October 25, 2021

Ruben Sondjaja

High School: Marcellin College, Randwick
Home Club: Bonnie Doon GC
College: Iowa State 2013- 2017
Course of Study/ Major: Accounting
Current Occupation: Iowa State Men's Golf - Assistant Coach

Sondjaja, Ruben

High School: Marcellin College, Randwick
Home Club: Bonnie Doon GC
College: Iowa State 2013- 2017
Course of Study/ Major: Accounting
Current Occupation: Iowa State Men's Golf - Assistant Coach

Sondjaja, Ruben

Why did you choose to pursue the US College pathway over other potential pathway options?
I found the concept of pursuing elite golf while obtaining a university degree very attractive. Furthermore, I was exposed to the depth of US competition competing in US tournaments as a junior, and I believed the US college pathway would be beneficial for my development. 

How were you recruited (Contacted directly by US Coaches, did my own recruiting, utilised a Recruitment Agency)?
I was contacted directly by some US coaches.

What were your greatest memories of being a Student/Athlete at US College?
My greatest memory as a student-athlete was qualifying from the National Championship as a team in 2014 and 2017. Prior to these National Championship appearances, the last time Iowa State qualified for the National Championship was in 1953. 

What were some of the challenges you faced during your time at US College? How did you overcome these challenges?
One challenge I faced during college was managing communication with my support teams. As an Australian junior, I developed an effective support team consisting of a coach, S&C coach, mental coach, and physiotherapist. When you attend college, you’ll have access to the same support team at your college, if not more, which dramatically increases the number of individuals that are wanting to aid in your development. Although all these individuals have your best interest in mind, I learned that it is critical to communicate expectations and create a clear understanding of what success looks like in each specific player-to-coach relationship.

How did US College prepare you for your career?
College golf prepared me for my career by emphasizing the importance of time management and delaying gratification. Oftentimes, I noticed a strong correlation between my ability to manage my life off the golf course (academics and social life) and my ability to perform on the golf course. 

What advice/tips/recommendations would you provide to anybody considering going to US College?
It’s never too early to contact college coaches directly. Although there may be certain NCAA compliance rules that restrict college coaches from communicating with juniors younger than a certain age, college coaches are always searching for juniors who demonstrate a great work ethic, a desire to improve and communicate a genuine interest in the specific collegiate program.

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?
A common mistake in the recruitment process is mass copy-and-pasting emails to college coaches. College coaches receive countless emails from recruits every single day. If you’d like to stand out to coaches amongst your peers, it is worthwhile to research the university and demonstrate a genuine interest in the program.

Academic & Playing Achievements

Subjects studied in years 11 & 12:
Biology, PDHPE, geography, business, math, English, studies of religion

What was your SAT score?
1275

GA handicap when you departed for US College:
+4

Best tournament results prior to departing for US College:
Riversdale Cup runner up, Australian Amateur semi-finalist, T16 at Callaway World Junior.

What was your highest representative golfing honour in Australia?
Representing Australia at the Trans-Tasman Cup, World Junior, and Spirit Invitational.

Highest WAGR and/or Australian National Ranking prior to departing to US College?
WAGR: 600
National: 10

Please list some of your US College golfing/academic achievements:

  • All Big-12 Conference team
  • Hawkeye Invitational Champion
  • Five top 5’s
  • First-team Academic All Big-12
  • All-America Scholar

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