Are Scholarships Negotiable?


I was asked this question last week about whether or not scholarships are negotiable so I thought it was a good topic to address to those who may be curious about this question. I have faced it numerous times working with families as they make their final decision and it can certainly be a sensitive subject on both sides of the equation. Many instances of dishonesty have occurred, but if handled correctly, it can be a beneficial experience for both the family and the coach.

The ultimate answer to the question is that “yes” athletic scholarships can be negotiable if a full ride is not offered, however, as with many parts of the recruiting process, it does depend on the situation (my favorite two words, “it depends”). There are some cases where the amount of money being offered is truly the maximum amount that a coach has available for a student-athlete. All of their scholarships may be tied up in current players and committed recruits. If this is the case, then you can ask what the possibility is that your scholarship could increase after your freshman year and if that would be based on performance or guaranteed.
Keep in mind that not all programs are fully funded with the allowed scholarships. For DI women’s golf programs they are allowed a max of 6, for DII programs a max of 5.4, for NAIA a max of 5, for JuCo a max of 8 and DIII is academic money only. These are the maximum “allowed” scholarships but not all institutions fully fund all of their athletic programs. A DI coach may only be working with 1 or 2 scholarships among all players on the team. And in other cases, a program may be fully funded but the coach only gives out 6 full rides instead of dividing them up among 6+ players. There are many different ways that scholarships are offered and divided up. During your visit, you can ask these general questions to get an idea of how the coach handles their scholarships, just don’t get too far ahead of yourself and assume you are going to be a scholarship player.
One of the main reasons I encourage players to contact a lot of coaches, take a lot of visits and keep their options open is that it helps to provide some leverage when they are given offers. I highly discourage any player from wasting a coach’s time if they genuinely aren’t interested in the program, but when you do have several offers at schools you like then it gives you more leverage to possibly negotiate a better scholarship offer to your top choice.
If you do have multiple offers and you want to negotiate a better offer at your top choice just remember to do this honestly. Coaches talk to each other!! Let me repeat, coaches talk to each other!! I have heard numerous stories of a family claiming an untrue offer amount at one school in order to get a better offer at another, not realizing those two coaches were in communication with each other. So just be honest when approaching this situation.
If you don’t have any other offers then your negotiating powers are a tad limited but you can still ask the coach what else may be available, even suggesting options for academic or need-based aid. If the money factor really is an issue and you aren’t just trying to get a better offer then be genuine and hopefully the coach will do what they can to make it work.
If a coach feels that you are simply trying to negotiate a better “deal” for the sake of the appearance of the offer then you may lead them to rescind their offer. Most coaches understand the financial situation of a family and the excitement of earning scholarship money, but at the end of the day, they want you to make it about the right fit and not about where you are getting the best scholarship deal.

How to Say You Aren’t Interested

I’ve had this question asked several times by players over the years and again this past week it was brought up by one of my girls, “how do I tell a coach that I am not interested?”.  This may be a question you face at different stages of communication with a coach so I wanted to address a couple of scenarios and give you some insight into how I have my players address this topic.

If you receive an initial email from a coach at a school that you know you would not attend no matter what, it is still common courtesy to send a reply back. Even if your resume is much stronger than the girls who play for that program, NEVER think you are better than the players, the school, or the coach. We have all been at different stages in our games, we all have different goals of playing (and coaching) college golf and many coaches work tirelessly to try and recruit better players so the least you can do is show them the respect of at least replying.

The one thing I tell my girls is to stop and think about how they feel when a coach never responds back to their emails or phone calls. They are left wondering if the coach just isn’t interested, did they get the email, did they forget, did I do something wrong, are they done with their recruiting and so on. Although I do reassure them that coaches are busy and can’t always get back to everyone, but when a coach does take the time to respond that at least gives the girls a little better feeling. It may be a simple “thank you but we aren’t interested” or “thank you but we are done with your recruiting class”, which can be hard for a player to hear at times but at least they get an answer and can move on.

The same applies to the players when a coach emails them. You may think “yeah right, I am never going there to play” but it is still very important to at least respond back and give a polite version of “thank you but I am not interested at this time”. There are several different ways that I have my girls approach this reply based on their reasons for not being interested but at least take the time to send a kind and respectful response back so that the coach can move on as well.

