Getting a college scholarship for any reason is a great accomplishment. It takes financial burden off the family, can be a source of pride and motivation for the student. For an ambitious young female golfer, getting an athletic scholarship to a great school is actually easier than it may seem. The competition for such scholarships is not as fierce as in some other sports, and you don't need to be the next Annika Sorenstam to get a nice financial package. The following tips will position your young girl well to achieve a great athletic scholarship.
Get Started Early. When learning golf as a child, there is no substitute for time. The younger your girl can start playing, especially in tournaments, the better chance they will have later on. There is a lot to learn when playing tournament golf, and learning those lessons at a young age is a great advantage.
Make Connections. As your child plays in junior tournaments, talk to other parents and golf pros at the courses. They are likely to know college coaches, and you can make some connections that could come in very handy later on. When your child reaches the teenage years, you will start to see the college coaches hanging around the tournaments looking for talent.
Good Grades. Even when pursuing an athletic scholarship, having good grades is a great advantage. If applying to a tough academic school, your child will need to have good enough grades (and test scores) to get into the school on her own merit. The loosening of the rules that occurs for basketball players is not likely to come into play when signing a golfer. Also, good grades indicate to a coach that the player is responsible and mature enough to handle being a student-athlete.
Love the Game. This probably should have been first on the list. If your daughter doesn't love the game of golf, don't force it. Golf takes incredible work ethic and focus to become highly skilled at - and without a love for playing the game, it can quickly start to feel like punishment. Make sure your child understands that they are not obligated to play, and be sure to make time for other activities to keep their lives in balance.
Don't Be Shy. Often, athletic scholarships are offered to people who aren't afraid to ask. Contact coaches starting when your daughter reaches junior year of high school, maybe even earlier. Just a simple email introducing yourself and highlighting some of your child's achievements is enough to get the ball rolling. From there, the coach will likely keep track of the tournaments your daughter plays in and will offer a scholarship if they feel it would be a good fit.
Paying for college can be one of the biggest financial strains in life. By getting a golf scholarship, your child can ease the burden on both themselves and you as parents. If your daughter has a love for playing the game, encourage her without being pushy. Children are naturally hard working when pursuing something they love. Be supportive and understanding along the way - and she just might end up being offered a valuable college golf scholarship.