A top college golf coach reveals how aspiring players can get noticed

Talented young golfers are seemingly everywhere these days, but before they make a name for themselves on the PGA Tour, many of them flock to top-tier schools to hone their abilities under the watchful eyes of a college coaching staff.

University of Florida men’s golf coach JC Deacon is heading into his eighth year with the Gators, and on this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, he shared his advice for prospective student-athletes who want to get on a coach’s radar.

NCAA golfers compete in a tournament
What it takes to be successful as a collegiate golfer, according to a top college coach
By: Jessica Marksbury

“First, you gotta show the ability you can play,” Deacon said. “You gotta be able to post scores in the 60s. You gotta shoot three-day tournaments under par. You have to be able to do that to play at that level.”

Deacon says personality is important too, since players and coaches spend a lot of time together.

“You gotta have good guys,” he said. “And it’s amazing, watching a five-hour round of golf, how they treat their playing opponents, how they treat the volunteers, how they treat the staff, how they treat themselves. That’s why I love golf. It’s so much about your character and who you are. It reveals so much about all of us.

“College coaches are watching that very closely, because we gotta spend every day with these guys,” Deacon continued. “These guys are gonna come to our school, they’re gonna represent our logo, they’re gonna represent us, they’re gonna be around our staff every day. If you get one bad one on a team, you’re in big trouble. We have to avoid that. That’s absolutely a huge part of our job.”

For more from Deacon, including what it takes to be successful as a collegiate golfer, and why today’s collegiate players have a new mindset, check out the full interview below.

Jessica Marksbury
Golf.com

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.