JTNC News

JTNC Alum Noah Norton at the U.S. Open

It didn’t go exactly the way he wanted it to. Still, Junior Tour of Northern California alum Noah Norton was doing something over 9,000 players had hoped to do—play in this week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Norton, a native of Chico, opened with a disappointing 9-over 80 in Thursday’s first round.

But he was still competing. Approximately 9,100 players entered qualifying for the championship. Only 15 amateurs made it into the 156-man field. Norton being one of them.

“It’s tough. It beat me up,” said Norton, who still managed to sneak in a bit of a smile. “It was a good learning experience. I know what I have to work on.”

While it’s not the equivalent of a U.S. Open, Norton has been in a pressure cooker before. In 2016, he reached the finals of the California Amateur at Olympic Club before losing to P.J. Samiere.

“You want to learn from each of your experiences. It’s all preparation, about getting better and better,” Norton said. “I just played poorly.”

Norton can fall back on some strong support. As it was at the Cal Am, he again has a strong contingent of family and friends rooting him on, including his mom and dad.

“There’s so many friends here I can’t even count,” Norton said. “Playing Pebble in the U.S. Open. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

What Junior Golfers Really Think About the College Recruiting Process

At the 2018 National Golf Coaches Convention in Las Vegas, I spent a lot of speaking to coaches about the recruiting process. Based on the feedback, I decided to do something a little different; look at the recruitment process from the perspective of the junior golfer. With the feedback I collected I created a 10-question survey with some interesting questions. Then with the help of the Junior Tour of Northern California (THANK YOU!), collected response from 57 junior golfers. Here are the questions and what I found:

Q1: What percent more would a mid-major school have to offer you for you to turn down an offer from a major conference school like UCLA, Stanford or University of Florida?

Average Answer: 62 percent

Q2: How many times does a coach have to watch you play 9 holes for you to feel like they are REALLY interested?

Average Answer: 8

Q3: How many college teams do you follow on social media?

Average Answer: 7

Q4: Would you commit to a school without meeting the coaches or team and touring the facilities?

Answer: 16 percent – YES  84 percent – NO

Q5: Would you prefer: A better coach, a better facility or a better team travel schedule?

Answer:

58 percent: better Coach
25 percent: Better Facility
17 percent: Better Travel Schedule

Q6: Would you pay to attend a one-day camp to interact with a coach of a school you are interested in?

82 percent – Yes
18 percent – No

Q7: What is the perfect age to make a commitment to play college golf?

Average Answer: 16 years old

We also asked players, what do you like most to see on social media from a college team? Since the question was qualitative, we got a range of answers but, in general, respondents wanted to see the team having fun/bonding/what the players are about, as well as the scores of the players (both in qualifying and tournaments).

Obviously, the average responses don’t necessarily tell the whole story. When looking closer at the numbers for example, I found that:

  • 70 percent of players indicated that if a coach watches them 2-4 times, they know they are very interested
  • 10 percent of players expected a coach to watch them 10 or more times to be very interested
  • 30 percent of players follow 1 or less team on social media while only 10% follow more than 25

For me, the most notable take-aways from the survey were the fact that junior golfers put the biggest priority on the coach, over facilities and scheduling by a significant margin. While building facilities are important, Athletic Directors should balance the investment in facilities with bigger investments in coaches.

It was also shocking that 14 percent of junior golfers would commit to a school without visiting the campus? Speaking to coaches at the convention, our guesses were that this number would be very close to zero, however clearly, I was wrong.

Let’s hear from you, what are the questions you want to see in the next survey? Any of the results from this survey shock you? Please comment below!

Qualifying Series for NCGA Junior Championship Returns

Qualifying Series for NCGA Junior Championship Returns

February 21, 2019

An alternative route for players to earn a spot into the prestigious NCGA Junior Championship is back in 2019.

As was the case last year, the entire Spring Series will count as a qualifying series. What that means is that, for every Spring Series championship (Spring I-Spring VII), the top three finishers inside the Top 10 who are not already exempt into the NCGA Junior Championship will earn an exemption.

“Its an exciting way to get more of our best players into the NCGA Junior Championship,” said JTNC Director Aaron Hartesveldt.

Players will be notified if they have earned a spot in the NCGA Junior following the conclusion of each Spring Series event. The Spring Series starts with the Spring Series I at Stockton Country Club and Elkhorn Golf Club (March 16-17).

This year’s 90th NCGA Junior Championship will be held at Green Hills CC in Millbrae.

Last year’s NCGA Junior champs were Ryan Meyer and Gia Feliciano.

Yealimi Noh Turns Professional

Yealimi Noh Turns Professional

February 13, 2019

Concord resident and former JTNC star Yealimi Noh has made it official. She has turned professional.

Noh, the winner of last year’s U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Poppy Hils GC, announced the move via social media. Among Noh’s accomplishments on the JTNC are 19 wins, second only to all-time leader Sabrina Iqbal (26). Noh also has the third most JTNC victories in a season (five), which she accomplished during the 2016-2017 campaign.

Excited for this new journey as a professional golfer. ⛳🏆 pic.twitter.com/kYpGUphswy — Yealimi Noh (@YealimiNoh) February 13, 2019

Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Erik Stone, Noh’s Alameda-based coach, said she already has played at least one event on the Korean LPGA Tour and another on the Cactus Tour in Arizona. Noh tied for eighth in the tournament in Litchfield Park, Ariz., on Feb. 4-6.

-NCGA Staff

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