With all of that being said, DO NOT narrow down and disregard interest from a coach unless you know for sure that you have other options that are going to be legit opportunities. Yes, there may be some schools that you wouldn’t attend whether you played golf or not, which I understand factors with academics, size, location and intended major can determine that from the beginning which is completely acceptable. But if you don’t have any reason to not consider the school, except maybe some opinions of others or superficial reasons, then I recommend you at least take the time to learn more and have a conversation with the coach. Then you can make your decision and let the coach know your interest level of continuing to communicate.

I never like to encourage my players to waste a coach’s time if they are not legitimately interested in the school and golf program. Yes, there is a lot they can learn from communicating with coaches but I know how valuable a coach’s time can be as well. Once a player decides to move on to their other opportunities or offers, I ask that they let that coach know ASAP. Depending on the level of communication up to that point determines whether or not I feel it should be a phone call to tell the coach or just an email. Either way, you need to be as honest as possible in telling the coach why you are no longer pursuing that school and program. They may be disappointed, which I know many times is the reason for a player to be hesitant to address this, but the coach will have much more respect for you if you let them know through phone or email and not just leave them hanging.

When a College Coach is Watching


Many of you have experienced a college coach observing your round, if you haven’t yet, hopefully, you will in the near future. For many players, it is the first time they really get those nervous jitters on the golf course. It can be tough to concentrate and focus on your game. You feel the need to play well or else you may lose your chance to impress that coach. You have a few bad holes and see that the coach is leaving so you start to think they didn’t like what they saw. They stand behind you, sometimes, taking video of your swing.

Many thoughts and emotions can go through your head that can affect your game. Did they like me? I hope they saw that shot! I can’t believe I missed that putt! Of course I would make a birdie after the coach leaves! Why did they only watch one hole? What are they writing down?

Below are a few things to keep in mind when a coach is out watching you play that just might help you land that spot on the team.

  • Coaches actually want to see you struggle so they can evaluate how you handle the bad holes and bad days. They have seen your scores so obviously they are impressed enough by them to come out and watch you play. They understand bad days will happen but they want to see that you can grind it out even on days when things don’t go your way or your swing just isn’t working for you.
  • Never show signs that you are giving up. It’s understandable to get a little upset with yourself if you have a bad hole but let it go, keep your head up, shoulders back and stay positive. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you and allow it to carry over to the next shot. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Don’t force it, just have faith in your abilities to get back on track.
  • Treat other players with respect no matter how bad of a day you are having. Continue to tell other players nice shot. Get the pin on the green. Unless you are on the clock for slow play, never walk off the green to the next tee because you are angry. It’s OK to be a little upset at yourself for bad shots but never take it out on another player.
  • If your parents are offering you food or something to drink, accept it or politely say “no thank you”. If they are offering some encouragement say “thank you”. Be respectful at all times!! Coaches are ALWAYS watching for these little things.
  • Parents are under the radar as well when their son or daughter is having a bad round. Continue to clap for other players in the group. Maintain your composure and stay positive. The only time it’s understandable to be upset is if the player misbehaves or blatantly gives up. Coaches want to see parents who are going to encourage their son or daughter, not make a bad day even worse.


Feedback from college coaches on what they look for when recruiting a player, as well as their parents:

“I feel like kids put too much emphasis on simply their scores, and although they are important, it is also great to see how a kid handles themselves through the ups and downs.”Division I Women’s Coach

“Finding a way to grind out decent scores on bad days.” Division I Women’s Coach

“If a parent is over bearing or mean to the child after they play badly it not only affects the player but makes a coach wonder how much they will have to deal with when the player comes to school.”Division I Women’s Coach

“I look for character traits as well as personality. I look at player/parent interaction and ask myself if these are the parents I want on my team”.Division I Women’s Coach

A MUST Watch Video for Junior Golf Parents


During the week of October 17th, the Golf Channel hosted Junior Golf Week and they conducted an interview with Jon Gordon which really caught my attention so I wanted to share the clip along with a few of my own thoughts in regards to what he is referencing. Here is the LINK to that clip so check it out first.

I am sure each of you got something different from what he talked about but hopefully, it resonated a little with how you see your son or daughter’s junior golf experience. Here are my two favorite quotes that he mentioned which relate to many of the questions I get asked about competitive junior golf, parenting, and the recruiting process.

