But over the past few weeks I have realized what one thing stands above the rest with respect to programs soliciting the services of incoming freshman. It all comes down to facilities.
On recent trips to Athens, Ga., and Gainesville, Fla., I have seen first-hand the priority put on top of the line practice and playing areas. At the University of Georgia, the players practice area resembles that of a PGA Tour event. The most impressive part - three different greens to putt and chip on.
Whats so good about that, you might say.? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention those three greens have three different types of grass on them. That is flat-out unbelievable. This allows the Georgia teams to prepare for whatever they may see in any event on their schedule. If you think I am exaggerating about this standout facility, then just ask Phil Mickelson why he works on his short game there before heading over to Augusta National.
I was in Gainesville this past Monday and for the first time since I graduated in 1994, I played the newly renovated UF golf course. I was taken aback by just how good this course is. Keep in mind I probably played more rounds of golf at this venue than perhaps any other. In the early 1990s it was a solid track, but would never have been mistaken for an amazing layout.
That is the case no longer. From added length, strategically placed bunkers, and undulating greens, the University of Florida golf course is now first-rate. Throw in a complete overhaul of the practice area, and this SEC program should continue to be a power for years to come.
There are many other schools across the country who have first-rate amenities as well. They have to, in order to entice the best young players in the world to matriculate and play golf at their university for the next four years. Tradition is great, a first-class schedule is great, but if you want to get the best, work on that practice range and course, because that is where these players will work for the next four years. Remember its all about recruiting.