This is definitely a must read coach interview. While all coaches have their own opinions, philosophies and demands, Coach Jan Mann, the women’s head golf coach at UNC Chapel Hill, has some great insight into the recruiting process and playing college golf. While I didn’t play for Coach Mann she recruited me while she was at UNC Wilmington and I have been fortunate to maintain a good relationship with her and have the opportunity to spend time learning from her. Big thanks to her for taking the time to answer some questions for me.
What is your own coaching philosophy?
Every player is different in how you communicate and relate to them. I try to be conscious of the needs of each player and try to work with them in a manner that is beneficial to the individual. Team chemistry is very important to me. It is important to me that our program has a family atmosphere and that our team members respect each other, push each other and enjoy being together.
What do you love about being a college coach?
Seeing team members mature as golfers and individuals. I love the relationships that are built over four years. It is great seeing each member graduate and move on to be successful in whatever their career paths lead them. I am also very competitive so I love winning!
What do you look for with a resume, swing video?
Concise, to the point. Year of graduation at the very top! Short swing video down the line and face on with driver and iron. Slow-motion good.
What are some good questions you ask players on visits to help determine best fit?
What they are interested in studying (or favorite subject), what they are looking for in a coach, team and university, why do they play golf, what do they love most about golf and competing, are they coachable
What are some good questions they should ask you to help determine best fit?
What do you expect from your players, what are you looking for in a recruit.
How do you structure your practice and qualifying?
When we practice we divide it into structured practice where we have drills and competitions (approximately 2 hours) then 1 hour of open practice where they can work on whatever they would like. I always give them the option of playing verses practice. We try to play as much as possible. Six rounds of qualifying at the beginning of the fall and spring. Low five scores go. After that it depends on how much time until our next event. We try to have more qualifying (usually 2-3 rounds). Often time it comes down to who we take in the 4 and 5 spot.
What do you feel junior golfers can do to improve their games?
Course management, learning to hit a variety of shots around the green, mental game. How can they be more prepared for college golf? Participate in as many national events as possible, take AP courses in school, read!
What is the biggest mistake you see families make through the process?
Recruits letting their parents be the upfront person in the recruiting process. We like to get to know the family but we are recruiting the player.
When you watch a player at a tournament what are things you look for?
Preparation before the start of the round, course management, pre-shot routine, how they react and bounce back from a bad shot or a bad hole, how they treat their parents and playing partners during the round.
How much does length play a factor in recruiting a player to a D1 program?
I obviously like length but a short hitter who makes up for length in accuracy and a strong short game is impressive.
What advice do you have about fitness and nutrition for a junior golfer?
Get ahead of the game because you will definitely need to be fit and in good health to be the best competitor that you can be.
What other advice would you give a junior golfer and/or parents who are going through the process?
Have a mindset that golf is a journey in which you are working every day towards mastery. Learn from your experiences both good and bad. Strive to get 1% better each and every day!
For more information about the college recruiting process and playing college golf, email Brandi at firstname.lastname@example.org.