“You can’t drive anyone else’s bus, you have to encourage and inspire them to drive their own bus”

I know it’s tough to want the best for your junior golfer and you know the impact that playing golf can have on their future but as Jon mentioned, “you can’t drive anyone else’s bus”. Yes, there are going to be times that your son or daughter doesn’t want to be at the golf course or a bad round is going to make them think about quitting, but outside of those occasional moments the enjoyment of the game and the love for competition ultimately has to come from the player. There is definitely a thin line between pushing a little because you have their best interest in mind and you want to instill a good work ethic in them and going too far with forcing them to do something they really don’t enjoy doing.

Playing a sport is certainly a great way to enforce important values and character traits so I am 100% behind that little push it may take to encourage and keep them motivated even when they may want to give up or they may not be working as hard as they should. Just always try to ask yourself if you are doing if for them or with them? Are you driving the bus or are you a passenger? img_3380

“Invest in the root and you will have a great supply of fruit” 

This is another quote that really stood out to me about a topic that I absolutely love to read and learn more about – focusing on the process, not the outcome. So much these days is written and studied about the benefit of being internally motivated and not necessarily goal driven, at least in the sense of being outcome goal driven.

I consult and advise a lot of players who come to me because their goal is to play college golf, many times with a specific goal of Division I golf or a school that is their top choice or a particular level of academics. While that long term goal is important to consider, when I talk to the player and spend time with them I am trying to figure out why that is their goal, what are they willing to do to achieve it and most importantly, how excited are they about the process that it takes to achieve that goal. Being excited about the goal itself means very little to me, what I want to see is their excitement to play tournament golf, to practice harder, to get better, to work out, to eat right, to compete, to learn new skills, etc… These are the “roots” that Jon refers to in his interview and when you focus on the roots the “great supply of fruit” comes at the chance to play college golf.


Brandi Jackson7Brandi Jackson is a College Recruiting Consultant based in Greenville, SC, USA where she advises junior golf families through the college recruiting process. Her website is

What You Can Learn from September 1st


Now that the excitement of September 1st has worn off a bit I want to take the time to address a few things that you can learn from the communication you received (or didn’t receive) on September 1st and how it can be a lesson for your own communication with the coaches.


Mass email vs Personalized Email: Many of my players forwarded emails they received from coaches with excitement, unfortunately, those same emails were sent out to several others players that I consult. Keep this in mind when reading the emails, if there is nothing personal in the email (just your name does not count as personalized) then it may mean you are not a high priority on that coaches list. It does not necessarily mean that the coach isn’t interested and they may simply be trying to find out who replies back but do know that many coaches will personalize emails to the recruits they are legitimately interested in recruiting.

This same concept applies when you email a coach. I ALWAYS emphasize the importance of making an email personal to the coach and not just addressing it to them. When you do this, you show that you have done your research and are legitimately interested in their school and program. So as you read those emails from coaches think about how it makes you feel when a coach actually knows about you and your game, as opposed to just sending you a general info email. You can make a coach feel the same way when you make an email personal to them as well.

Email vs Phone Call:

I know my players get tired of hearing me say this but Sept 1 was a great reminder of the impact that phone calls can make in the recruiting process. As I was able to watch the different types of communication that took place among numerous coaches and recruits I was able to see the different reactions based on what communication was used. While many times even coaches prefer to use texts and emails for their communication, a phone call (even just a voicemail) will always be more impressive. We all have busy schedules and can usually read an email or send a text easier than having to take a phone call but within my own business I can 100% say that the players who initiate phone calls to me to discuss their rounds or recruiting, even if we can’t connect at that time, stand out to me more than the ones who always only text and email. Did you have any coaches try to call you that day? If so, did it make you feel different than the ones who just emailed or sent a text? Remember that next time you get ready to communicate with a coach.

No, It’s NOT Over: 

Unfortunately, there is the “darker” side to Sept 1 where players don’t hear from any coaches or the coach they really wanted to hear from didn’t reach out. One thing to keep in mind, not all coaches make it a point to contact players on Sept 1. With recruiting happening early and earlier and players being proactive on their end, the appeal of Sept 1 isn’t what it was 10 years ago. Some coaches do make a big point to reach out to players, even right at 12:01am on Sept 1. Some may only contact a couple of their top recruits that day while others may send out 100 or more emails through their database.

