The Mississippi Golf Association is partnering with college coaches across the state to help educate and assist juniors on their road to playing collegiate golf. Mississippi golf had a tremendous 2019 season with several players across the state garnering national recognition with victories on a national level. Players like Andy Ogletree, Hayden Buckley, Joe Deraney, Ally McDonald, and Cohen Trolio accomplished goals that very few achieve yet have paved the way for Mississippi golfers to continue to add on to the storied tradition. The Mississippi Golf Association with the assistance of Mississippi collegiate coaches would like to assist all juniors in achieving their lifelong dream to play collegiate golf and to build upon their future successes. Below you will find information that can help you or someone you know achieve the goal of continuing your golfing career well after high school.
What kind of student are you? Most colleges require student athletes to maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher to be eligible for sports. Be sure you are staying on top of your grades in high school and are being proactive with your school/sports/life balance as it will be imperative that you remain organized and focused as you enter college as an athlete. If you find yourself struggling in high school, be proactive getting tutoring to help bring your grades up. Most colleges will have on campus tutoring available to help you keep your grades up, but don’t always rely on it! While in high school, develop good study habits that you can take with you to college. If playing college golf is a goal for you, reach out to some colleges you may be interested in attending and see what is required and recommended to attend that college. Start YOUR college recruitment process early in high school as it’s better to have plenty of time to make this decision over the last few years of your high school career. Remember, grades are just as important as your golf game. One thing you must remember is you are a Student-Athlete and coaches and universities will always ensure that the student comes first.
How well do you manage your time? Are you able to take on multiple responsibilities? Coaches are looking for players that can not only perform on the golf course but in the classroom as well. When playing in college you miss classes several times a semester. Will you be able to miss those classes and still be able to catch up on things you may have missed when away at golf tournaments? When playing a collegiate sport, you must manage your time of golf practice, golf workouts, golf tournaments, college classes, studying/tutoring, and a social life. Coaches want players that can give time to each and still be successful. Start taking on the responsibility of managing your time when in high school. Don’t always rely on someone to do it for you. When you go to college you may not have that person there to help.
What type of work ethic do you have now? Are you putting forth your best effort or just doing enough to get by? College coaches look for players that are willing to work hard on and off the golf course. Coaches like players that show up early to practice, stay late when needed, and are willing to work hard to achieve not only their personal goals but the goals of the team. Coaches want players that don’t always have to be told what to do but are looking for players who are proactive in their responsibilities. A strong work ethic can take you far not only in golf, but in life as well and it is something that coaches like to see from the minute you step on campus.
Do you work on things you struggle with or just rely on talent alone to get you by? Your scores may not show your true ability. Coaches can see talent in a player that may not be posting low scores or those who might be struggling. If you have ability and a strong work ethic, college coaches will sometimes look at you over the person posting lower scores and who have low work ethic. Don’t always assume scores and rankings are what college coaches only look at in their recruitment of players. If things are not where you want them to be, what are you doing to fix them? What are you doing to always be better than you were yesterday?
College Coaches have confirmed that junior ranking is important but is not the final deciding factor when it comes to playing collegiate golf. Juniors can be ranked by playing in just four(4) 36-hole tournaments in one calendar year. One coach said, “If a player is not playing in enough tournaments to be ranked, how can I depend on that player to play a full college season?” Most coaches will admit rankings do grab their attention and show them that a certain player likes to compete. While rankings may grab the coach’s initial attention, the players overall ranking is not as important to the ranking of your current class. “Where does the player rank against those with the same graduation year?”
Scoring Average and Distance Played
College tournaments are normally played from longer yardages than high school events. Coaches look for players that are used to playing longer yardages so it’s not as big of an adjustment for them transitioning from high school to college. Most male college events are played from 6600 yards and longer. Most female college events are played from yardages of over 6000 yards. When playing at your home course or during leisurely rounds, play from longer yardages than normal. Keep records of those scores to possibly pass on to coaches. When coaches look at scores, they also look at how long the course was playing as shorter courses tend to promote lower scores. Don’t always play the same set of tees you are used to. Playing different tees will allow you to practice different clubs in the bag which in turn will make you a much more rounded player. Being able to play different yardages prepares players to adjust easier to the different types of courses you play on the collegiate level.
