Every aspiring college golfer has a totally unique and somewhat complex journey in finding their ultimate placement in America. In junior school, I was a competitive provincial tennis player. But once I was introduced to golf, it was always my main focus. In high school, I stopped playing competitive tennis altogether and continued with just hockey and golf. At the beginning of high school, I was chosen to be part of the GolfRSA Talent Identification Squad and later the GolfRSA B-squad. I am currently in the GolfRSA Elite squad and these selections have given me additional opportunities to develop my game and have helped in the college application process.
As I started climbing the South African Junior rankings, I was introduced to the possibility of being offered a scholarship to study in America. This would give me a chance to compete amongst the best amateurs in the world and get a good education. To me, this sounded like an unbelievable opportunity. At the time, a few of the top juniors had made their way to the States, after completing high school. For the rest of my high school career, I worked towards this goal. I tried to best manage my time, in order to achieve well academically and perform as best I could in the tournaments. I soon realized that many sacrifices had to be made as well. With the help of coaches and past college golfers, I was given advice on what to look for in a great college program. Location and weather conditions are important. As well as coaching staff and facilities. I was looking to apply to a competitive division one school, but depending on what level you want to compete at, there are other options. Including NCAA D2 and D3 as well as NAIA.
Before starting my grade 11 school year, I competed in the USA at the Annika Invitational in Florida. It was an awesome, eye opening experience. This helped my recruiting process, as college coaches were able to see me play, in person. I was told that coaches look for players of high character to add to their team. And that they are not only focused on the scores you shoot, but also watch your on-course behavior. After returning from this event, I received some interest from a few schools. I decided not to ask any college recruitment agency to assist me in my applications. Many players and parents decide to go this route for assistance in obtaining a scholarship offer, but it can be costly.
When starting the college recruiting process, it is important that your subject choices align with college core course requirements. Some important steps in the process include signing up with the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association) eligibility centre. This is where you will be asked to complete outstanding tasks during the recruiting application process. You will be asked to send high school transcripts annually to update your GPA (Grade Point Average). Therefore it is important to keep good grades, improving your chances at receiving a scholarship. You should also write the SAT exam, it is a standardized test used for acceptance into most colleges. Once I had some good results, I was able to compile a resume and send this off to some colleges. It is important to show interest in many of your favourite schools, as the recruiting process can be difficult and very uncertain. Keep an open mind and always be responsive. It is advised to also keep colleges updated on your tournament performance and playing schedule. When a college shows interest in you, there will be numerous emails and calls before a possible scholarship is offered. I had countless emails, texts, zoom meetings and calls with a few colleges. And after a few months, I got the best news. I was offered a scholarship to play for The University of North Carolina. I was ecstatic. I knew this was an amazing school with an unbelievable program. Within a few days, I verbally committed to UNC at Chapel Hill. Later that year, I signed the National Letter of Intent, making it official. It’s been a complex and time consuming process but, is definitely worthwhile in the end. I am currently counting down the days for my departure in August, where the next chapter of my golfing and academic life will start. I have decided to study business administration and I am so excited for the next four years at UNC – Chapel Hill.