No matter what happened or didn’t happen on Sept 1 there is still lots of time left in the college recruiting process. Yes, many players commit and coaches finish the process sooner than later but I have had players find great schools and scholarship money all the way through the middle and even end of their senior year. Two of my better 2016 recruits ended up going to mid ranked DI schools on good scholarship money and as of Sept 1 of their junior year they didn’t even know those coaches or schools really even existed. So make sure you take a deep breath, refocus your direction if necessary and keep working hard to find the school that fits you.


The biggest takeaways from Sept 1:

  • Think about the way a coach’s communication makes you feel and keep that in mind when you communicate with them
  • Phone calls are the more personalized and direct way to show a coach your level of interest and maturity
  • Sept 1 is not the end all to recruiting and many things can and will occur after that date if you stay persistent and proactive both with your game and recruiting





Club Golf is an Option in College

Guest Blog by Travis Richardson of NCCGA


The statistics on playing varsity golf in college aren’t exactly optimistic. According to the NCAA, only 2% of male high school golfers will play Division 1, and 3% for females. For students that don’t go to Division 1 though, there’s still plenty of options available. Division 2, Division 3, NAIA, NJCAA, as well as several smaller leagues provide a competitive outlet for students.


One option that is often overlooked is non-varsity college golf.


Club golf has grown tremendously in the last couple years in particular, with over 300 colleges now fielding a club golf team on campus. The governing body for club golf is the NCCGA (National Collegiate Club Golf Association). The NCCGA runs more than 100 regional tournaments each school year for non-varsity college student across the country, culminating in a National Championship each semester for the top club teams.


The NCCGA holds two tournaments per semester in each region across the country. The tournaments are 2-day, 36-holes, with scores ranging from 70-100+. Club teams can bring up to eight players, with the top five scores each day comprising the team score. Individuals are also welcome to compete if their school doesn’t have a club team.


Club golf can even be used as a springboard to playing varsity golf. The NCCGA has seen club golfers at Michigan State, West Virginia, and Florida move from club to the varsity roster in the last two years.


Michigan State’s Josh Heinze played on the MSU club golf team for the 2014-2015 academic year, winning the Spring 2015 NCCGA National Championship. Shortly thereafter he was invited to walk-on to the school’s varsity team.


During his season on the varsity team, Heinze was named Big 10 Player of the Week, All-Region, Cleveland/Srixon All-American Scholar, won the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate, and helped the Spartans advance to the NCAA Regionals.


Outside of the competitive tournaments, club golf is also a great way for students to meet other golfers on campus. Most club teams have organized events throughout the school year, such as range sessions or fun trips to play golf.


For students that don’t play varsity golf in college, your golf career doesn’t have to stop there. Club golf is there to keep you in the game.


Which colleges have club golf?
**Travis Richardson is the Director of the NCCGA, and loves growing the game of college golf across the country. Contact him at, or visit for more information.

NCAA Rules and Regulations

Knowing the NCAA rules and regulations will not only help you navigate the process better but it will also show a coach that you are serious and prepared. Keep in mind, a student-athlete can always make phone calls, send emails and take unofficial visits at any point as long as it is on their own time and money. These rules below are in regards to when and what coaches are allowed to initiate themselves. Similar to the Rules of Golf there are many different variations and interpretations of the rules. If you aren’t sure of the rules you can contact the NCAA Eligibility Center if you have any questions.


Dates to Know:

September 1st of Junior Year: Division I coaches may send recruiting materials/emails to recruits. New Update: As of August 1, 2014, coaches may also make phone calls, send texts and use any other electronic communication to contact a prospective student-athlete (June 15th after sophomore year for DII). Prior to these dates, coaches may only send general questionnaires. They can not reply to emails or return phone calls.

July 1 after Junior Year: Coaches may make off-campus contact with recruits and their parents but they are limited to 3 total contacts during senior year. (June 15th after sophomore year for DII). Prior to these dates, coaches are not allowed to speak with recruits or parents off campus (to include tournaments).

