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« PGA Tour v. Champions Tour Players On Anchoring | Main | "U.S. golf course openings remain at historic lows and that should continue for the foreseeable future." »

"The current crop of golfers were getting ready for the afterlife, one way or the other."

Thanks to reader John for John Paul Newport's Saturday WSJ column on the increasingly eye-opening world of college golf, where massive sums are invested to prepare golfers for, as Newport points out, either the PGA Tour or country club life after college. 

(The article became more interesting after seeing 60 Minutes profile the stakes involved with college football and the overall money involved in running an athletic department.)

Lacking a home course, Northwestern players spend four years playing and practicing at a half-dozen or so private clubs in the Chicago area. There they are treated like royalty, play frequently with members and acquire polish. Goss ticked off for me the names of several former players who, after chasing their golf dreams for a while, quickly found jobs through the golf team's alumni network. Several got their start, for example, at the New York investment banking firm owned by Eric Gleacher, a Northwestern alum who donated the team's indoor practice facility.

Eh em, not for much longer. Sorry, go on...

Newport actually calls them "old boy networks" and ends with this on Oklahoma State's facilities.

In the heated practice shed at the main driving range, two current players, Kevin Dougherty and Talor Gooch, were being fitted for new clubs by Titleist using the school's high-tech motion-analysis system.

"Why wouldn't I come here?" Dougherty told me. "The facilities are part of it, but the tradition of winning counts for more. Not coming here would be like not going to Kentucky if you're recruited for basketball."

Later, back at the clubhouse, I saw Dougherty and Gooch chowing down with their mates at the training table—country-club-quality food served in, essentially, a country-club grill room. The current crop of golfers were getting ready for the afterlife, one way or the other.

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Reader Comments (16)

Give me a kid that comes from a struggling background against an elitist any day. One has the fire in the belly - the other has a bail out if need be. I
an Poulter anyone?
11.19.2012 | Unregistered Commentermetro18
Newport's article summarizes a substantial part of the misguided elitism that damages golf's image.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom Kirkendall
If David Trone says it's gonna be ok, you can rest assured that it won't be! He never gets it right.

video (dot) cnbc (dot) com/gallery/?video=761332306

If you have 4 minutes to spare and need a good laugh watch that video. Trone tells the CNBC crew why Lehman is gonna be ok...didn't quite work out that way!
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I can only think of one major ever won by an Oklahoma State player - Bob Tway winning the PGA.

So, if we just take Angel Cabrerra as an example, some caddie shack down in Buenos Aires is one up on OSU in this regard.

And, Padraig Harrington when to some obscure accounting college - so spot them three majors.

You'd think the most dominant US college program in the last generation would be able to do better than this.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer

Similar to Duke Women's golf....the top program of the last 2 decades, yet only one tour victory (about a month ago) has resulted. Though with the LPGA, what percent of events in the last 20 years were won by Webb/Sorenstam/Pak/Ochoa/Tseng? Not much else to go around.

Not an AJGA golfer in the bunch?
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Two Gloves > Rickie
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGinGHIN

Not sure, but I didn't realize it until looking at your post that none of them are American-born, either. Wow.
Not even 1% of college golfers end up playing on a professional tour as their ultimate profession and we're supposed to be upset that they use their time at college to network and find future opportunities? Were I a collegiate golf coach I'd be much more proud to have a large number of players who went on to get their degrees and used their networking opportunities at the University to begin successful careers outside of golf than I would be to find that a bunch of my former players spent all of their time scraping by in mini-tours trying to pursue a Tour dream that is never going to materialize. Isn't the point of college to help students prepare for professions that they can be realistically successful in?
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKRoper
Two best golf schools that will never win a natty... Princeton and Yale. Alumni network of those two schools runs places that host Walker Cups. I would never want to play at OSU. My friend plays for Princeton and they travel the country before school starts playing with alumni at Merion, NGL, Fishers, Shinny, PV, etc. Then for desert their spring break trip last year was MPCC, Pebble, Cypress, SFGC, and probably Pasatiempo. Not too shabby of a year for being the 3rd or 4th best team at Ivies.
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
This never happens in other is apparently the only sport that players gain some type of edge or introduction into the :"old boys network."
I can attest to Amen's comments about the father of one of their players told me, "they are livin' the dream"!
11.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Seriously, even though Ivy Leaguers get on to some hard-to-access tracks, for a golfer to be stuck in a frozen climate where no golf is played for six months is a prison sentence. If there is a dream school for golfers, it would have to be something like Southern Cal, Pepperdine, Arizona State etc. Great golf weather almost 24/7/365 and near urban centers to keep things interesting. And, golfers love hot coeds, right?
11.19.2012 | Unregistered Commentersgolfer
Oklahoma State? You'd better make it as a pro.

Interviewer: So, where'd you get your B.A.?

Interviewee: OSU

Interviewer: Cool, I love the Beavers.

Interviewee: No, OKLAHOMA, not Oregon.

Interviewer: Cool, I love the Sooners.

Interviewee: No, Oklahoma STATE

Interviewer: *** Blank ***

Interviewee: Have you ever heard of Bryan "Big Country" Reeves?

Interviewer" *** Blank ***
One can remove a spoiled brat from a country club but the brattish/self entitled attitude will forever stay the same.... regardless of where they play golf or what they do for a living.

This article actually made me gag a few times. To think that some of these kids basically played golf, partied, attended a few classes here and there...all on an educational institution's dime. Then, after 4 years of slacking/apathy end up brown nosing their way into a high-paying desk job via rich alums....and they have the rocks to call themselves a "success story"??!!

No wonder the wall street Banksters screwed up so darn royally....the offices in NY were filled with failed golfers/frat boys with C averages who majored in Sports Marketing w/ a minor in remedial History.
11.20.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnycz
Sgolfer must not be in tune with how climate change has drastically changed the golf season (for the way better) in the mid atlantic states.... last year was a 12 month season where Nov was nicer than Aug and Feb was almost just as nice as Nov. Year before last was 10-11 month season with Nov again being my personal fave month for golf.
11.20.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner

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