By Cameron Meeks
Behind the Scenes of College Golf Teams
Human resource management is the practice of recruiting, hiring, deploying and managing an organization’s employees. A good HR department will also be responsible for creating, putting into effect and overseeing policies governing workers and the relationship of the organization with its employees. The job of an HR team can be broken down into 4 parts: 1) planning, recruitment and selection; 2) training and human resource development; 3) compensation and benefits; and 4) employee and labor relations. This blog post will take you through an ordinary week of a college golf coaching staff and explain how the planning, recruitment and selection aspects of running a golf team relates to that of any well-known HR firm. As my head coach would always say, there is a “method to my madness” when operating a team full of 10-12 twenty-year old golfers.
Planning, Recruitment and Selection
The life of a college athlete would be best compared to a roller coaster of emotion, stress and fun. The 6-am days 5-days a week paired with 2-4 consecutive days of school days missed per tournament could be enough to make the average student lose their mind. But the joy of playing some of the best courses in America against the best amateurs worldwide makes everything balance out in an odd way. Not to mention the scholarship opportunities offered to the best juniors who look to further their education while getting to play competitively. Especially with the NCAA recently enacting a bill to allow college athletes to earn money from their likeness, being a college athlete has more appeal and publicity than ever before. But what people don’t know is what goes on behind the scenes. I’m talking about what the coach goes through. None of this would be possible without the ability of a college coach to recruit effectively.
First, a coaching staff must decide how big they want the team to be for the next year. If 2 seniors are graduating, maybe they bring in 2 recruits or only 1 because they have reached their maximum amount of scholarships. After all, there are only 4.5 scholarships for any D1 golf team, so a coach must be very certain as to who they bring on. This relates to any company that has ever had to assess the needs of a company before considering hiring employees. Once the needs of a team are established and a number is set, coaches take turns hitting the road to execute their recruitment strategy. Coaches know that to find applicants they can invite prospects to their college golf camps or check the junior golf rankings, but most of the time they need to watch them in action. The more tournaments you are able to travel to, the more players you are able to evaluate. Therefore, my coach and assistant coach spend a majority of their allotted recruiting time at junior golf tournaments across the country evaluating players. This is comparable to a HR manager creating a strategy and, for example, hosting an internship or attending a job fair in hopes of discovering prospective employees. Finally, once my coach finds a player he would consider for our program, he will exchange a couple phone calls and eventually invite them for a visit to the university. This is just like the interview process a company may undergo. In these interviews a coach will detail the hardships that come with playing competitive golf and being a full-time student, which is often enough to scare any incoming freshman. Finally, once the recruits are narrowed down to a few of the “best fits”, my coach will make them an offer to join the team and let them know how much scholarship money they will receive. From there the choice is on the recruit to evaluate their offers and find the university that is their best fit. Between recruiting trips, office work, and the general insanity of managing a group full of young adults, the life of a golf coach can be compared to that of a busy human resource management firm.