First day of Senior Year: Recruits are allowed to take official visits. Only one visit per school and no more than 5 total visits to all institutions. Prior to this date, recruits and parents may take unofficial visits but it is at their own expense.


Early Signing Period for 2016-2017 Academic Year: November 9-16, 2016

Regular Signing Period for 2015-2016 Academic Year: April 12-August 1, 2017

Dead Periods: November 5-8, 2016 and April 8-11, 2017


Terms to Know:

Contact – Anytime a coach has face to face contact and says more than hello to you or your parents off the college’s campus. This includes at tournaments, competitions, practice and your high school. A coach is only allowed 3 contacts after July 1 of junior year. No contact is allowed before July 1.

Dead Period – A college coach may not have face-to-face contact with recruits or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools (evaluate). Coaches may write and call recruits or their parents during a dead period.

Evaluation – A coach evaluating a prospective student athlete’s athletic or academic abilities off campus. This includes visiting the student athlete’s school or watching them participate in practice or competition. A coach is allowed 7 total recruiting opportunities during the academic year, no more than 3 can be a contact.

NCAA Eligibility Center – site where you register to determine your NCAA eligibility to play collegiate athletics, you should register by your junior year in order to ensure you are on the right track to complete your requirements

NLI (National Letter of Intent) – An agreement signed by the student-athlete, parent, or guardian and the institution’s athletic director that states the student athlete’s commitment to attend the institution for one full academic year in return the institution agrees to provide athletic financial aid for one full academic year.

Official visit – A visit to campus that is paid for by the institution. You are allowed 5 total official visits, only one per institution. You must provide your high school transcript and either SAT, ACT, PSAT or ACT and be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Unofficial visit – A visit that is taken to a college or university that is paid for by the student-athlete or their parents. You are allowed 3 complimentary tickets to a home sporting event. You may take as many unofficial visits as you would like and at any time.

Verbal commitment – A student athlete’s commitment to a school before an NLI is signed. You may make a verbal commitment at any time. It is not legally binding on either end but is extremely frowned upon when the commitment is broken.


Division I Recruiting Guide

Division I Information

Division I Initial Eligibility Toolkit

Division II Recruiting Guide

Division II Information

Division III Information

NAIA Information

NAIA Eligibility Center

Junior College Information


BranBrandi Jackson7di is a College Recruiting Consultant based in Greenville, SC offering services to female golfers all across the world to help them achieve their goal of playing collegiate golf. She can be reached at


This One is for the Coaches





A couple of years ago I wrote an article similar to this one but I felt it was time to update it after seeing even more about the life that a college coach leads on a daily basis.

No, I don’t have personal experience as a college coach, but many of my friends from junior, college and professional golf have all taken on roles as assistants and head coaches at colleges all over the country. I spend a lot of time talking with coaches, walking with them at tournaments and picking their brains. So, while I don’t see what they go through first hand on a daily basis, I thought I would try to be their voice to the junior golfers, the parents, and the current collegiate golfers.


You won’t find many that will complain because they love their job and know the territory that comes with being a college coach but the hours really are endless. There is no leaving the office at 4pm and rarely do they have weekends off or holiday breaks. They not only travel 9-11 tournaments out of the year for the team (plus qualifying) but they also spend most of their free weekends, summers and holidays traveling for recruiting.


They have athletic directors, administration, boosters and alumni who expect them to build a winning tradition or else their job could be on the line. They have paperwork to take care of, budgets to work with, money to raise and facilities to maintain. They deal with all the ups and downs of the players on the team: the drama, the emotions, the personalities, the parents, the typical college student issues. Believe me, that is a job in itself.


Many of the coaches do all of this while also taking care of a family at home. Most of them will tell you they have two families because they consider their team to be just like family. These coaches put their heart and soul into their jobs. Obviously, they want to keep their job and have a winning team but most importantly, for most coaches, they just want to see each player become the best golfer and the best person they can be. Sometimes this can be very difficult to understand when you are a 19-22 year old in college and you feel like your coach is being unfair or too strict.


