Written by Anya Alvarez, Friend of G2 and CEO/Founder of Major League Girls
Choosing where you play college golf might seem like an overwhelming task. And it is a big decision, a decision that shouldn’t be made in haste. So how do you know which college golf program is best for you, and what type of criteria should you should use to narrow down to one choice?
When I was a junior golfer, I had my school lined up: the University of Tulsa. In the beginning being close to home was important (the school was a 15 minute drive from where I grew up), but the other important factor was I loved the coach at the school. Tulsa wasn’t the most prestigious program in the nation, although they had produced several great players over the years (i.e. Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez), but playing for a coach I respected was incredibly important to me.
The conversations with Tulsa were already in place, and it seemed like a done deal that I’d play there. But then, the coach that I was mainly basing this decision off of, decided to retire from coaching. So I was back to square one.
I met with other coaches and schools, and while the programs and schools were great, I didn’t feel a connection to any of the coaches. And even though the schools I met with were relatively close to home, that wasn’t enough for me.
Soon, I was on google researching different programs and ran across the University of Washington. When I read that the head coach, Marylou Mulflur had been there for over twenty years, I suddenly was interested in the program. I emailed her my golf resume, and a week later she flew out to watch me play in Pueblo, CO. at the Publinx Championship.
When we met, I immediately felt like this person would not only help me advance my career in golf, but that she would also help me grow as a person. She took an interest in me, and asked me about various things I liked outside of golf, asked about my family, and asked what she could do to make Washington feel like home.
The following day she offered me a full-ride scholarship, and without hesitation, I said. Keep in mind, I said yes despite not having done an official campus visit or have ever even going to Seattle where the school is based.
I went off my gut and instinct that Coach Mulflur was the person I wanted to play for, and following my gut vs adhering to other types of criteria led me to making the decision that was right for me.
But even though I followed my gut, I never wavered from what was most important to me in the beginning: that who I played for was more important than how good the team was.
The way I thought of it was that if I was committing to play four years somewhere, that I wanted to get along with the coach, and I wanted them to be someone I could lean on as a mentor. I knew that Coach Mulflur would be that person for me.
Trust me, I know it can get easy to get lost in the weeds and comb over every little thing about a school and program before making a choice of where you will play. But sometimes one thing will be more important than all the other things, and focusing on one or two things vs multiple criteria can help make the process less arduous and stressful. So maybe you want to play for a top program, or attend a university that has a great program for what you want to study. Or perhaps being close to home is the most important thing to you about where you’ll play. Regardless of what it is, don’t overburden yourself with too many criteria.
The way I view making this choice is very similar to golf. Having too many choices between what club to hit, what type of shot too hit, and all the factors that go into making a decision before even swinging your club can give you “paralysis by analysis.” Meaning, you’ll stress yourself out before you even have to hit, and you will end up hitting the shot with uncertainty.
Simplify the process. Focus on a couple things, and go from there. Most importantly, trust your gut and know that you will make the right choice in the end for yourself.