Summer Recruiting of a Different Style

Steven Tiley has made a name for himself and the Panther program, playing in three of the last four British Opens.

Steven Tiley has made a name for himself and the Georgia Stategolf program, playing in three of the last four British Opens.

The success of Georgia State golfers this summer has led to a different type of recruiting for head coach Joe Inman. Is he still going to all of the best events in the country and even one outside the country looking for the next group of Panthers? Absolutely. But this summer, he has gotten some help on the recruiting trail in a different form and one that can be more successful than anything he can do himself.

Where is it coming from? The student-athletes who have made this program successful in the past and the ones who want to lead the program back to the NCAA Championship in May.

Georgia State currently has more golfers playing professionally than it ever has before and that is just one tool Inman is using to draw more attention to the Panther program. Not only are they playing professionally, but are doing well, as Steven Tiley showed shooting 1-over at the British Open on Thursday. (Click here for preview story)

“When I go overseas to the British Boys or the British Team as I have in the past and can talk about players like Tom Sherreard who I coached and who played in the British Open in 2009, or Steven Tiley, Joel Sjoholm and Mark Haastrup who played under Coach Clark and have British Open experience, junior golfers can relate to that and want to be a part of that,” Inman said. “It gives you credibility as a coach and to a program.

“International golfers are used to living in bigger cities like Atlanta and if you pull out a map, they know Atlanta which gives us a significant edge in recruiting compared to other schools that are in the southeast.”

Sjoholm has made a name for himself on the European PGA Tour, while Tiley and Haastrup are playing well on the European Challenge Tour.

Stateside, you can find Georgia State golfers on nearly every mini-tour and many of them are representing the Panthers well and on a weekly basis.

Not only are the professionals doing well to represent the Georgia State program, but current players have stepped up this summer in amateur events around the state and the southeast.

“Seeing former players doing well brings a sense of pride and satisfaction to the program,” Inman said. “Seeing some of our student-athletes come in as 18-year-olds and watching them grow brings me a great deal of pride. It also allows junior golfers to see what can happen if they come to Georgia State.

“Then having our guys play well in the state am or the Atlanta Open, juniors see the Georgia State golf bag and realize that we are a great option for them. The perception of Georgia State is changing on a daily basis and as we can expose junior golfers to our program, they see it as a first option, rather than a second or third.”

Already this summer, rising junior Damon Stephenson has already earned three top 10 finishes in very good events. Davin White finished fourth in the Dogwood Invitational after a sixth-place finish in the Jones Cup and is now ranked No. 98 in the world amateur rankings and No. 49 in the United States. Tyler Gruca recently finished in the top 20 at the Georgia State Amateur. All of these results have raised the profile of Georgia State golf this summer and should lead to success for the team this fall.

“We are having the best summer as a program since I got here more than five years ago,” Inman continued. “For us, it’s like being in school taking a foreign language. You take Spanish I and then over the summer, you don’t practice it. When you come back to school to take Spanish II, you have forgotten most of what you learned the previous year. This summer, with the way out guys are playing, it is going to be more like they are ready to take Spanish III.”

“I think they realize how special this team could be and what we can do, but it takes hard work and dedication in the summer to be able to get off to a great start in September.”

At the end of the day, all of this success had led to one thing for Inman – credibility. Junior golfers are seeing again why Georgia State was a top-25 program for many years and played in four national championships. Credibility comes in many forms and this summer it has come from the student-athletes who worked hard in the past to make GSU successful and now the current ones who want it to return to prominence.

–Mike Holmes

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1 Response to Summer Recruiting of a Different Style

  1. Good stuff Mike, thanks for the info on the Golf Program and to the staff for getting this Blog up and running!

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