Did you know that among the top 100 golf players worldwide, 50 golfers played College Golf before turning pro? Bizarre right! And, according to us and our student-athletes, college golf is also ‘way cooler’! In this article we explain to you why.
The facilities and professionalism
Maybe you saw the article two weeks ago about why College Soccer is more fun than ‘regular’ soccer, two topics clearly emerged: the facilities and the professionalism. And that certainly applies to College Golf as well! The USA is the golf country, that is shown by the worldwide top players who are mainly American: Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and many more!
In the USA are no fewer than 1,320 universities that offer a golf program to student-athletes. The differences in levels and facilities between these universities are enormous – some have better facilities than others. This depends on the level (Division I, II or III) and the location of the university. For example, a school in Florida, which is very south and where it is always warm, has a smaller indoor sports building than a university in Wisconsin, which is far north and where it is very cold during winters.
The NC State golf team plays in Division I and is one of America’s top 50 teams! The team features an 18-hole par 71 course of 7,350 yards (6,625 meters) designed and built by ‘The Palmer Course Design Company.’ This is the only college golf course in the USA designed by Arnold Palmer (multiple PGA Tour winner). The course has a putting and short game area that may only be used by NC State University teams.
Below you can check out a facility golf tour of NC State.
Super cool right?! Facilities that golf clubs outside of America often do not come close to. It is not for nothing that College Golf is seen as the best preparation for a professional golf career!
In this article you can read more about some beautiful American College Golf facilities!
The season and rankings
As with most college sports, the season is different than most athletes will be used to in their home country. Within golf, also the rankings are a bit different: players receive an individual ranking and a team ranking. In College Golf mainly play stroke matches are held, which are based on a team score. When you start a match with a team of 5 players, the best 4 scores are added together, which makes the team score. For example: five players achieve individual scores of 71, 73, 74, 76 and 81. The best four scores are added together, which makes a team score of 294.
That doesn’t that you don’t play for individual score any more, because you definitely do! To explain it as best we can, we take you through the year of a college golfplayer.
Since the ‘fall season’ is the time period of September to November, it’s the season in which the majority of student-athletes start their freshmen semester at their university. It is also the first period of every following school year. During fall season a lot of matches are played. The results of the matches are not for teamranking, but for you personal WAGR-rankings. Besides the matches a lot of training takes place during fall season, to make sure that every player is fully prepared for spring season (in which the teamscores play an important role). During fall season, approximately 5 matches played. Each match lasts on average 2 days. The day before it is common to start getting used to the court and prepare yourself as well as possible. Which makes the total days that you are busy with a match 3. These days are mostly even extended by 1 or 2 days caused by the long travel distances to other universities. For shorter distances a player bus is hired, for longer distances it is common to travel by airplane.
So, that’s fall season! After fall season, the christmas holidays start. Which is why a lot of student-athletes go home. At home, no matches are played but most student-athletes keep training to stay fit. And spend time with familiy and friends ofcourse! It is important to get a bit of rest since the next (busy) season is just around the corner… Spring season!
The official spring season starts from February. But most teams are already busy during January since universities organize a training camp for the team. The training periods are often at a different location from that of the university. For example, universities that are located more in the north often look for a sunnier spot in the south, sounds good right? When the training camp is over, spring season starts. 5/6 matches are played during spring season, which are played for the team ranking. Within spring season the first conference matches are played, so your team plays against other teams within the same conference. The ultimate goal is to win the conference. Because when you do, you are qualified for the NCAA National Championships. But also teams with a high ranking are qualified for the national championships. For many student-athletes it is a dream to one day be able to compete in the NCAA National Championships. Only the very best in the country compete here, and prizes are awarded to the best teams, but also to the best individual players.
In general spring season ends at the end of April, but depending on the results that were achieved the season lasts longer. The conference championships are often in the last week of April and the first week of May, the NCAA National Championships are from the end of May to the beginning of June. Most student-athletes go home during summer break but keep playing matches to receive points for their EGR or WAGR ranking. And then…. fall season starts again! Can you imagine those 4 years flying by?! They really do!
The team spirit
The team spirit, the photo and the paragraph above actually already show it, the team feeling and the responsibility towards the team bring an extra dimension to college golf. That makes you want to win for yourself, but also for the team. That golf is no longer an individual sport, but a team sport. And that your teammates don’t just become friends, but friends who have the same goal and with whom you share your entire student life. And that means that, even after your study time in America, you have friends from all over the world.
Hester Sicking, Mayka Hogenboom, Daphne van Son, Felix van Dijk, Jerry Ji: some of our slamstox-golfers who are currently playing College Golf in the USA! All of them are playing golf in Division I teams.
Hester Sicking is part of the golfteam at South Dakota State University. Earlier this month we wrote a University Spotlight about Hester and her university. Curious about Hester and her university? Check it out here.
In November last year, Mayka Hogenboom was in our university spotlight as well, the article about Mayka and her Kent State University you can read via this link.
Also Daphne van Son is active as College Golfplayer at a Divison I University, which is the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. More about Daphne and her university you can check out here!
Felix van Dijk, student-athlete at Illinois State University, was in our University Spotlight last year. Back then, we asked him why he chose for a life as student-athlete, he told us the following:
“The choice to leave for the USA and play College Golf is something that I am very happy with. Here I have the opportunity to develop myself best as an athlete, but also as a person.”Felix van Dijk – Student-Athlete
The article about Felix and Illinois State University you can check out here.
Jerry Ji is as a golfplayer part of Illinois State Redbirds, Jerry and his team are currently placed 4th in the USA. That’s extremely high! Besides that, Jerry is one of the top players of his team: he earlier received the price of ‘Big Ten Freshman of the Year’. Because Jerry’s team is placed high at the moment, they will participate in this year’s NCAA National Championship. That’s amazing, to be continued…. Go Redbirds!
Do you, just like other slamstox-golfers, want to become a student-athlete in the USA? Or do you want more information about scholarships and student-athletes? Reach out! We will help you!