Balancing Academics and Athletics: Life as a College Golfer
By Bradley Turner, Keiser University College of Golf Director of Online Golf Instruction, MBA, PGA
For college athletes, the pursuit of excellence extends beyond the playing field. Alongside their rigorous training schedules and competitive events, they must also excel in the classroom. These challenges significantly influence college golfers. Golf requires more practice and playing time than most college sports due to the multiple skills needed to play at a high level. Golfers cannot specialize in one area of the game; they must be good in all skill areas. Balancing academics and golf performance is a monumental task that requires discipline, time management, and unwavering dedication. In this article, I will discuss the challenges faced by college golfers and explore strategies to help them strike a balance between their athletic commitment and academic responsibilities.
Challenges Faced by College Golfers
College athletes are essentially juggling two full-time commitments: their sports and their academics. Collegiate sports require them to spend hours in the practice environment honing their skills, participating in team practices, and competing in games or matches. Simultaneously, they must attend lectures, complete homework assignments, write research papers, and prepare for exams. This dual commitment can be daunting, as it demands extraordinary time management skills and mental fortitude.
College golfers experience serious time constraints due to the nature of the game. While most college sports events last two to three hours, golf requires at least four hours to complete an 18-hole round. Preparation for these rounds typically requires an additional hour, making the time commitment at least five hours for each round played. It is common for college tournaments to play 36 holes in one day, which will require up to 10 hours on a given Saturday during the golf season. This competitive experience is mentally and physically exhausting, even for a fit collegiate golfer. This 10-hour day leaves very little time to spend focusing on academics.
Strategies for Effective Time Management
College golfers often stretch themselves thin due to their demanding practice and playing schedule. It is essential that college athletes efficiently manage their time. They should create detailed schedules that allocate time for all the activities required to meet their personal goals. Time management strategies begin with organizing all the athlete’s weekly activities throughout the semester. Organization is the key to success, and athletes should schedule class commitments, practice requirements, and the tournament schedule into their digital calendars. Using digital tools or planners can help college golfers stay organized and make the most of the available time.
Maintaining Academic Excellence
The intense travel schedule of college golf teams can result in missed classes. Keeping up with classwork can escalate over the golf season, leading to academic problems. Athletes should take advantage of the travel time to catch up on course assignments and study for upcoming quizzes and exams. Utilizing downtime effectively can make a big difference in academic learning. Seeking academic support from school tutors and study groups can also benefit the college golfer. The most important strategy for athletes is to communicate with their professors. Most professors are understanding and willing to accommodate the needs of their students, especially those playing college sports.
Wellness Tips for the Collegiate Athlete
The constant pressure to perform can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety. The fear of disappointing coaches, teammates, or parents can weigh heavily on college athletes. The physical demands of the sport can also contribute to fatigue and potential injury. Prioritizing self-care is essential for college athletes to perform at their peak. Proper nutrition and adequate sleep are just as important as getting to the gym for a workout. Unplugging from the constant barrage of social media can be equally important to college athletes’ mental and physical well-being.
Set Realistic Expectations
Unrealistic expectations are the downfall of many athletes. Setting realistic goals, both academically and athletically, is an essential step toward mental wellness. Establishing process goals is just as important as it provides the athlete with a roadmap of activities to be completed to reach their realistic goals. In addition, college athletes should lean on the support systems available at their college or university. Coaches, teammates, academic advisors, tutors, and family members can provide athletes with emotional support and guidance in reaching their educational and golf goals.
Balancing academics and athletics as a college athlete is undoubtedly a formidable challenge. However, with the right mindset, efficient practice and study sessions, effective time management, and support systems in place, it is a challenge that athletes can overcome. College athletes have the unique opportunity to learn valuable life skills such as discipline, resilience, and time management, which will serve them well in their future endeavors. Ultimately, the pursuit of excellence in both academics and athletics is a demanding but rewarding journey that can shape the direction of their life after college.
Want more tips? If you want to take your game to the next level, contact our team at Keiser University’s College of Golf & Sport Management today. With our dedication and experience, together, we can elevate your game to new heights. Give us a call today at 888-355-4465.