Many of you have experienced a college coach observing your round, if you haven’t yet, hopefully, you will in the near future. For many players, it is the first time they really get those nervous jitters on the golf course. It can be tough to concentrate and focus on your game. You feel the need to play well, or else you may lose your chance to impress that coach. You have a few bad holes and see that the coach is leaving, so you start to think they didn’t like what they saw. They stand behind you, sometimes, taking video of your swing.

Many thoughts and emotions can go through your head that can affect your game. Did they like me? I hope they saw that shot! I can’t believe I missed that putt! Of course, I would make a birdie after the coach leaves! Why did they only watch one hole? What are they writing down?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when a coach is out watching you play that just might help you land that spot on the team.

  • Coaches actually want to see you struggle so they can evaluate how you handle the bad holes and bad days. They have seen your scores, so obviously they are impressed enough by them to come out and watch you play. They understand bad days will happen, but they want to see that you can grind it out even on days when things don’t go your way, or your swing just isn’t working for you.
  • Never show signs that you are giving up. It’s understandable to get a little upset with yourself if you have a bad hole but let it go, keep your head up, shoulders back and stay positive. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you and allow it to carry over to the next shot. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Don’t force it, just have faith in your abilities to get back on track.

stanford womens college golf

  • Treat other players with respect no matter how bad of a day you are having. Continue to tell other players nice shot. Get the pin on the green. Unless you are on the clock for slow play, never walk off the green to the next tee because you are angry. It’s OK to be a little upset at yourself for bad shots but never take it out on another player.
  • If your parents are offering you food or something to drink, accept it or politely say “no thank you.” If they are offering some encouragement, say “thank you.” Be respectful at all times!! Coaches are ALWAYS watching for these little things.
  • Parents are on the radar as well when their son or daughter is having a bad round. Continue to clap for other players in the group. Maintain your composure and stay positive. The only time it’s understandable to be upset is if the player misbehaves or blatantly gives up. Coaches want to see parents who are going to encourage their son or daughter, not make a bad day even worse.

Feedback from college coaches on what they look for when recruiting a player, as well as their parents:

“I feel like kids put too much emphasis on simply their scores, and although they are important, it is also great to see how a kid handles themselves through the ups and downs.”Division I Women’s Coach

“Finding a way to grind out decent scores on bad days.” Division I Women’s Coach

“If a parent is overbearing or mean to the child after they play badly it not only affects the player but makes a coach wonder how much they will have to deal with when the player comes to school.”Division I Women’s Coach

“I look for character traits as well as personality. I look at player/parent interaction and ask myself if these are the parents I want on my team”.Division I Women’s Coach

bioBrandi Jackson had a stellar collegiate career at Furman University, then she went on to play professionally for 8 years on the LPGA and Symetra Tour.  In 2012 Brandi was inducted into the Furman University Athletic Hall of Fame and she serves on the Board of Directors for The Blade Jr Classic. She runs her own business out of Greenville, South Carolina where she consults junior golf families all over the world on competitive junior golf and the college recruiting process. For more information on Brandi Jackson visit her website at Follow Brandi on Twitter @bjacksongolf and Instagram @bjacksongolf.

For more information about college golf recruiting and competitive junior golf, including Brandi’s innovative online Golf Recruiting 101 Course and Recruit Caddy Service, visit

Image credit: Stanford Cal Golf – Kevin Batangan – Creative Commons Licence