current coach and your parents are great resources. Taking advantage of all three will go a long way toward finding a college roster spot.  Your guidance counselor can help you identify the colleges that match your academic profile, your coach and parents can help you identify the right schools athletically and your RecruitMe app can organize and streamline your process.

7. You have lots of options

You need to understand that NCAA Division I is not the only option. You can find scholarships in most sports at the NCAA Division II, NAIA and junior college levels. These schools offer a quality education, an opportunity for a high school athlete to continue his or her athletic career and a scholarship to help cover the costs. Don’t rule out NCAA Division III schools either. Although these schools don’t offer athletic scholarships, they do offer grants, loans and other financial aid and the athletic department generally can be a huge help.

8. Take charge

Be the driver, not the passenger, in your college recruiting journey.  If you rely on someone else to find your scholarship, you may not like the result.  While college coaches like hearing from your coach endorsing your abilities, ultimately, being in contact with college coaches is your responsibility. If you want that scholarship, you need to be the primary contact for the college coaches. I always loved seeing athletes taking initiative to reach out to me.  Be a self-starter!

Athletic scholarships go unused EVERY year in the U.S”¦ get started today at

Whit Turnbow
President, Tennessee Golf Foundation
Former D1 College Golf Coach/ Administrator


The Hurricane Tour annual membership is the best value in junior golf! Whether you are brand new to competitive junior golf or a seasoned veteran hoping to impress college coaches, HJGT’s exclusive membership will enhance your tour experience.