Tournaments – SJGT, State Amateur, Jr. State Amateur, AJGA
What tournaments are you playing in? All MJGA junior events are recognized by the Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings and you only have to play in four of those events to be ranked by the Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings. One coach said, “You don’t always have to play in national events to be recognized.” Just playing in local and state tournaments can get you recognized by local and state colleges. Another coach stated, “The national tournaments with smaller fields, such as some AJGA tournaments, are not always good because coaches don’t want to spend the money to go recruit at small field events.” Also, you don’t always have to participate in junior only tournaments. Coaches recommended playing in your state’s Amateur Championship as that event is played at longer yardages than junior events and allows coaches to see how the player handles himself with a much more difficult golf course setup and stronger competition. In the end, the more tournaments that you are able to compete in the more opportunities a coach will have to recruit you.
How Can I Get the Attention of College Coaches?
Play in as many tournaments as possible. They all don’t have to be national tournaments as playing in multiple local tournaments versus one national tournament may be just as beneficial. Also, play in more events other than junior event. Compete in your State Amateur Championship or Open events in your area to create opportunities to test your game against stronger competition and more challenging golf courses.
Make a resume you can send to coaches that will get their attention. One coach said, “Think of it like a job interview. If you don’t send in a resume, how do we know you’re interested in the job?” Create a resume that tells the coach about you, your grades, your tournament results, and your interest in attending that college. This allows the coach to spotlight your name at future events and keep track of all your accomplishments.
Contact the Coaches
Below you will find a list of all the collegiate golf opportunities along with each college golf coach in the state of Mississippi. We encourage you, your golf coach, your parent, or family friend to contact these coaches to show them you are interested in playing golf at the collegiate level and would like to get more information regarding their program. Finally, be sure to send your updated resume to the coach thru email or regular mail.
|University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) - Men's||Chris Malloyemail@example.com||662-816-3535|
|University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Women's||Kory Henkesfirstname.lastname@example.org||662-816-2636|
|Mississippi State University - Men's||Dusty Smithemail@example.com||662-325-2722|
|Mississippi State University - Women's||Ginger Brown-Lemmfirstname.lastname@example.org||662-325-2722|
|Southern Mississippi University - Men's||Eddie Brescheremail@example.com||601-266-4836|
|Southern Mississippi University - Women's||Lucy Nunnfirstname.lastname@example.org||601-266-4836|
|Mississippi College - Men's||Ethan Doanemail@example.com||601-925-3810|
|Delta State University - Men's||Easton Keyfirstname.lastname@example.org||662-846-4300|
|Belhaven University - Men's||Tyler Freemanemail@example.com||601-968-8809|
|William Carey University - Men's & Women's||Jeff Mixonfirstname.lastname@example.org||601-318-6597|
|Mississippi University for Women - Men's & Women's||Benji Williamsemail@example.com||662-4980215|
|Millsaps College - Men's & Women's||Andrew MacBeanfirstname.lastname@example.org||601-974-1213|
|Blue Mountain College - Men's & Women's||Kevin Barefieldemail@example.com||662-685-4771|
|Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College - Men's||Tommy Snellfirstname.lastname@example.org||601-528-8952|
|Meridian Community College - Men's||Ronnie Keyemail@example.com||601-484-8663|
|Itawamba Community College - Men's||Michael Nanneyfirstname.lastname@example.org||662-862-8412|
|Northeast Community College - Men's||Derek DeVaughnemail@example.com||662-720-7404|
|Southwest Community College - Men's||Ronny Rossfirstname.lastname@example.org||601-754-3201|