First let’s talk about how much the college coaches, as well as people like myself who are in this same segment of the golf business, know each other and talk amongst themselves. Many of the coaches have known each other for years, whether it be from their time as college coaches or as far back as earlier playing days. I spend a good bit of time staying in touch with and talking to coaches who I played against in college and professional golf. So trust me when I say that we can all talk…a lot! The college golf world can be a very small world and while the coaches are competing against each other both on the course and with recruiting, they are still going to talk among themselves. It can certainly be a competitive process, but for the most part, the coaches have respect for one another and will be honest about the details of a particular player’s recruiting process.
For most scenarios, it is to your advantage to let the coaches know about other coach communications and pending offers if they ask. This will typically only increase your “value” if you are wanted by more than one coach, especially if they are of similar ranking and criteria. So don’t shy away from this question when you are asked during a conversation and be prepared ahead of time.
You don’t have to tell a coach every detail about the offers you have from other schools but NEVER lie about it. It is very easy for two coaches to be out recruiting the same player and they end up discussing the details of what each family has told them and what offer they have given that player. It is a huge turnoff if one coach finds out that they were lied to about the offer presented by another coach. While recruiting has become very competitive and in many ways, it is a business deal, always make sure you maintain your integrity and be honest with everyone who is involved.
Also, while there is an element of negotiation that can take place before a final decision is made it is never encouraged to try and wheel and deal between coaches. A coach’s initial offer may not be the maximum they are willing to give a player but if you push things too much or they find out you are being dishonest about other offers, you may lose out. While the financial aspect of an offer is extremely important to many families, always remember that you are looking for the best fit for the junior golfer and not necessarily the best “deal” or the most golf-specific scholarship money. Coaches are much more willing to negotiate with a family who is honest with them and has the right intentions for the junior golfer.