Survey: What do Golf Pros think about College Golf?
18 Mar 2019
by Brendan Ryan of Golf Placement Services

I have wondered for a while now, what do golf teachers think of college golf? To find out, I created a survey which collected background information about the professionals and asked five quantitative questions and two qualitative questions. Among the 50 golf professionals surveyed were five National Team coaches, 20 professionals ranked by Golf Digest as a Top Teacher, five younger professionals (less than five years of experience), and 20 teaching professionals who specialize in junior golf.

Of the 50, the average respondent had 17 years of coaching and teaching experience, sending on an average of 40 students to play college golf. Twenty-three of the coaches have sent more than 75 players to college, while 10 have sent less than 15.


Q: What do you think is the most important consideration for a junior in picking a college?

We gave them four choices: coach, schedule, practice facilities or access to technology. Among the respondents, 64 percent said that the coach was most important, with 20 percent suggesting practice facilities and 16 percent suggesting schedule. None of the golf professionals chose access to technology.

Q: Do you believe that college golf plays an important role in the development of golfers?

To this, 84 percent affirmed that they thought college golf does play an important role in the development of golfers.

Q: What percentage of players do you think get better in college?

The average answer was 56 percent. Eighteen respondents suggest the number was 65 percent or higher, while one respondent suggested the number was 95 percent. On the other end, 15 respondents suggested that the number was 20 percent or less.

Q: What percent of coaches do you think are outstanding?

The average answer was 26 percent. Looking closer at the data only eight people put 50 percent or more and one person said 75 percent whereas 22 people said 15 percent or less.

Q: What percent of college coaches do you think can best be characterized as “bus drivers”?

The average answer was 41 percent, with 15 respondents suggesting the number was 70 percent or more.


The next two questions were qualitative and drew a diverse response which make them difficult to characterize. As a result, I asserted the right to summarize key ideas, as well as make note of any responses I thought were particularly insightful.

Q: If you could change something about college golf, what would it be?

The most common answer here, by far and noted by 15 of the respondents, was to increase the amount of scholarship available. I found this interesting and reached out to a couple participants for further feedback.

Each noted that in other sports, like volleyball, players got full rides or nothing, but in golf they got a percentage of cost of attendance. Coaches noted that for at least 50 percent of their students, the amount oof scholarship money played a significant role in where they would attend.

Another point made by 12 respondents was to increase the number of players on the roster participating in events. From a long-term athletic development standpoint, it certainly makes sense to get more people participating, as it is likely that tournament experience is closely linked with professional success.

Q: What is the biggest barrier to players getting better in college?

Over 75 percent of respondents noted something related to the environment including the pressure to perform, lack of support or too many responsibilities. These are all good observations and certainly reflect the realities of college golf; there have never been better resources for college golfers but there has also never been more expected of those same players.

In my next article, the tables will be turned and I will ask college coaches what they think of teaching professionals.


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