Recap: High School/College Golf Panel Discussion

September 24, 2023

Thanks so much to the ~70 participants who attended the high school/college golf panel discussion. We learned so much & the heightened clarity about our kids’ future journey in golf was priceless. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s a summary of what was discussed:

Ethan Gomez – El Dorado High School Golf Team

  • His school has both JV & Varsity teams. Some schools only have Varsity
  • In general, +6 or better in 9 holes to qualify into Varsity Team and Bogey golf in 9 holes on JV
  • 6-8 players/team. ~6 play against other school in a match. Some spots are assigned based on practice results
  • During season can have 1-4 matches in a week, more during height of the season. Also 2-4 days of practice a week (typically practice on days with no matches). They generally play Monday through Thursday and have Friday and the weekend off; but coach still wants them to practice on their own.
  • Generally little time for social life during golf season; but season is short so overall balances out well

Craig Tagler – Western High School Golf Coach

  • Girls season in Fall; Boys in Spring
  • HS cannot contact player until after 8th grade graduation. However, a player can inquire about a HS golf program 
  • Schools typically have 7-8 matches per season, but some up to 22 per season
  • Quality of golf team varies greatly from year to year depending on experience of players coming in. Strong team if it has returning experienced players
  • Not a spectator sport; inability to sell tickets means there needs to be fundraisers etc. Players’ parents or coach have to transport to tournaments; at his school, the coach transports everyone.  
  • If your HS don’t have a team, you can still qualify for CIF in open qualification
  • At CIF playoffs, maybe only 25% of players break 100.

Chloe Carraway – Long Beach State Golf Team (Division 1)

  • No tryout for college. Players are usually recruited. Must meet athletic grade and course requirements in order to be in college golf
  • Coaches usually look at scores from outside events like SCPGA and AJGA
  • High School Golf teams skill level varies a lot so outside events are better gauge of a player’s ability
  • In season: 20 hrs/week practice. Off season 8 hrs/week. Practice consists of play, range, putt, weights (strength) and core training
  • Fall and Spring season
  • A lot of traveling in season so invariably will miss a lot of school. Typically 3 rounds of golf per tournament plus travel time.
  • It is player’s responsibility to make-up, but school does offer lots of resources to help. Must maintain GPA in order to stay on team
  • Some team even have strict dietary requirements in season or during tournament (Chloe’s team – no sweets!)
  • The intensity of practice regimen & tournament schedule makes it common that players suffer injuries. Chloe had surgery on her wrist & is still recovering; it’s a mixed bag of emotions being part of the team & yet not able to contribute, so she finds other roles to play ie. 

Bob Bosanko – Saddleback College Golf Coach

  • Use Fieldlevel App to create your athletic profile; coaches search for candidates inside the database
  • Swing video not that important, more interested in tournament record
  • Golf results on tournaments – best to maintain hole by hole score
  • Outside non-HS tournaments are heavily used to evaluate a player ability
  • Good idea to maintain USGA Handicap
  • Grades are important – must meet requirement before even getting on a team
  • Most schools have online applications; no tryout
  • Personal character is important; sportsmanship & attitude
  • Coaches look for progress in golf game from HS onward/grow year after year
  • Within a D1 school, individual scores can vary between 40-50 strokes
  • Reality check – in his 40+ years of coaching 300K+ students, only 1 turned pro (Cameron T.)

Final words of wisdom

  • Mental part of the game just as if not more important; be able to recover from a bad shot/round without being rattled. Able to maintain score even when game/swing is not working
  • Believe in yourself no matter what etc.; the mental game is the part that’s not taught much in school
  • Spend least amount of time with your driver; most amount of time with your putter
  • Most of the scoring happens within 120 yards
  • There are 25,000 out there who have better game than the pros on Sunday afternoon. The difference is, the players who make it on Sunday afternoon can make those 6-ft putts to save par when under pressure