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D3 College Golf - Realistic Expectations


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My son is a junior in high school, multi sport athlete.   He plays high school and club soccer in addition to golf.   He has played the local JPGA events the past two summers and faired well.  He is a 5 HC.   I don't have a good sense for the D3 golf landscape to know if it is even possible based on local and regional tournaments.   All the college sports have complex and varying recruiting processes.

 

If anyone has advice, info etc.. it is appreciated.    

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My son is a freshman at a D3 school in Tennessee so I can provide some perspective along with others here on the site.  In high school, my Son played state and regional tours along with a few AJGA events.  He was an individual and team state high school champion in New Hampshire ( 2 years in TN, 2 years in NH), was around ~2250 nationally on JGS and at one point was top 300 in his class (he battled several significant injuries that required 6-8 weeks off in 3 straight summers).  For reference, he has been as low as a +2.9 handicap.  

 

I will say that D3 golf is very competitive, especially for schools that are in the top 25.  With all of the Covid year extensions and the transfer portal, you are seeing more top schools taking fewer freshman at the D1 and D2 levels, so that talent is finding places to play at D3 and NAIA schools.  With that said, there should be opportunities at some D3 schools especially if he can continue to improve over the summer.

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D3 is a huge range, so there's a place for everyone. 

The top 25 D3 schools can probably beat the #200-300 of the D1 schools. 

However, the bottom 3 kids can't break 100, haha. 

The good news is that covid kids will all be done by the time your son will be recruited. 

 

My suggestion is to look at golfstat & the tournament scores to get an idea what these schools/players are shooting.

As a filter, add 1-2 strokes to your son's score to the top 3 players' scores (coaches recruiting for top 3, and not looking to replace #4-5). 

Also, I'd check out the D3 golf guys IG & podcast as they have some good info. 

 

Lastly, look at the list & see if any of these schools are of interest. 

Keep in mind, like Ivies & lower D1s, D3 schools/golf programs have zero scholarships.

Therefore, it's either pay to play - or financial aid. 

 

P.S. D3 has no restrictions on talking with recruits, so I would start with top 30 D3's and start email them.

Be sure to look at the school website & explain why you want to play for that school & coach. 

Also, on the email intro, add a few 5 to 10 second video clips of your son's swing driver & iron swings (front & down the line).

And be sure to have you son do 5 second intro so coaches can see his personality. 

 

Good luck! 

 

 

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On 2/12/2024 at 5:27 AM, hrs122 said:

My son is a junior in high school, multi sport athlete.   He plays high school and club soccer in addition to golf.   He has played the local JPGA events the past two summers and faired well.  He is a 5 HC.   I don't have a good sense for the D3 golf landscape to know if it is even possible based on local and regional tournaments.   All the college sports have complex and varying recruiting processes.

 

If anyone has advice, info etc.. it is appreciated.    

Fwiw, the hdcp # is probably not relevant to most coaches as it's difficult to monitor. 

They want tournament average scores, tournament score vs. peer group/scoring differentials, etc...

If possible, i'd encourage your son to play in some amateur this spring/summer tournaments. 

Not only will he learn a lot from playing with guys shooting near/below par, but if he plays better than some of the college players, it's a great reason to reach out to the schools. 

 

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I started at a D3 and went up to a D2 for two years.  

 

Best advice I can give you is find a good coach who knows golf and cares about his program... if your kid makes the team and puts in the work he'll reap the benefits.  

 

My D3 coach wasn't very interested in the team - my best friend on the team and I played really well at a big tournament in Nebraska and a D2 coach was there scouting and picked us both up.  The D2 coach was amazing until his kid came on to the team my last year at the school - all the sudden his kid is getting the prime matches that we need to win and not doing so and ignoring the fact the "2 and 3" guys were cleaning house.   We both got fed up with it and left , 5 years later the golf program dried up due to mismanagement.    I was tired of playing 5 days a week and practicing 7 days a week and not getting the recognition in terms of playing position , same went for my best friend.  

 

 

 

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D3 player here. Agree with @Phabs above about the coach, our coach is a former Latin America Tour player so he's heavily invested in the team and making us better. 

 

Also agree with above that coaches don't focus too much on hcp or high school scores. They're more focused on tournament scores. I played a ton of HJGT as a junior, played in a few AJGA events, never did particularly well.

 

My advice is to reach out to coaches as D3 is pretty unrestricted when it comes to that. See who responds and go from there, make sure its a school he likes. 

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On 2/15/2024 at 6:15 PM, golferdad8 said:

D3 is a huge range, so there's a place for everyone. 

The top 25 D3 schools can probably beat the #200-300 of the D1 schools. 

 

 

 

The top 10 ranked schools can beat teams #75-200. It is wild how much better D3 has gotten at the top since the portal and covid.

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Question for people who have been through this.   In trying to figure out the lay of the land here in mostly looking at mid-atlantic colleges, maybe a bit further south.   It looks like there are the a)ACC schools, then b)a few other D1 schools that seem to be vested in their golf team, and then c)some other D1 schools that don't seem to care at all about their golf teams.  There are very few D2 schools in this area, so I don't really see them as much of an option.   For D3, d)there are a handful of schools that seem very vested in their golf team, and a couple somewhat invested, and then schools that would probably lose to our high school team.      

 

If it comes down to a choice between b,c and d.   Assuming not much of a differentiation in education considerations, what are the pros and cons of going to a D3 school with a great golf programs vs a D1 with a good to ok golf program?

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On 2/23/2024 at 12:13 PM, TroyB123 said:

Question for people who have been through this.   In trying to figure out the lay of the land here in mostly looking at mid-atlantic colleges, maybe a bit further south.   It looks like there are the a)ACC schools, then b)a few other D1 schools that seem to be vested in their golf team, and then c)some other D1 schools that don't seem to care at all about their golf teams.  There are very few D2 schools in this area, so I don't really see them as much of an option.   For D3, d)there are a handful of schools that seem very vested in their golf team, and a couple somewhat invested, and then schools that would probably lose to our high school team.      

 

If it comes down to a choice between b,c and d.   Assuming not much of a differentiation in education considerations, what are the pros and cons of going to a D3 school with a great golf programs vs a D1 with a good to ok golf program?

 

It comes down to what the player wants.

 

A D1 team like Appalachian State is going to finish close to last in their conference year in and year out. ASU has no chance to win the conference or to advance to the NCAA tournament and know after conferences they are going home.

 

A D3 team like Guilford is annually one of the better D3 teams where the team annually competes for the conference championship and a trip to the National Championship. Guilford has better golfers and will beat App State. Players at Guilford will be up for Player of the Year, Academic Awards, etc.

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