Justin Warren graduated from the University of Arkansas Little Rock. He is a member of the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia
Why did you choose to pursue the US College pathway over other potential pathway options?
I chose the US college pathway because it offers the best opportunity to be ready for a professional career all while getting a four-year university degree
How were you recruited (Contacted directly by US Coaches, did my own recruiting, utilised a Recruitment Agency)?
I did my own recruiting when I decided to go to college. I knew that I needed to go to junior college and I had a good friend at a junior college at the time. I asked my friend for the coaches phone number and gave him a call. When transferring to NCAA I was contacted by different coaches via email or text message.
What were your greatest memories of being a Student/Athlete at US College?
Competing alongside your best friends in a team environment whilst travelling with them was some of the greatest fun I have had My greatest memories are all the trips away to golf tournaments. You’re travelling with the team and it almost feels like you’re a little kid again going on a school excursion with all your best mates. Obviously, you’re playing a golf tournament so you have a job to do but it was always great fun getting out of the classroom, travelling and competing.
What were some of the challenges you faced during your time at US College? How did you overcome these challenges?
The biggest challenge I faced during my time at college was time management. In college, you’re essentially a student first before you’re an athlete hence the term “student athlete”. You’re a regular student taking 12-15 credit hours per semester which is a good amount of school work. You have to learn how to use your time wisely. Almost every day is busy and you have to be able to manage to go to class, getting your schoolwork done, practice, workouts, travel, eating well, staying hydrated, getting eight hours of sleep every night, having a social life. It teaches you discipline.
You have to build a good routine and a consistent schedule and do your best to stick to it.
How did US College prepare you for your career?
The whole college experience helps in numerous ways. Maturing as a person is a major part of it all. Travelling to golf US College taught me so many life skills to help me be better prepared for professional golf. College is a real grind and professional golf is no different. I learnt how to manage the grind and understand what’s best for me in order to make sure that I was ready to play my best golf.
What advice/tips/recommendations would you provide to anybody considering going to US College?
My advice: – study your golf swing and know your tendencies. You’re going to go extended periods without seeing your swing coach. Yes, you’re going to send videos and FaceTime but it’s not the same. With the time difference, you may be at a tournament and struggling and not be able to get in contact with your coach. You have to be able to look at your swing and do some self-teaching.
– DON’T spend all your time grinding. You will run yourself in to the ground. I can’t stress the importance of rest days and taking time to yourself to decompress. Find a hobby away from golf that makes you happy make time each week to do that.
– Most importantly…have fun! It will be the best four years of your life I will guarantee that. Don’t let schoolwork stress you out because trust me, you will survive. Enjoy the experience because there is none like it.
What (if any) are the common traps/pitfalls/mistakes people make in the recruitment process or when selecting to pursue the US College Pathway as their desired option?
One of the biggest pitfalls I think a lot of people make is wanting to go to a big school just so that they can say they went to a Stanford, Arizona State, OSU etc. Don’t let your ego get in the way. There are a lot of good golfers in the United States no matter what school you go to, you’re going to have good competition. Yes, the big schools play the best tournaments every week. But if their top five guys are all top 200 WAGR are you going to make that lineup? Are you going to be able to travel and compete regularly? If you don’t make the team you sit at home and do nothing. If you went to a school ranked 100 in the country and they have good facilities, a good coach, a good schedule, offer you a good scholarship and you’re going to travel every week then that’s going to be so much more beneficial for your development versus sitting at home on the bench for a power five program..