I know for me it was. I was fortunate to be coached by one of the most respected coaches in college golf. Mic Potter built a legendary women’s golf program at Furman University before going to the University of Alabama and turning their team into a National Championship team. He and I both laugh a little when we look back on my career at Furman and the ups and downs we had as player/coach. Many times I wanted to be a typical college student when he wanted me out there working on my game. He always wanted me to set goals but I lived by the philosophy of whatever happens, happens (not such a good philosophy). I was so lucky to have a coach that treated us as individuals and taught us how to be independent players and people. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s easy to look at things differently now that I am older but I wish I would have appreciated the dedication, commitment, and determination that a college coach puts into each and every player. Coach Potter might have a few less gray hairs if I would have.


So as you go throughout the recruiting process keep in mind that these coaches are taking time out of their busy schedules, away from their families, to come out and watch you play or spend time with you on a visit or chat with you in the evenings. Even if you don’t want to attend their school, give the coach the respect and time they deserve for what they are trying to do for you. Never think that you are better than their school because it isn’t a high ranked program or not good enough academically for you.


And if you are getting ready to head off to college next year always keep in mind that college coaches endure a lot year after year as they strive to build a winning program. While it may not always seem like the case, they really do want what is best for you and only want to help you reach your fullest potential. Keep in mind the sacrifices they are making to be there at every practice, every workout, every tournament. Try to see things from their perspective and understand why they might be upset or want you to do things you don’t want to do. You made a commitment to let them coach you, so let them do their job.


Be humble, be coachable and be appreciative!



BrandiBrandi Jackson7 is a college recruiting consultant based in Greenville, SC where she runs Brandi Jackson Golf to consult and advise junior golf families on the college recruiting process.


Conference Champions

Over the last few weeks, across the country, teams and individuals battled it out for the title of Conference Champion. Below are the teams, their average score, and the yardage they played from – keep in mind conditions such as wind, cold, elevation and location were all different. Click on each image to enlarge.


DI Conference Champions

DII Conference Champions

DII Conference Champions (1)

NAIA Conference Champions

What You Can Learn From Lexi

It’s been almost 3 weeks since the LPGA’s ANA Inspiration crowned it’s 2016 champion, Lydia Ko, but there are still lessons to be learned if you watched the coverage of the final round. How Lexi Thompson handled the ups and downs of losing the lead showed some character traits and qualities that can be applied to your own game and attitude both on and off the golf course. By now we all know that Lydia Ko is a phenomenal player and her attitude on the course is certainly one to pay attention to and try to mimic, but the player who impressed me the most during the final round was Lexi. She started the day with a one-shot lead, which she quickly lost on the first hole after a poor first tee shot. As any professional golfer knows by now, during a major a 3-4 stroke lead can disappear in a heartbeat so staying patient throughout the day is a must for a major championship.

But it was Lexi’s composure on the last few holes that really stood out to me. I snapped this picture of her from the Golf Channel’s live coverage of Lexi standing on the 16th green. By this point, she was 6 shots back of the lead with almost zero chance of winning, but she still stood there with her head held high, no change in body language and a smile on her face. She never stopped fighting throughout the entire day, never gave up, never let it show that she was down on herself.


So much can be learned from how Lexi handled herself that day. A college coach texted me the other day about a player that struggled through a bad day, “How she holds those bad rounds together is just as important as the good ones.” I say this over and over, a college coach puts as much emphasis on how you handle yourself during bad rounds as they do your ability to shoot a certain score.

Watching a player like Lexi, on a stage as big as the ANA should be a great example that at the end of the day it is just golf, and the ability to handle yourself with composure, humility and maybe even a laugh or two will allow you to go much further with your golf game than you could ever imagine. This doesn’t mean you treat bad rounds as a joke, there is a healthy level of frustration and disappointment that is understood and can be turned into a positive, but beating yourself up over bad shots, letting the emotions get the best of you, carrying it over to the next shot and being disrespectful to others and to the game of golf is where the line can get crossed many times with young players.

So take a lesson from Lexi, as well as Ariya Jutanugarn (post round video) who also showed great composure as she handed her 2 shot lead over to Lydia with 3 bogies on the last 3 holes. All three of these players showed a level of gratitude and humility that is very hard to find among top players in any sport. Next time you find yourself giving up a lead in a tournament or suffering through a bad round, think about the grin on Lexi’s face in the picture above or the way Ariya carried herself on the last few holes and remember that it is just a game and no bad round should allow you to lose your character.