Louise Oxner recently graduated from the University of Louisville where she played collegiate golf all 4 years. Louise played junior golf in SC and was a member of the PKBGT. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to consult Louise on her college recruiting and we have maintained a friendship ever since.
I sat down with Louise for lunch a couple of weeks ago while she was in town to catch up on her post-college plans. I also asked her to share some thoughts on her experience of playing college golf and what advice she would have for junior golfers going through the process.
What did you learn the most about playing college golf?
I have learned how to manage my time more efficiently and how to make better decisions on my own. I definitely feel like I make better decisions on the golf course and know a little more about how to manage my game.
What would you do differently as a junior golfer (more specific to golf game) if you could go back?
I wish I had started with my current swing coach (Ricky Sullivan) back when I was a junior college. I did not get started with him until my junior year of college and feel that if I started sooner, my game would be a lot better. My weakness in my game was always ball striking and I believe that he would have strengthened it more in high school to where I would have been a more developed player once I got to college.
What would you have done differently with college recruiting if you could go back?
There is not really anything I would have done differently. I believe I was very proactive with the process by calling coaches early on in high school and getting my name out there. If there is one thing I would suggest to recruits that would be to really do your background search on all of the different programs and talk to as many people as you can about the coaches and players on the teams. I would also be very observant when going on the visits and maybe even ask coaches uncomfortable questions just to throw them off and see how they react. It is very difficult to get a feel of how a coach is until you are locked into the program. The more time you take in the recruiting process, sometimes the better off you will be in the end.
How do you feel college golf prepares you for the next phase of your life?
There is one thing in particular about college golf that recruits or even current college players do not think about that is very important. The people you will meet at your time in college and the connections you will make are very important. When you go to college, you will play in various fundraising events, where you will meet a lot of your program’s main supporters. It is very important to form relationships with these people and engage in genuine conversations. My freshman year the first supporter I ever played golf with is now the man who helped me get my first job. At the time, I would have never thought that working for GE was what I would be doing when I graduate. However, I made sure to always keep in touch with the people I was introduced to and it lead to pathways for me in the future
Any advice for an incoming college freshman?
A lot of freshmen are overwhelmed when they first get to college because they do not know what to expect. A lot of them also put a lot of pressure and expectation on themselves. I would say for them to not worry about how their freshman year goes and to just see it as a learning year regardless of whether they play great or not. The goal is to get better each year you are there and to look at your four years as a journey. I would also recommend learning how to manage time as quickly as possible. You should stay organized from the start. The second you get your golf schedule jot everything down in a planner and do the same for all of your schoolwork. That way, you can see what overlaps and what needs to be done.
Any advice for current junior golfers?
Stay patient in the recruiting process. You do not want to make a decision too soon because a lot can change. You really want to take the time to get to know the coaches and players that you will be playing with. You also want to weigh out all of your options and make a decision that will be best for you and your game. I would also recommend looking beyond golf and see if you like the school itself just in case something goes wrong with you physically and you do not get to play as much. You want to make sure you will still be happy at a school in case golf is not going well.