For both 2022 and 2023 recruits, it is that time of year for official and unofficial visits. While visits are more often going to be offered on the coaches’ end, you can still request to take an unofficial visit if you have an interest in the school and golf program.
There is a lot of misleading and misunderstood information about unofficial vs official visits. As with so many areas of this process, this comparison is going to be very situational based on the coach and athletic dept, but I wanted to address a few things to help you better understand the differences.
Unofficial visits are paid entirely by the prospect, with the exception of 3 complimentary tickets to a sporting event. You can take as many unofficial visits as you would like throughout your junior and senior years.
Official visits are paid either entirely or partly by the university, this includes the prospect’s transportation to and from campus, lodging, meals, and entertainment. You can only take 5 total official visits and only 1 per institution throughout the entire recruiting process.
Until just a few years ago, official visits weren’t even part of the actual recruiting process because they were not allowed until senior year, and most recruits had taken unofficial visits and verbally committed prior to that time. So most coaches didn’t have to budget for them or consider how they would offer them vs a recruit wanting to come on an unofficial visit.
Now that they are allowed junior year, coaches are finding themselves having to redo budgets and consider where and how they will allocate funds. Some have much smaller overall budgets than other schools and they opt to save the money for team and travel expenses vs using them for official visits. They have a lot to consider when it comes to these decisions and how they will affect the coach’s ability to get the best recruits while also providing the team the best opportunities to compete and get better.
And you as the prospect and family have a lot to consider as well when trying to plan for visits and deciding which ones to make official or unofficial. This also brings into question how to determine the level of interest from the coach based on their decision to make official or unofficial visits. It may not always be as it seems! Just because one coach uses the term “official” for a visit may simply mean they are going to pay for the prospect’s meals while on campus, so then you have to determine if that offer is worth using one of your 5 official visits.
Be sure you do some homework and research, and use resources available to you in order to determine the best decisions for you as the prospect!
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